When I first became a mother, I spent a significant amount of time in mothering forums, especially those for stay at home mothers.
I recall one mama posting about her regular house cleaning service, and all I thought was, “How ridiculous! Isn’t she home so she can help run the house?”
As a new wife and mother, I was still figuring out my role in our home. I remember laundry piling up, the bickering over who would get the dishes done, and the overwhelming stress of trying to deep clean the floors with a sticky handed toddler running around.
In the end I decided it was just something I needed to learn to manage on my own. And I did. I managed for years.
Hiring A Cleaner Can Save Money, Sanity And Relationships
Eventually, however, the cumulative stress caught up with me. No matter how many cleaning schedules I tried, or how many kids’ chore charts I had, I just couldn’t get my house to a state where I felt comfortable.
My workload increased, my preemie came into my life, and my husband worked out of town more. And by the time we became a family of seven, it was just harder and harder to keep up.
One day I visited a friend while she had her cleaning service in. She wasn’t wealthy. She wasn’t a full time CEO. She was a budget conscious stay at home mama.
But she knew that certain things have value, including her sanity. It was almost as though I was being given permission to try it out for myself.
How Can A House Cleaner Save You Money?
First, I’m fully aware of the privilege involved in having a house cleaning service. This is an extra – beyond food, clothing, and housing. It isn’t something that will fit into every household budget.
However, for some families on very average incomes, especially where there’s a working mama, having a house cleaner might be a money saver in the long run.
Of course, the financial planning class I took would tell me stashing the money away in an interest-bearing account would be a better investment. And that might very well be true.
However, what’s the day to day cost of not having a little extra help?
For the working mama, it means time spent cleaning rather than earning. It’s also one more thing added to the mental load, which leads to less productivity due to sheer mental exhaustion.
For the stay at home mama, being more budget conscious, and finding other areas to save money, might make it possible to afford cleaning fees.
It could also mean you have more time to do something you’re passionate about – like selling your crafts, or writing, or providing extra childcare.
The microeconomic theory of opportunity cost can be explained like this: small business owners, contracted workers, or even stay at home mamas think they’re saving money by doing as much as they can by themselves. In the long run, however, they’re missing out on the opportunity to earn or save money elsewhere.
I am a contracted writer, a childbirth educator and a doula. The hours I spend cleaning are hours I’m not working.
I work around my husband’s and children’s schedules, to limit childcare costs. This means when I’m cleaning, I’m missing out on the opportunity to earn through writing or teaching.
The amount I pay per month for a few hours of house cleaning, is money I can earn in less time than if I did the cleaning myself.
I’m also completely okay with getting a haircut once a year and rocking fashion from the clearance sections in the big stores. I will wear clearance t-shirts for the rest of my life if it means having some help to clean my house.
How Does A Cleaning Service Save Your Sanity?
I probably don’t need to explain this one. We all feel the pressure of trying to keep a home organised and comfortable.
There have been times in my life when I could simply let some chores go, recoup, and then catch up again when life settled down. Now, as mama to five kids, letting something go means I might never catch up.
The kids like to entertain friends, and my extroverted husband could happily entertain every night of the week. Although I don’t mind my house looking lived in, I really enjoy having a comfortable place where our friends can relax when they visit. There’s enough stickiness on the couch from one afternoon; they don’t need to sit in two weeks’ worth of it.
We also lose enough matching socks and homework to keep me on the brink of cracking under the intense mental load of motherhood – even when the house is tidy. If we added a chaotic and sticky house, I would find myself shorter on patience and much more anxious.
I’m also a mother who struggles with extra fatigue due to endometriosis, and the choice between sleeping and doing dishes can alter my entire next day.
Motherhood isn’t something we’re supposed to do alone. We’re supposed to have a village to help us. We’re supposed to have lots of support. Unfortunately, our modern culture rarely allows for ‘village-style’ support. Most of us are forced to do things on our own, or find a way to pay for help.
The first time I called my house cleaner, I was pregnant. It was summer so all the kids were home and my husband was out of town. I’m not even sure I can describe the amount of relief I felt after she left.
How Does Help With Cleaning Save Relationships?
I know I can’t be the only weary mama who has felt the load of chores become unbalanced between my partner and me. My husband is incredibly helpful, but he works long hours. I work long hours too – managing five kids and work. Neither of us really has loads of extra time to devote to deep cleaning those extra sticky floors.
We both want some down time. We both feel stressed when the house is chaotic. Neither of us feels we can relax when there are chores left undone.
Having just a bit of help means less silly bickering over a few dishes in the sink. It means more time spent relaxing with each other. It means feeling like we can breathe for a moment.
If you’re a stay at home mama, or especially if you’re a working mama, you know the struggle of trying to balance duties with quality time for kids. The crazier life gets, the more chores there are, but it’s even more important to find that quality time.
When my youngest was in the NICU, having a cleaner come in meant I could have more time with my weary older children. It meant more time to pump, and manage somehow to exclusively breastfeed a preemie. It meant one less thing weighing on my weary shoulders.
This week, having a cleaner come in meant I didn’t feel stressed about getting everyone to soccer camp during our first week of summer. It meant I had time to write this article and focus on other writing projects. I was feeling relaxed enough to nurse my toddler to sleep without stressing about not mopping the floors.
Again, I fully recognise it’s a privilege to be able to pay for help in the home. I’m a parenting writer and mama to five; my husband works in construction. We aren’t at the top of the corporate ladder.There were, and still are, times we can’t find enough room in our budget.
However, it was eye opening to realise it isn’t a massive expense and is really worth it when looking at opportunity cost.
Walking into my friend’s home, and seeing her cleaner, made me aware and gave me the permission I obviously didn’t need, but felt I did.
So, here’s your permission. If you’re struggling, if you’re working, and if you’re weary, look into getting some help.