For years — ever since I became a mom more than 13 years ago — I’ve believed I should be able to do the following:
- Keep the house clean
- Cook three meals and one snack per day
- Do the grocery shopping
- Get dressed and look decent every day
- Eat well
- Have friends
- Make sure my kids have friends
- Encourage hobbies (my children’s and my husband’s)
- Work part (nearly full, if we’re being honest) time for “extra” income
- Various and sundry other things I can’t remember right now because this list made me tired
In my mind, my mom did all these things when I was growing up. She kept the house clean. She cooked dinner every night. She mowed the lawn and took care of the landscaping. She worked full time. She fixed the leaky toilets. She brought home the bacon and fried it in the pan. No one cleaned our house for us. Never once did we pay someone to mow the lawn.
In my mind, delegating showed weakness. If you want a job done right, you do it yourself. Only rich people hire help. In Christian circles we strive to be the “Proverbs 31 Woman.”
Guess what, friends? The Proverbs 31 woman had maidservants. The reason she could “rise while it is yet night” is because she had help. The reason Mrs. Proverbs 31 could “observe a field and buy” while making sure her family “had no fear of winter” is because she had help. She was a superstar wife, mom, and businesswoman…because she had help.
For years I’ve wanted help cleaning my home, but I felt guilty about it. I thought it was a sign that I couldn’t take care of myself and my own home if I paid someone to come in and clean. Or I felt guilty for spending money on something like cleaning help when some people can barely afford to put food on the table. I thought I was a bad mom because I hadn’t yet taught my boys to do the cleaning as part of their chore schedule.
Day after day, year after year, I would insist that this summer, I am tightening up this ship and teaching the kids to keep this house clean! Sheepishly last week, after a sweet friend posted that she is looking for work cleaning houses, I asked my husband, “What would you think about me hiring someone to come clean for us?” His response was priceless: “Whatever it takes to make you less of a monster in the evenings…er, uh…I mean, whatever you need to make you less stressed, dear.”
I’m not one of those people that can just let the house go. Clutter and mess and chaos keeps me from thinking clearly. So every night, I turn into a rage monster screaming, “WHY ARE THESE PILLOWS IN THE FLOOR? AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO SEES THE TRASH? GET UP AND HELP YOUR POOR MOTHER!”
That changes right now.
My sweet friend is coming next week to clean my house. For a minimal fee (when considering we are buying a drastic improvement in my mood), she is coming over at 9am at which point the boys, dogs, and I will go for a long walk in the woods. Together. For fun. When we get home our house will be clean.