Time spent housecleaning, clean freak or relaxed?

March 31, 2011

I used to have house cleaners but stopped because I got tired of having them here. So now I do my own cleaning but am struggling with it a bit.

How many hours a week do you spend cleaning? Do you have "high standards"? I feel like I've relaxed about it some, but I don't want to relax too much!

Comments (90)

  • natal

    Rockmanor, no need to apologize. I just couldn't wrap my brain around buying a house without knowing the size. I think back to the day I saw this house and called dh on location. He thought I was out of my mind wanting a house with only 1150 sf. ;) I had to do a hard sell to get him to even come look at it.

  • natal

    Sable, I don't know what it is about me and containers, but they always seem like so much more work. Maybe because they dry out so quickly. No problem setting the sprinkler, but dragging around watering cans drives me nuts.

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  • tinam61

    Sable - we're having some landscaping done also - our first professional. We just haven't been able to get the front at this house to my satisfaction. I'm excited!!

    I love my containers and mixing different plants. No watering cans, tho. We have several spigots placed around the house. We're putting in a water line up near the (veggie) garden area this year.

  • sable_ca

    Natal - the thing with containers is that you can group them close together near an exterior faucet. Then you use one of those stretchy.retractable hoses so that there are no watering cans to haul around. I couldn't carry a watering can anyway. Our deck is 15x30 and the hose easily takes care of everything on it, and could cover more space. You use one of those gadgets with a selection of types of spray and it will handle any watering task and wash down your work space and floor as well. We're installing another one on the side of the house where we have our little "bird sanctuary" area, so will be able to keep that area clean as well.

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    Tinam61 - Good luck with your landscaper! I love the people we hired. It's been worth every penny; they've understood everything we wanted. We had horrible old straight, cracked concrete sidewalks in the yard. They've been replaced with lovely curving cobblestone walkways. Getting all the hardscape right is a big step in the right direction. Actual planting begins this week. Like you, I am excited!

  • emagineer

    Just an update on having someone help me with the house/garage. The guy working here is definitely a hard worker. What I've found though is he really isn't a detail guy. This is fine as I can paint the trim, etc. He is great about going through the garage and separating out correctly for me to go through again and get all in order. Half the garage is gone now and took a half day. I'd still be in there killing my back and nothing done.

    My kitchen installs are done plus painting. Bottom line is he can do the heavy work and high stuff. Plus man arm screws and hardware needs.

    Am on a roll now and organizing. Really happy to know so much is done, unfinished projects now finished. He's gone for 3 days on some other things, I can jump in and do what I love rather than the hard work. And he will be greatly surprised by all when he gets back. It helps when someone needs a he loves my dog and throws balls for him. Dog is dog tired. I give this a bonus.

    An overall handyman with energy has been well worth it.

  • patty_cakes

    It depends on the day OR the week! LOL I do everything myself, and would consider myself more OCD, than relaxed. I enjoy the feeling of a clean home, so all the effort I put into it isn't wasted.

    I have a cleaning crew come in when i'm getting ready for the Christmas holidays since most of my time is spent decorating the house, and putting up 7 trees. ;o)

  • kellyeng

    I try not to do a lick of cleaning. I love a clean house and know I do a way better job of cleaning than anyone I've ever hired to do it but I just don't want to do it. I don't get any joy from mundane chores anymore and, at least for now, I'm all about the joy of life.

  • geogirl1

    This was posted on FB, so I'd thought I'd share:

    A real woman always has a clean house, empty laundry basket, is well made-up, smells good, is slim, healthy, eloquent and is perfectly well-behaved. ... Copy this status if you are beginning to suspect that you are a man....

  • igloochic

    Oh holy cow...I think I'm growing a pair of ummmm never mind. I have to go exercise and dust now!!!!!

  • CaroleOH


    I like my house clean, but don't like to clean it! I find my house to be not so much dirty as have areas that tend to build up clutter - like my office. I try to keep the rest of the house pickedup but tend to stack things up in the office that I need to do something with or, need that paper in a few days, or need to have this handy or that etc...

