I have a cleaning lady.
There. I said it. You’re judging me now, aren’t you?
I don’t even know if that’s the politically correct term. Cleaning person? Housekeeper? Cleaning technician? Anyway, I have one. Rather, I employ one.
I still feel guilty about it, even though our household has employed Ruby for years now. I keep hearing my German grandma’s voice in my head: “Cleaning lady? Vy vould you need a cleaning lady? You’re home all day – und you live in an apartment!”
The truth is I have one because, for starters, I’m terrible at cleaning. Not the actual act of cleaning (although I’m not great at it), just the consistency part. I procrastinate and procrastinate, and as the place becomes dirtier, I stop tidying as well. And then the laundry piles up. And, before we know it, we’re wading through knee-deep dirty laundry, the dishes have migrated from the sink to the counter, and there’s a new species of life growing in the fridge.
I’m not exaggerating. That’s what life was like, pre-Ruby. Ask our friends.
Living in a disgusting mess, with a husband who is seemingly genetically incapable of cleaning either, also puts a strain on a relationship. Ruby came into our lives before we got married – and a good thing. If it wasn’t for her, the marriage may not have happened.
It took us a long time to bite the bullet and hire her, primarily because of the afore-mentioned internal German Grandma monologue. But the fighting was getting out of control, and when I looked at the grand scheme of things, I decided that hiring a cleaning lady was better than losing a great guy whose only potentially deal-breaking fault was messiness.
It was around that time that I also started a work-at-home business. Suddenly, this wasn’t just my home – it was my office. It had to be clean, and either I was going to clean it or someone else was. If it was me, I’d be tempted to do it during the day – instead of looking for work, which would pay me a lot more than it would cost me to hire someone to clean my house.
The end result? A happier relationship. More extra time – for work and family. And a tidier house (having Ruby come every two weeks forces me to tidy before things get really out of control). The only drawback is the lingering guilt I just can’t seem to shed. It’s particularly worse when I’m home while Ruby’s cleaning. I feel like I should be helping her, or doing laundry or doing SOMETHING other than tapping away on my computer or playing with Adelaide.
I feel pretentious and privileged and rich. Which I’m not. So then I feel bad because, since part of my income has disappeared, I wonder if this luxury should too. But, honestly, I’d rather go without new clothes for a year, or forgo vacations, or – gasp! – cut back on my Rogers services than part ways with Ruby.
Does anyone else have cleaning lady guilt? Or am I the only one?