You know what stresses me out the most?
A dirty house.
You know what makes me feel the most useless?
Spending all day cleaning my house.
Seems a bit like an oxymoron, don’t you think?
Back when we homeschooled, and I was trying to figure out how to educate the kids and feed them and clothe them and exercise them all while keeping up with a home and laundry and errands, a friend told me something that really helped for a season.
She told me we needed to hire a housecleaner and consider it part of the homeschool budget.
This was the thing I needed to hear, and so we did, and it really helped for a while. It gave me the freedom to get the other things done without stressing out about the toilets not getting cleaned and the dressers not being dusted.
After a while I felt like I could handle it again so I dropped the housecleaner and got back to doing it myself, and I was fine with it.
But then the Fall of 2015 happened. And I came unraveled.
By that I mean the fall where all my kids were suddenly in school all at the same time, and all I felt like I had staring at me was a dirty house, dirty dishes, dirty clothes, and no people around to keep me company (or to make me go crazy depending on how you look at it).
My jobs hadn’t lessened, in fact in many ways there was more to do if I include all the things involved with the kids school and driving and carpooling, etc.
I went through this weird stage of wondering if this was all my life had come to–basically that I had been trained as a pianist, had a college degree, loved to write, but I couldn’t prioritize any of that because of all the basic house keeper type tasks that needed to be done. I felt like I had to put all of that on the back burner and that I had to wait until the kids are grown and gone before I could pursue anything else.
I was overwhelmed thinking that I needed to be the one to take care of every single thing in my house, because that’s what a good mom does.
(I say all this as though I literally was cleaning toilets all day, which is just not true. But sometimes what weighs on the back of my mind keeps me from doing anything else productive until those menial tasks are finished).
Okay, so I worked through all that and preached to myself all sorts of truth, and heard all sorts of truth from other people, but also realized that other moms in my same phase of life were going through the very same feelings.
One of those friends told me she finally hired a housecleaner, and maybe I should too.
Then Luke mentioned it to me unprompted and I figured that was the voice of God speaking through my husband (I jest, sort of), and I decided to bite the bullet.
Thus we have a housecleaner. She comes twice a month, and I will say that it has definitely made me feel freed up to worry less about things like toilets and bathtubs, and to pursue other things that I’m good at and that I know God is calling me to do, all while still taking care of my family and loving them tenderly.
Obviously, I still clean my house. My kids still have chores. It’s not like it’s a miracle and one cleaning day makes it stay cleaned for two weeks. But it frees the burden up for me and it doesn’t weigh on me anymore.
So here’s how this may apply to you:
1) You Can’t Do it All
It’s okay to realize that you can’t do it all. And you’re not “less than” because of it. Moms really do have some of the hardest work out there, because it never, ever, ever ends. Even if you’re a check-listy kind of person, there’s really never a check mark that means that job will never need to be done again.
If you need help, it’s okay to admit it. In fact, it’s so healthy and good for you to admit it.
2) You Aren’t “just a housekeeper”
I know this in the bottom of my heart, but the truth is that sometimes I don’t feel like it. Especially when my 6 year old, when asked how to describe what I do, says, “Mom’s basically a housekeeper.”
Ignore your 6 year old, he knows nothing.
Yes, housekeeping may be part of your job description, but it’s filled with a whole heck of a lot more love than the people you hire, right?
It’s not a bad thing to be in charge of the care and upkeep of the home.
And if you can be there for your people all day, any time of the day, the long lasting benefits for them is truly priceless.
But of course you have other gifts and desires and ways you’d like to spend your time that actually may be what the Lord has intended of you all along, and that’s good too.
It’s good to evaluate your time and efforts and see how best God wants to use you.
We moms need to look at the bigger picture.
3) You Just Might Be Able to Afford It
For real, look at your budget with your husband, and ask around for housecleaner recommendations, and figure out if this is for you.
You have your hands FULL!!! If you can afford it and squeeze it in, I think you will feel the benefits of it in your soul (if you’re anything like me).
Maybe you could even share a housecleaner with someone?
Or take turns with your husband paying for the lawn guy once a month and a housecleaner once a month?
Or offer to watch someone’s kids for date night if they clean your house?
4) You’re Friends Are Doing It
We all know that’s not the greatest reason to do something.
But listen, it’s okay to tell people that someone else cleans your house.
Honestly, why don’t more women tell other women that they have a housecleaner??? I promise you if you start asking around, secret women will come out of the wood work and fess up that they have a housecleaner, or at the very least that they hire one from time to time.
Let’s just be honest with each other about not being the super women we want everyone to believe we are. Can we please, just for a minute???
5) It’s Not Going to Hurt Your Kids
You may be wondering if it will ruin your children’s training if someone comes in and cleans their house.
And I answer you with a loud resounding NO!
Does it ruin your kids future ability to change oil in their car if you pay someone to do it for you? NO!
Again, a housecleaner is not a miracle worker, so there will still be plenty of ways your kids can learn how to care for a house.
Nothing has changed for my kids. They still do the same chores they did before.
It’s just the stuff that I care about actually gets cleaned right every two weeks, and it helps me breathe easier. I mean, my refrigerator got pulled out and cleaned behind for the first time in….four years (true confessions).
6) You Might Build a Relationship
If nothing else will convince you, then think of it as a way to meet someone new who you might be able to share Jesus with.
Let’s get real–you will be having a stranger into your home who will be seeing your literal dirt and asking you why the bottoms of your barstools have this weird dust fuzz under it and what in the world is that thing under the oven…
It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know someone and be open and real and maybe share the Gospel with them over time.
This is me being vulnerable with you and telling you my dirty little secret.
Maybe it resonates with you, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you’ve got this housecleaning/keeping thing down to a science.
But maybe there’s something else that’s sort of holding you back that you just need to give yourself permission to let go of and ask for help or hire someone. So apply all this to that and run with it.
Or go hire a housecleaner.