    If I put it all away, I forget about it - don't pay my bills on time, miss the lacrosse signup deadline, yearbook order deadline etc.

    Actually, that's why I got rid of my cleaning people because it became more of a pain in the a** to have them come because I needed to get everything "ready". My DH used to say, " I guess the cleaning lady is coming tomorrow since your cleaning like a mad woman". I would tell him, no I'm not cleaning, I'm decluttering so the cleaning lady can clean!

  • kitchendetective

    This thread is making me want to go back to bed. Demi-- if your guys want to travel to Texas, please do let me know. ;)

  • Happyladi

    My house is small, about 1,600 square feet but it does make it easy to maintain and clean. I can vacuum it in half an hour if I skip my guest room and my son's room when he is away at college.

    I also keep a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels in both bathrooms for quick touch ups. I keep a broom in a closet in my master bathroom to make sweeping the floor easy.

    I do a load of laundry every two or three days, sweep the kitchen floor every other day or so. I dust when I notice it, I often do it while watching TV. People always comment on how clean and neat my house is but it really is more neat then clean.

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

    Am I the only one who does about three or more loads of laundry every single day - for three people and 2 dogs?

    This does not count my leaving-the-house-be-in-public nice clothes that get washed by themselves.

  • Happyladi

    Bumblebeez, are you doing a lot of small loads? Do you wash the towels everyday?

    I do whites/lights and other. I wash my towels about once every 5 to 7 days. My frontloader holds a LOT. My dog doesn't generate any laundry.

  • tinam61

    That DOES sound like alot of laundry Bumble. A load a day for each person. Only two of us here but I don't do laundry every day. Several times a week.

    I had to laugh happyladi @ "my dog doesn't generate any laundry" LOL!! I have towels for my dog - I bath her in between groomings. Towels are also used to dry her feet if wet out, etc. So, seperate towels for her but I only need to do a load of those occasionally.


  • hhireno

    Two people, no pets, four loads of laundry once a week, usually on Sundays. Lights, darks, towels, sheets. His dress shirts go to the dry cleaner.

    I do need to sweep the kitchen floor almost daily and we don't even have pets. I don't know how it gets to dusty & full of crumbs every day.

    Well, actually, I guess I do know: I have a piece of grainy bread toasted every day, I seem to shed a lot of my own hair daily, and I've watched my DH sweep crumbs from the table DIRECTLY ONTO the floor?! I said why don't you sweep them into your hand & then throw them out? He does now, at least if I'm watching. I guess I should be happy the mess isn't landing on him or I would have more loads of laundry to do.

  • kath85

    I hope I don't come off as a complete jerk, but I have to tell you that I'm reading this thread with my jaw dropped. My husband and I have a very comfortable upper middle class income and a 1600 SF house that more than meets our needs even planning for future children and pets. I've never heard of anyone in real life hiring cleaning help (including our 80 something grandparents), but it takes only about four hours a week to vaccuum, sweep, dust, mop, clean bathrooms and kitchen anyway. Not that it's bad to have hired help or big houses. I think we all get so used to our particular demographics that we forget not everyone lives the way we do - obviously myself included!

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

    "even planning for future children and pets"

    Those two little items can add a great deal of dirt....and as I've hit the upper forties, I do not have the energy I had at 30. What I do have, I prefer to save for extensive gardening but I still do most of the cleaning in our 4000 square foot home.

  • demifloyd

    Well, I haven't had any help at all in over seven years, and when I did it was sporadic and only for four hours every few weeks. When we moved into our retirement home several years ago I had a husband and a daughter living with me, and another daughter during the summer. I couldn't keep house like I wanted, it was impossible with all of the comings and goings.

    Now it's just me caring for about three acres of landscaping and a 4500 sq foot house and other responsibilities. It is just dangerous for me to climb ladders to clean bookshelves and ceiling fans in 12 foot rooms and move heavy furniture to vacuum and mop.

