I was in your shoes once. I waited until my family was asleep, snuck down the toy-strewn stairs, around piles of laundry with ninja-like agility, and snuck onto the computer to ask the search engine gods a question that would change my life:
“Can I afford a cleaning service while I’m a stay-at-home mom?”
I was at my wits end. I was struggling with juggling three kids and a husband who traveled. My meals were more convenient than nutritious. I could never get caught up on laundry. Or on life in general. I was ill equipped, frustrated, and frankly, grumpy. A lot.
So I did it. I did the research and figured out how to hire the best maid service for me. And I bit the bullet. Yes, it costs money to hire a maid. Yes, I have to cut back in other areas in order to afford it. And I do. Gladly. Because I don’t think of it as “paying someone to clean my home.” I think of it as paying myself.
For example, here’s a list of what I paid myself to do today:
- I turned off my alarm clock and my finger didn’t leave loud dust prints that judged me.
- I took a shower and marveled at the clean grout lines.
- I walked down the hallway and didn’t step on a single toy.
- I made coffee in a clean coffee pot, and ran my hand over clutter-free countertops.
- I drank coffee while it was hot and felt like a human.
- I made breakfast with real food because I actually have time to plan meals and get groceries.
- I watched birds through clean windows.
- I played on the floor with my little one and watched her crawl over fresh vacuum lines.
- I opened the dishwasher and it was ready to be loaded.
- I paid bills with pens I knew how to find.
- My maid service doesn’t do laundry, but now I have time to actually do laundry. Like all-the-way laundry. Like my-laundry-baskets-are-empty-and-my-drawers-and-closets-are-full kind of laundry. Like my first-grader-isn’t-yelling-at-me-because-her-favorite-shirt-is-still-in-the-wash-again laundry.
- I made brownies with my kids.
- Instead of fretting about cleaning the bathroom, I actually read part of a book. And remembered how much I love to read.
- Now that I know where things are, I put things back where they belong.
- Now that I know how things could be, I put other things into perspective.
Here’s what I paid myself not to do:
- I didn’t get frustrated with the mess and take it out on my better half before he left for work to his nice clean office. My “office” is now cleaner than his.
- I didn’t freak out when my three-year-old spilled cereal on the floor. Because now it’s just cereal on the floor, and not-cereal-on-the-floor-on-top-of-everything-else-I-have-to-do.
- I didn’t say no to the impromptu play date with the new neighbor, and therefore I didn’t go through the day thinking I would never meet any new friends.
- I didn’t tell my kids “no” more than I told them “yes”.
- I didn’t scold at myself for not being able to do everything. Because now I know I can’t.
If you are considering hiring a cleaning service while you are a stay-at-home mom, it’s worth getting a free estimate. You set the frequency of the clean. You determine how much or how little you need them to do. If you can make it work financially, give it a try. You may be surprised how much you’d be willing to give up to be able to walk into your house after your fairy godmother has been there. Because that moment is pretty priceless.
Personally, I function best out of a clean home. I think more clearly, smile more often, and breathe more freely when the mess isn’t constantly smirking at me. In the end, the check may be written out to the best cleaning service on the planet, but I’m the one cashing it in.