Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cleaning for the Cleaning Lady

Tomorrow, I am having a cleaning service come. The person who will come will be massively underpaid and I know I shouldn't use a service, but I was desperate. We are having friends over for the weekend and I want them to feel comfortable sleeping on the airmattress on the living room floor.

But right now, while I should be writing a paper-paying bills-coding research-planning a workshop, I am cleaning the apartment. For the cleaning lady. Yes, I am cleaning for the cleaning lady. I have reached a whole new low.

Except that I do this every time we have ever had a professional clean our home. I do it for a few reasons:
  1. I am lazy and want to do the easy stuff so that they'll do the big stuff
  2. I know where all the little stuff goes and I don't want it in the wrong place
  3. My mother did it too.
  4. and....I don't want them to think I'm a slob

At least I can be honest about the baggage that comes with this.

But the whole notion that I could be paying someone to clean my home and still worry about how they're judging me is of great concern. Shouldn't I let it go? I know that I should, but it still feels very much like I'm inviting someone into my house to do something that we both know I should be doing myself.

When I was first married, my husband and I lived in a great (exposed brick) apartment that was the perfect size for two people. On Shabbat morning, he would go to shul and I would clean. I know that violates every prohibition against work, but for me, it was truly a sacred time away from the craziness of the rest of the week in which I could do something that was renewing and "cleansing." I felt refreshed and ready to face the new week ahead after a Shabbat morning cleaning. For me, it was elevated to tefillah, prayer, and I felt that cleanliness was next to godliness right there in apartment #3I.

Today, I don't have a moment extra to clean or get organized so I feel like my life is always messy. Tonight and tomorrow I'll feel guilty about the extra money I'm spending to pay someone to do something I should be doing myself. Tomorrow, I'll welcome in an Israeli owned cleaning service to make my home ready for guests and Shabbat, so that I can take a Shabbat "off" and relax with my son and husband, and our friends from out of town. Tonight, I'll obsess over cleaning up every last toy and scrap of paper so they can wash the floors.

Back to the sorting of the recycling....


Anonymous said...

You're wonderful!

Maya said...

You, too? I don't have a cleaning lady, but I put my baby down to nap when the nanny is here, and I also warm and prepare the babyfood, etc. Anonymous is right, and you deserve a rest!

Gluckel of Manhattan said...

thanks, ladies. now my son has an ear infection to boot and my favorite and only aunt is in the hospital. it should be a shabbat SHALOM for all of us.

Ima Shalom said...

Enjoy it guilt-free...they are getting money they can bring home to their families, you are getting time to spend with yours. Nobody but nobody can do it all.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog while Googling info, because I am re-starting a cleaning service I had for several years in Cincinnati. (I was Chief Executive Officer and Chief Maid)
Two things:
1)There is a difference between straightening up and cleaning. When I go to your home to clean, I do need to have access to the surfaces to be cleaned, so picking up is not an unreasonable thing for you to do before I come. (plus I don't really know where it's supposed to go)
2)But in terms of the dirt, please leave it all for me... that's my job, and trust me, your dirt looks exactly the same as the other guy's dirt. It's actually way more gratifying to clean something that needs cleaning, so not to worry!
P.S. It takes me hours of very concentrated, hard work to clean a whole house... that would be a lot of time in addition to the daily dishes and weekly laundry you already do; we know that. Don't feel guilty about employing someone in honest labor!