    To properly clean house, including baseboards, dusting the tops of picture frames, light fixtures, scrubbing grout, cleaning mirrors and the refrigerator, it takes way more time than the usual "dust, mop, vacuum, clean the bathroom and kitchen."

    Hiring help was the sensible thing to do so that I can be calm and put my energy elsewhere, although I still clean house myself. I know people with much smaller houses, and younger than me, that have weekly help.

    Ditto on the energy levels as we age; if we make it this far we deserve to reserve our energy for activities we enjoy!

  • chispa

    kath85, bottom line is I do not enjoy cleaning toilets, etc. and I'm lucky to be able to pay someone to do it for me and I'm providing employment for 2 nice ladies with families to support. We also have a gardener come once a week.

    Without a DH and 2 kids the place would be spotless!! Just wait till you have a baby and you feel a sense of accomplishment when you manage to get a shower before your DH gets home from work!! Not something you believe until you go through it yourself! lol

    A new time consumer for us is baseball - about 6 hours a week with games and practices - and this is elementary school level!

  • kath85

    Oh I understand that there are perfectly fine reasons for hiring help if you have the means. I've just never met anyone who did whether they had the means or not! If my grandma could keep a gorgeous house on a farm with five kids back in the fifties plus run her own cake decorating business I'm sure I can manage somehow. :)

  • demifloyd

    "If my grandma could keep a gorgeous house on a farm with five kids back in the fifties plus run her own cake decorating business I'm sure I can manage somehow. :)"


    Good for your grandmother, that's great!

    I hope you are able to maintain the life, health and circumstances you envision that will allow you to manage as much as she did.

    When you approach the last portion of your life, you've already proved you can "bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan" by doing it all yourself and realize that cleaning toilets for the 3000th time, or taking off the screens from the windows and turning your ankle when you step off the ladder has lost it's charm.

    Anyway, you can't take it with you and it's a good feeling to know you're providing income for someone who needs it.

  • nancybee_2010

    Very well said, Demifloyd!

  • kath85

    I'm seriously not passing judgement on anyone for hiring help! I'm sorry that I offended you. I was merely remarking that by entering this forum I seem to have stumbled upon a way of life that is quite rare, even in wealthy America. It was interesting to me; that's all. I'm obviously just starting out so of course I want to work hard, live carefully, and take care of my own things. I believe that by living small and giving large, everyone can have a more comfortable life without having to do anyone else's menial work. You choose to give by providing work for someone - I get
    that too. To me it's a privilege to have a home to clean and a husband to clean for because I've seen many people without those luxuries. And I
    don't mind admitting that I'm excited to teach my children to do those things too - the way I learned them from my parents and grandparents ( who, by the way, lived long, healthy, happy lives). Maybe there will come a time when I feel differently. Everyone changes. It's not like I love housework, but right now the six minutes a week that I spend cleaning toilets does not in any way lessen my joy in life. You've chosen a different way and I'm so glad to learn your side of things too. I just thought that I would share how people do things in my corner of the country so that we can all see different viewpoints. So sorry to hurt feelings! Maybe you can tell me if you started out the way I am and what you learned that changed your way of thinking. Or maybe you can explain what I said that was offensive so that I can be aware of that in the future. Seriously, aren't forums about learning from a wide variety if viewpoints?

  • nancybee_2010

    No disrespect, but do you think it might be possible that your posts sounded a little judgmental? Especially the parts about your jaw dropping and what your grandma was able to do.

    But I'm glad you explained what you meant, and I'm taking what you just said at face value. :)

  • natal

    Kath, I don't think having hired help is unique to any one group of people. I live in a very middle class neighborhood and know a few people who have someone come in to clean. It's no different than paying for cable or internet service. It's not something I've ever done, but then cleaning is not a high priority for me. My mom kept a fastidious house all her life, but as she aged there were many things she could no longer do. A few times my brother treated her to a cleaning service. On our yearly visits home I always tried to do as much as I could to help her out. Who knew that a refrigerator cleaning would get high praise for months afterwards. Life has a way of changing many things. Be grateful for what you can do now, but never say never. ;)

  • chispa

    Kath85, can you tell us what state you are in? I have spent time in NJ, CT, NY, MA, NH, NC, FL & CA and knew/know people in those states that used/use hired help. I looked up Merry Maids and they have been in business for 25+ years, so this isn't a new phenomenon.

