Motherhood Personal Posts

That Time My Husband Was Right

My husband and I have been married for 11 years this month, and we’ve been a couple for 13 1/2. In just a few more years, my life with him will be as long as my life before him. Sometimes I think he knows me better than I know myself.

Case in point, this one time he was r… cough cough, he was rig… ack, gasp he was right. There. I said it.

Those who know me well know I’m slightly neurotic. I like things just so, and if they’re not, I have physical anxiety symptoms. When we got married, it was a big adjustment for me, the neat freak, to live with a slob someone who doesn’t care about things being neat, clean & organized. Adding children to the mix made it worse! I have tried to relax my standards a bit, and I do think I’m a bit more easy going these days, but it’s still a huge source of stress for me.

Most days, I struggle to keep up with the daily tasks like laundry, diapers, dishes, vacuuming, mopping, wiping counters, couponing, grocery shopping, cooking etc. and it’s difficult to find time for “deep clean” items like scrubbing the bathrooms, detailed mopping, dusting baseboards, blinds, ceiling fans and such. Not to mention how difficult it is to do with little ones around; even harder with a small nursling.

I don’t really mind cleaning. I actually find it rather relaxing to listen to music & get down to business. However in order for that to happen, I need the kids out of my hair. So, hubby will take the kids out to do something fun while I clean. Again, I really don’t mind but it would be nice to spend my rare alone time doing something for myself, not to mention that my kids will have all these fun memories with Dad & remember me not being there.

Last year I attempted to clean the bathrooms with the kids around, and it resulted in a $100 plumber’s bill when my son flushed a toy while I had my back turned. Around the same time, we received a postcard advertisement from a franchised cleaning service. I had just earned a little bit of money with the blog, so my husband and I talked & agreed we’d give the service a try. They came and gave us an estimate that was about double the maximum I’d like to pay, and about 4x what I’d ideally like to pay, but we went ahead with the first cleaning. That was really tough for me because not only am I cheap frugal, but I have a lot of guilt about spending any money on myself (which is why I rarely have more than 1 outfit that is suitable to wear in public, LOL.) I tried to tell myself that having a clean house & a happy, less stressed Mom/wife was a benefit for the whole family!

My daughter was at school when they came, and the baby wasn’t born yet, but my son and I had a hard time staying out of the way and finally left. It was awkward to be there while they were cleaning, but I wasn’t sure about having strangers in my house while we were gone either.

So here’s where the “my husband was right” comes in. He always told me I’d never be satisfied with how anyone else cleaned our house. I always gave him a “psshaw” and said if I’m not doing it, I can live with it not being perfect. Well, he was right. Beyond right.

During the estimate, the owner mentioned that I could have them use my own cleaning products. I thought that was silly since my cleaning products aren’t “green” or special in any way. It did take me years of trial and error to find products that performed how I liked (worked well, no residue etc.) but these people are professionals. They have to have better products than me, right?

Well, no. They actually used my stainless steel cleaner (they left it out), so I guess they didn’t even have one of their own and whatever they used on the floors left a hazy film. Not only that, but there were shoe prints all throughout the residue! When I explained to the owner why we wouldn’t continue with their service, he seemed a little indignant and said he wished I’d asked them to use my products & to wear shoe covers. In my mind, it’s common sense not to traipse with dirty shoes, all over the areas you just cleaned. Even when I cleaned homes we had sold, or rentals we were moving out of, I either took my shoes off, or mopped myself out the door. (In fact, we had an HVAC person come to our house a few weeks ago, and he put shoe covers on in our foyer automatically, without being asked, and took them off/put them back on as he went in & out of the house.)

So, I was not happy about having to re-mop every floor, nor the fact that they had walked all over my carpet with shoes on. They didn’t do a thorough job either; I intentionally left little dirty areas that I normally would have mopped up that morning, and they weren’t touched. There were several areas on the carpet where lint, sock fuzz etc. were missed. Not hidden in a corner or anything either, out in the open. The sinks and shower were not as clean as I’d like, and the crud that always seems to build up behind the kitchen faucet wasn’t touched.

While I was still there, I heard one of the girls shove my kids’ step stools across the floor instead of picking them up, and heard her bang/scrape/drag the vacuum on the stairs (black mark in the picture was new after their visit.) I don’t really care that much since our paint is a disaster anyway, but if they did that while I was there, it makes me wonder how they would act when the homeowner wasn’t there.

So as I told my hubby, if it were a heck of a lot less money each time, I would continue, but ask them to wear shoe covers, use my cleaning products, and just get over it as far as things that weren’t done as well as I’d like. But, when I’m paying someone way more per hour than I earn myself, I expect it to be at least as thorough as my own work! Of course, then thinking about that made me think that I should probably provide my own mop, rags and such since I don’t know how they sanitize them, and I definitely don’t want other people’s germs smeared around my house!

I actually think if we ever find a babysitter, it would make more sense to pay someone to watch the kids for an hour or two twice a month so I can clean. It would be a whole lot cheaper & it would be cleaned how I like it!

I joke that I need to win the lottery so I can hire a nanny, a housekeeper, a cook and a personal assistant, but I think I may be too neurotic to have help, LOL.

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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
  • June 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    A babysitter definitely seems like the best solution. I had a cleaning crew for a couple of years (family owned, not a big company) and they were phenomenal. They definitely cleaned better than my usual handiwork. Sadly, I just can’t afford them anymore.

  • June 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I am going to do this!! the baby-sitter so I can deep clean thing!!

  • June 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    My “babysitter” so I can clean is my husband….which is why our house is always behind on the cleaning.
    Seriously though, I TOTALLY think it would be a wise investment to pay someone to take the kids out back to play (safely) while I got some housework done. Finding someone willing to do it though is a pain. :/

  • June 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    My “babysitter” so I can clean is my husband….which is why our house is always behind on the cleaning.
    Seriously though, I TOTALLY think it would be a wise investment to pay someone to take the kids out back to play (safely) while I got some housework done. Finding someone willing to do it though is a pain. :/

  • June 13, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I’m with you here. I read a book a few years ago called ‘Nickel and Dimed’, I think the author was Ehrenreich or something similar. Anyway, point being that she tried to work min. wage jobs to get by and see how long she could survive. It was never more than a month or two. One of them was a cleaning job (Merry Maids I think or something similar). Honestly? She said that they didn’t use near enough cleaning stuff and just took the dirty stuff from job to job. It was all simply just a ‘wipe’ job and they got in and out as fast as possible to work as many jobs in one day as possible. I suggest if you have a church? Getting a teenager to come over for a little bit. Explain to the parents that you just need a few minutes of quiet to clean and see if the kid can keep yours busy with a movie or something long enough to allow you to clean. I end up doing it while my kids are asleep at naptime, or while my big one watches tv and the baby naps in the morning. I haven’t mopped since approximately September. Yes I realize it’s June. I end up sweeping the kitchen/dining floor nearly every day now anyway, and run the vacuum as needed, maybe once or twice a week if it’s really dirty, having a crawler makes it necessary. Especially a belly crawler! I keep up the dishes and the diapers and the laundry and feel pretty good about that.

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