Following on from the blog post I wrote yesterday about our impending house sale, I have to ask if you’ve ever felt guilt at hiring a cleaner or someone to do domestic chores for you? A quick web search throws up some fascinating results, suggesting that ‘cleaner / gardener / window cleaner (delete as applicable) guilt’ is a genuine phenomenon.
It seems that many people are uncomfortable with hiring others to fulfill such tasks. Be it an objection to the fact many of these roles are poorly paid and often carried out by women, or simply a sense of unease at having someone else dealing with your dirty laundry, a lot of people don’t like hiring domestic help.
Why is this bothering me all of a sudden? As I’ve mentioned, we’re preparing our house for the market. Like many people, we have a garage that has become a dumping ground for all manner of junk.
There are a couple of maintenance jobs that need dealing with before we sell the house. The garden hadn’t been touched in months and needed some attention.
Added to this, we were away for much of the Christmas break. When the kids returned to school, they returned on a Thursday so were back for two days before it was the weekend leaving me little time to do any housework. I was desperately behind on all the domestic chores.
The house was in urgent need of a clean and the laundry pile was ridiculously large. I was getting stressed, very stressed.
We also have two children to look after and, now Izzy is at school, I increasingly have freelance and blogging commitments to fulfil.
I simply told Mrs Adams how it was: “We’re starting the new Year and new school term in a dreadful state. We’ve gonna have to pay to get people in to do this stuff, especially if we’re selling the house.”
There was no objection from my wife whatsoever. I think she simply wanted to see the house knocked into an acceptable domestic state and accepted that we’d have to pay for it.
We have, on the odd occasion, hired in a little help when it’s been needed. This time, however, we’ve gone to town. I say “we”, it’s me that’s made all the arrangements.
As I write this, two gardeners are bringing our hedges and lawns back from the brink of ‘jungle status’. Later today two cleaners are coming around to sort out the interior. Yesterday someone paid a visit and spent two hours sorting out our ironing. Today I’ll be hiring a waste disposal specialist to deal with the garden waste and junk from the garage we need to get rid of before we market the house.
I’ve never hired in help on this scale before. Yes, much of it is because we need to make the house presentable.
Even so, it does make me feel slightly awkward. I’m not entirely comfortable hiring someone to clean our bathroom and iron our clothes. If it wasn’t for time pressures, I would happily do this stuff. There’s that old managerial saying that you shouldn’t ask staff to do a job you wouldn’t do yourself. These are all jobs I regularly do, I’ve simply been caught on the back foot.
So yeah, I do feel a bit bad. You know what though, I can look out the window and see the enormous difference the gardeners have made in just a couple of hours. The entire family is swimming in washed, ironed clothes. Later today we’ll have a clean house and soon after that the junk that I should have taken to the recycling centre months ago will have been whisked away.
Maybe, just maybe, it is worth the guilt to reduce the stress and live in a happier home. I don’t want to hire cleaners and people to do the ironing all the time. If it happens from time to time, so be it.
9 thoughts on “Cleaner guilt? On this occasion I’ll live with it.”
I have moved a fair few times, I totally understand why you would hire someone. But I know I wouldn’t be happy giving money for something I can do, would totally annoy me. Just me I guess, but with time restraints I get why you hired someone
Good luck with the sale and subsequent move. Fab read as usual John.
I won’t deny it Nigel, I don’t like paying for domestic help. But….I am so busy these days that I am coming to the conclusion that sometimes, just sometimes, the spend can be justified. Following along school holiday and preparing for an impending house sale….that’s one of those times!
Well, as a self employed cleaner, I totally understand why people hire cleaners and there should be no guilt at all. My customers range from lawyers, doctors, firemen, new mums, the elderly and young couples who work full time. If Nige & I both worked full time I wouldn’t hesitate to hire a cleaner! Interesting read John!
Love this response Emily. I am really glad a cleaner has commented. It needed that viewpoint! I think there are times when you just need the help. Why run yourself into the ground when assistance is available?
Another thought provoking post John. I completely get that some people can afford / need to get in hired help but I’m probably more with Nigel’s comments on this. Anything I am capable of doing, I’m likely to do myself and unfortunately although time is a premium to us all, it’s about managing that time to get things done.
That said I’m also viewing it from a jealous point of view as I simply can’t afford/justify the spend on such luxuries.
Your position is slightly different in that you are pushing to get your house on the market so there’s a short timescale / turnaround needed although it’s still all about time management and trying to dedicate time to the everyday chores (although none of us want to do them) means they don’t stack up in the long run.
Very much an individual decision… would I have hired help if I could afford it….most certainly, I have more guilt in the lack of time I spend with my family due to work than employing someone that would help to increase that
The division of opinions regarding this post has been fascinating. The men, with one telling exception, have all said they wouldn’t spend money on domestic help. The women, those generally responsible for being the homemakers and one single dad who follows my Fb page, have all said they are do hire domestic help or would do if they could.
You say it’s about time managament. Could it be that it’s not necessarily about time management, but recognising you can’t do everything? I am effectively now running a small business while also the main carer for my kids. Throw in a long school holiday and an impending house move and something has to give.
In my opinion, everyone should learn to do the housework. After all, we will have our own family in the future, and we should be responsible for maintaining a good family.
I know what you mean, doing housework is a basic skill so everyone should know how to cook, clean etc. What happens, however, if a family member is hospitalised or there is some other issue to deal with? I think there are times when calling in some domestic help is perfectly justified.
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