    I think it has to do with women entering the workforce. Women started working full time and were still expeced to maintain a perfect home and do most of the child care too. Most men do not contribute an equal amount in the home cleaning area. The cleaning service gives women some free time and husbands get nagged less!!! Win-win, lol

    As far as your Grandmother, you can't compare as they are such different times. It truly was a much simpler life. Kind of sad that my kids will never know a life without constant phones calls, texts and emails!

  • sable_ca

    "I've just never met anyone who did..." This reminds me of the story about Pauline Kael, the famed and brilliant critic of culture and movies who wrote for The New Yorker. Pauline was the toast of New York City's Upper East and West Sides. Following the tempestuous 1968 presidential election, she wrote: "I don't understand how Richard Nixon won. I don't know anyone who voted for him!"

    As for this forum representing a rare side of "wealthy" America, you need to spend time looking at the pictures posted of women's homes. Most of them are quite modest. If you read the threads you will learn that people here recycle and repurpose with pride, that many things come from Craig's List or the local thrift store, that people sew their own curtains and reupholster their own furniture. Furthermore, I find it condescending to suggest that we need to be introduced to "simpler" ways of doing things, as though "simplicity" is a way of life that none of us have ever thought about or practiced. There are many posters here who work full-time outside the home, many who cope with serious medical conditions, more than a few whose children have all sorts of worrisome problems. And there are some whose great wish is to have just one day without pain.

    One should cherish one's dreams and plans. especially for parenthood. One should also know, though, that parenthood brings with it not the planned ideal, but a host of difficulties - some quite awful - and that it's best not to be judgmental about how women live their lives, raise their children, and clean their homes. And to always remember that -

    Life is what happens when you're making other plans.

  • demifloyd

    I certainly do not have hurt feelings; I was pointing out that not every one is able to, or wants to do what your grandmother did--particularly once one becomes grandmother age!

    Knowing the people, some come and go--but the type of people that have frequented this forum for the almost seven years I've been here--I can tell you that I doubt there is even ONE person here who is not truly grateful for what they have and the opportunity to be able to clean their toilets, as you pointed out, Kath.

    In fact, if you haven't already done so, and if you have, I suggest (re) reading the thread about what makes you happy and see just how non-materialistic and non-spoiled the women of this forum are--regardless of the size of their home, the price of their drapes and furniture, or their bank accounts.

    I agree that there is indeed an amount of pride and responsibility that goes along with maintaining a home properly, and the satisfaction of "doing it all yourself."
    I have done it for years, and years--all by myself! As I imagine most of us here have.

    Most people do not believe in throwing money away--I know my husband and I always did what we could in lieu of hiring someone if we were able to do it. The decision to hire household help isn't always an easy one to make--especially when others don't have it and imply it's a matter of not being able to take care of what you have, or not wanting to.
    It's not a matter of starting out determined to always care for your home and then "changing thinking." There is no "thinking" or way of life. Life is just what it is--you make decisions as best you can, not feel guilty about it and move on. I'm not about to feel bad about myself for recently hiring help when it was too much to handle as a fairly new widow and empty nester. I would not have built this home if I didn't think there would be someone to help me, who did until he dropped dead. So I've hired someone to at least replace what he did inside the house. (and they do a better job, but it's not as much fun).

    As others have explained, for different reasons, not everyone has a home they are able to clean in four hours a week (or four hours isn't enough time to do a satisfactory job)--they may have children to care for, pets, parents to care for, long work schedules, social obligations, community obligations, bad knee that tends to give out, back problems, heart problems, cancer, live by themselves or any other number of reasons, including that they just would rather pay someone to do it and can afford it--which explains having help.

