My name is Kamille, and I’m having an affair with my cleaning company.
Okay, not really.
I mean, I do like them. And they really know what they are doing in the bedroom (can you say vacuum lines?). They also get me on levels I haven’t experienced in ages (you should see how clean my bathrooms are). They listen when I speak, and they smile when they see me, and they make my home feel like a fairy tale; one where I can leave for work and come back to a place miraculously cleaned by woodland creatures and pixie dust.
If I weren’t already ridiculously in love with the man I married, I would so be all over that.
The truth is, though, the real reason I like them is because of what they’ve done for my marriage. Because I wasn’t always in the state of tidy bliss you’ve been so far introduced to. I was overworked, stressed out, and bitter; what is it about being a woman that gives us this overwhelming urge to need to handle everything—working full-time, managing a home, playing taxi, and resisting all offers of help? We wear the bags under our eyes like badges of honor and our tightened ribcages like an armored chest plate. We eventually close ourselves off because we assume everyone else is able to do it, and we’ve failed because we cannot possibly. And our husbands are left with empty hands and a short to-do list because we couldn’t think of a thing to delegate that we couldn’t do more quickly and with less explanation.
So you can imagine my reaction when my beloved partner in crime gave me three months of housecleaning for a birthday present.
Not out of gratefulness, which is what he originally hoped for. Out of disappointment. In myself. Which is what he unfortunately expected. It turns out 14 years of marriage teaches you a few things.
“Just try it,” he said, giving me a hug. “I’m not saying you can’t clean this house by yourself. I’m just saying you have so many other things you could be doing. And this is the easiest one to let go.”
I waited four months to book my initial cleaning because I can be pretty stubborn when I want to be.
I walked into the house after that first appointment and leaned back on the front door as I closed it. The house smelled like…nothing. No hint of dinner or stale trash or Ben’s ripe gym bag. In fact, there was no visible hint of any of those things either. The dishes were done. The floors were gleaming. The bathrooms made me gasp (how did they get the grout that color?). My bed was made. My living room was waiting for me to sit down on an uncluttered couch with the book I’ve been trying to read for months.
And so I did just that. In fact, that is where my husband found me when he came home from work, asleep on the couch with my hardcover of Blue Highways pitched upon my chest like a tent. I instantly felt sheepish—didn’t I have important things to do?—but one look around reminded me that my to-do list was folded like the blankets on the hearth.
“A clean house looks good one you,” he said, grabbing my book and pulling me to stand beside him.
And with each bi-weekly service, I realized he was right (first time is a charm? just kidding, honey). I don’t fret about cleaning for the babysitters because the house looks pretty good most of the time. I come home from work and can breathe a little easier knowing I don’t have another part-time job waiting for me when I open the door. And I have time to do the things I need to do in much better ways.
So, yes. The dude made the right call. I mean, he was smart enough to marry me and call The Maids, so I guess I should give him a bit more credit. (He agrees). At any rate, I’m grateful. And I hope this little story is enough to convince others (lucky brides or otherwise) that hiring a cleaning service could be the next best thing to happen to them, too.