    Having help does not tell one anything about the character of the person that has help.

    As Sable said, life is what happens when you're making other plans.

    As people navigate through life, they tend to become more understanding of the actions of others.

    I must admit I do not quite understand the comment, "I believe that by living small and giving large, everyone can have a more comfortable life without having to do anyone else's menial work."

    Do you consider hiring someone to perform one's "menial" work a form of disrespect? Do you consider that if one finds oneself in circumstances where they feel they need or want household help, that they are living too large?

    There are many ways to give, including sharing your life or home, and sharing your income--by gift, or by providing jobs. It is good to know of a young person starting out that puts others first and that cares about sharing.

  • rockmanor

    I am impressed by the graciousness of the replies I've just read, which reflect a degree of patience and forebearing that I do not possess. Admittedly, I'm having a "cranky" day - in pain but can't take Rx meds due to need to drive - so I will sit on my fingers and not post my initial response.

    Y'all are such good folks.

  • kath85

    Thanks everyone for your kind responses. It does seem that I came across as judgmental - and there probably was a bit of that feeling if I'm being honest. So, I do apologize and appreciate that you were all kind enough to show me my rudeness so gently. Someone asked where I live. I've lived in northern OH and Philadelphia. I know that Merry Maids advertises frequently here, but I've only known them to be hired for small businesses, the elderly and disabled.

    Someone else asked about my "living small" comment. My idea was that since there is a finite amount of wealth in the world, if everyone who was able lived well below their means and gave the rest away then there would be a more even distribution of wealth and people might not need cleaning jobs to survive unless they wanted them. Of course I realize that that is a controversial idea and I have no business telling anyone else how to live. It's something that has been important to us, so that's why I mentioned it.

    Again, I realize that my comments were out of line and I do apologize. Thank you for your graciousness.

  • chispa

    Quote: "people might not need cleaning jobs to survive".

    Many years ago, my Mother met a recent immigrant to this country. She came from a wealthy background (ex DH was a surgeon), but was making her own way in her new country. She started cleaning homes, her daughters helped too. They did several houses per day. After not too long they lived in an upscale townhouse, had a BMW and an older car (drove this one to the jobs) ... believe me, they were not just surviving. They worked hard and earned every penny. Which is what this country is all about.

    My current cleaning ladies come to my house in a newer Honda Pilot ... I don't think they are just surviving.

    Quote: "if everyone who was able lived well below their means and gave the rest away then there would be a more even distribution of wealth"

    Really? I should study hard and work even harder to give away the extra we are saving to some John Doe who doesn't want to work but feels entitled to what I earned.

    I think I'm going to have Rockmanor come and sit on top of my fingers now, my weight won't be enough to keep them down ;-)

  • sable_ca

    The idea of equal distribution of wealth done cooperatively is not new. It has been practiced by every kibbutz (communal farm) in Israel for the last one hundred years.

    It might be a very instructive experience! Many Israeli kibbutzim welcome visitors and volunteers. I lived on one for six months and it was a humbling experience. I harvested produce, worked in the laundry room, ironed clothes, and for a short time, scrubbed the public bathrooms and the medical clinic.

    Just wondering. If it's unfair to do the menial work of cleaning someone else's home, what about those who clean hospitals and hotels and restaurants and office buildings? Where is the line drawn?

  • rosesstink

    I agree with what you've posted Kath. I saw no reason for anyone to be offended. You've been very gracious about the reactions your posts have received.

    I too don't know anyone who hires help to do to their cleaning. Like you I don't care if people do but I don't know anyone who does.

    I applaud your living small attitude. I feel the same way (and I'm in my mid-fifties). Keep it up.

    I am amazed at your tolerance of the few posters who implied that your house cannot really be clean with so little time spent cleaning. Nice.

  • kath85

    Like I said, it's definitely an unpopular idea and I don't expect many to agree with me. And I absolutely don't have a problem with people cleaning if they want to do that for a living. I actually have a friend whose husband just started a cleaning business and we are very excited that he is doing so well. On the other hand, I know that that would not be a job that I would appreciate and that it is a job often taken by minorities and people of lower incomes which does indicate that there may be an unfair bias. I'm thinking of the very popular book "Nickled and Dimed" as an example.

    Again, so sorry to have been the cause of so much upheaval. Please do accept my apologies.

  • mboston_gw

    I had someone come in once a week during the school year while I was teaching. That way I did not have to spend my Saturday mornings cleaning and instead could go to my son's ball games and such. I still did my own laundry and would always put things away so that she could do her job without too much of a mess. In the summertime, I did big cleaning jobs like the drapes, windows inside and out, and all the closets,etc.

    Now that I am retired, I don't need anyone. I thoroughly clean once a week and vacuum and touch up the bathrooms another day as well. Kitchen gets it as needed too,

    However, I just don't seem to care if the spring cleaning gets done! I got the kitchen done - started on the closets but am only half way done. It just doesn't seem to matter to me as much - I would rather spend time with my grandson or in my garden. Funny how things change.

    BTW, I would rather have the cleaning help than get my nails done every week or two. Everyone makes choices on whats better for them.

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

    What a bunch of hoo ha. There is nobility in all kinds of unpleasant jobs, from honey dippers to morticians, yet they are a vital part of our culture and I am grateful for the people who do those jobs. They show up for work to tar roads so I can drive, they pick up my garbage and the list is endless. We each have different gifts: I know butchers who take pride in their work, a job I find disgusting.

    I like chicken, but I'm glad I don't work in a poultry or cattle processing plant.
    The person who cleans poop at the hospital may not get paid much but boy is she necessary.

    And thankfully we live in a culture that allows someone to get an education and broaden their career choices.

    Mother Theresa picked maggots out of undesirables, yet most people think more or her not less because of that.

  • kath85

    P.S. Thank you, Rosesstink, for your comment. I've been beating myself up all day over this discussion so it feels especially nice that there is someone who understands where I'm coming from.

    Chispa, I actually used to feel exactly the way you do! It would make me so mad that some "lazy" guy out there might unfairly benefit from my hard work. I'm sure there are some moochers out there. But then I spent some time with the homeless and with people living in poverty both in the US and the Philippines (believe it or not, the way we spend money here actually does effect people on the other side of the world!). I met people who work their butts off and still live in poverty. And there are those who are just too emotionally or mentally unstable to take advantage of what our country has to offer. I totally do get where you're coming from though.

    But back to the original topic, someone else said that everyone has to make whatever choices seem best to them. I'm so thankful we can agree on that at least!

  • demifloyd

    "On the other hand, I know that that would not be a job that I would appreciate and that it is a job often taken by minorities and people of lower incomes which does indicate that there may be an unfair bias."


    There is an "unfair bias" in giving someone a job?
    Exactly how is there an "unfair bias?"

    What is one supposed to do if a minority or person of "lower income" applies for a job as a housekeeper? It's against the law to discriminate against one because of their status.

    I know several women that have their own nice homes, are not minorities and not of low income; they clean houses for a living--they make very good money doing so and are quite happy with the job because it offers flexible hours and the pay is good--it supplements their family income. One lady is helping put her daughter through college by doing this.
    My housekeepers are brothers putting themselves through school and planning to buy a house. I also hired a low income, minority lady as a nanny and housekeeper twenty-five years ago and she was most grateful for the job, she visited me just a few years ago and my daughter and I flew across the country to attend her surprise 75th birthday party. I don't think she'd tell you there was any "unfair bias" in our professional or personal relationship.

    Where is the bias in hiring anyone for a housekeeping job just because many minorities and people of low income apply for these jobs? I haven't seen any ads advertising for "low income or minority" applicants to clean houses.

    Perhaps it's because cleaning a house is something most people can do without an education or any special skills.

    Housekeeping jobs allow people without an education or special skills to attain that education and skills and move up the career ladder, or at least they're doing what they are able to do to provide for themselves and their family.

    I would not only be happy to clean someone else's home, but I would do just about anything to provide for myself and my family before allowing someone else to take care of me, including other taxpayers. I'm not above doing anything.

  • barb5

    Kath85, please don't beat yourself up about this discussion. I have found your comments about living small very refreshing. It sounds as if you have had some interesting and broadening experiences.

    I worked as a chambermaid during summers during college. I worked with women who did this full time for years to support families.And these were not young healthy women either. They were middle aged with aching knees and backs. None of them were driving BMWs or living in upscale townhouses. It was hard, dirty work. I would be totally exhausted at the end of the day.

    I always make very sure to leave a generous tip to the chambermaids whenever I stay in a hotel.

  • kath85

    Demifloyd, if you look at who holds the majority of high-paying jobs vs. who holds the majority of low-paying jobs you'll see that certain people groups make more money than others across the board. There are always exceptions, obviously, but we're looking at averages. Ideally, this shouldn't be the case.

    I certainly believe in hard work too! I would do whatever it takes to feed my family. Right now I work as a substitute teacher at a daycare. Not exactly what I wanted to do with my English Lit. degree, but it's what's available right now and I'm thankful that in this economy I was able to find anything out if college.

    I actually used to nanny for some of the people on the mainline in Philly, so I think that is also where some of my feelings are coming from. Lots of families were very nice, but there were certainly some who treated me like the "hired help" rather than an equal. They didn't even know it! I asked for the job because I needed it, but there was this sense that I wasn't capable of doing anything besides taking care of the kids that they couldn't be bothered with anyway. I am NOT suggesting that anyone here does this with their cleaning people. I'm just saying that this situation does exist, I've experienced it, and it's not fun. Think of the "Nanny Diaries" (but admittedly less dramatic).

    Thank you to everyone for being willing to engage in this dialogue. I think I'm going to end my part of this convo here for the sake of everyone's sanity (don't cheer too loud), but you are all welcome to send me a private message if you wish to talk more about anything. I love hearing different ideas!

  • stinky-gardener

    "...since there is a finite amount of wealth in the world, if everyone who was able lived well below their means and gave the rest away then there would be a more even distribution..."

    Kath85, if you study history you will discover that your proposal is not at all a controversial idea. Read up on Marx, and you will find that his concept of wealth distribution is exactly as you describe. His socialist economy was, theoretically, designed to not only redistribute wealth more equally, but also to place more power within the hands of the "proletariat," or working class. Sounds lofty, fair-minded and humanitarian, but, this lovely, utopian concept has failed repeatedly around the globe.
    Why? Ultimately, people want the option to succeed or fail on their own initiative, I believe. A capitalist economy while far from perfect, does demonstrate that people are most satisfied when they are free to pursue their own unique ideas of how to take care of themselves.

    Handing over some of your money is a sweet idea, but essentially humanity, at its core, has a need to be responsible for its own prosperity or failure!

    Witness how in 2011, people around the world are laying down their lives to be free, not to get handouts!

    Furthermore, I've come to challenge the notion that, "there is a finite amount of wealth in the world." Einstein said that problems could not be solved using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Given this wisdom, I doubt that a purely economic response, including charity, will ever suffice when addressing disparity in wages, and access to opportunity.

    The level of consciousness with which we approach challenges is key, in my view.

  • demifloyd

    Kath, thanks for your explanation--I believe you are referencing that more minorities have low paying jobs, which has nothing to do with any bias in hiring housecleaning help.

    That's a different subject.

    I can understand your frustration at being treated anything like in that book (and movie) but sometimes people just want an employee and nothing else. Although I'm sure you were capable of doing more, your employers likely weren't interested in you doing anything other than what they hired you to do, or acknowledging that you were overqualified. It probably didn't cross their minds.

    I have found the hard way that I've been too friendly with people I work with and people that have done jobs for me--from housework to contractors and yard people, and generally my efforts to befriend and please them wind up biting me and I've been taken advantage of. So I do see both sides of that relationship--it's better to keep it professional but respectful.

    Not that it matters, but I usually make lunch when my housekeepers come. Recently we had homemade marinara sauce, farfalle, fresh ground parmesan, garlic bread, salad and bananas foster and ice cream--on the good china with cute napkins. I make it before they arrive so I'm not in their way in the kitchen.

    There is a fine line in professional relationships; some situations are better than others, but the employer is usually the one that sets the tone in the relationship.
    Hopefully it is respectful.

  • igloochic

    Well this thread took a turn....and here I was so excited that after six hours of work my house is spotless! (I hired a new housekeeper bless her soul lol). I work hard, live large I guess (according to kaths standards I'd say she would say so) and I give large and I'm not remotely ashamed of it.

    Back on subject...I spent about five hours working on the floors she wasn't doing (basement where we live and the laundry room) and feel like a queen in my clean home lol. God bless professional housekeepers. They are worth their weight in gold!!!!

    Demi....amen girlfriend!

  • stinky-gardener

    "...the employer is usually the one that sets the tone in the relationship."

    I'm sure the tone you set is pleasant and cordial, Demi, but looking at the big picture, I recall Eleanor Roosevelt's words: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

  • chispa

    Respecting others is key. We were away last week so I told the cleaning ladies not to come ... they looked so sad that I told them to come twice this week. I felt bad they were going to miss a paycheck! Since we hardly slept on the beds last week I told them there was no need to do the beds/sheets today and they could do it on the regular day at the end of the week. Instead of finishing early and going home, they cleaned the 6 french doors inside and outside. Respect and giving on both sides - everyone feels good!

    Igloo, put your feet up and enjoy the clean house!

  • kkay_md

    Just enjoyed reading this thread through, as I anxiously await the arrival of my house cleaner. I first hired her some 16 years ago and we've stuck together through thick and thin. I have a lot of respect for her work--my house would not be the same without her efforts.

    I am self-employed (and have a separate office in my house) and my husband works for Congress in DC. We are not wealthy, though we are certainly comfortable and have a large home. I've employed housecleaners since our early days of marriage, even when we lived in a small apartment, even when my husband was in his PhD program and we had one income.

    I'm a workaholic and have always enjoyed my professional work and gardening more than cleaning my house, but I am pretty fastidious. We currently have both kids living at home; a dog; and a very busy social life with frequent house guests, dinner parties, and events, not to mention the crowds of our son's friends who gather here. Between visits from my housekeeper, I sweep, vacuum, dust, clean sinks and toilets and showers--but the house never seems so clean as when she does the job.

  • jillinnj

    Wow, this really did take a turn since the last time I checked in!

    I clean my own house because I've never had anyone clean it to my standards. I'm always annoyed after they leave that I spent money for that when I could have done it better myself. I've tried housekeepers a few times over the years and never had the same person clean my house twice.

    Interesting to me that Kath85 hasn't met anyone that has house cleaners. Where I live (central NJ, not too far from Philly), I am the exception, rather than the norm. Almost everyone I know (especially where both spouses work) has help.

    Oh, and Chispa, if you are new to youth baseball, you better get used to it:-) My son is 10 and plays travel ball (and rec because my town requires it to play travel). Spring, Fall and Winter is about 6 hours per week, but once school is out and tournament ball gets into full swing -- 6 hours is a light weekend. Plus there is a game or practice almost every night during the week. And, in July we travel to Maryland for tournament at the Ripken facility. I sure hope you love baseball :-)

  • chispa

    Thanks Jill :-). DS is just a bit younger and catching up with Baseball after we spent a few years working/living overseas. Many of the kids/families are really into it and very good players, so we are lucky to be able to give him weekly private coaching with 2 former major league players that have a facility near us ... he is catching up nicely and pitched for the first time a few weeks ago.

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