I'm a stay-at-home mom, and I have a cleaning lady. I say this with extreme gratitude and no shame whatsoever. The truth is, paying for someone else to clean my house every two weeks is the best money I spend. Sure, I could do all the tasks I pay my cleaning lady to do, but delegating keeping our bathrooms tidy and our floors crumb-free has taken away so much of my stress that I can't imagine going back to the way it was before I hired her.
I started using a cleaning lady when I was pregnant with my fourth child. Until that point, I always did all the mopping, dusting, vacuuming, and polishing in our house. When I became too big to comfortably scrub the tubs or drag our vacuum up and down the stairs, I decided to hire out. At first, I felt a little weird about it, since I don't work full-time and I had time to clean while the kids were at school, no matter how disagreeable it was to my ever-growing belly. But when a professional stepped in, my life changed forever. Gone was the anxiety I felt when I knew I had to finish cleaning the house before preschool pickup or in between a doctor's appointment and swim practice. No longer was I almost literally breaking my aching back to disinfect toilets. When the cleaning lady left, I took a step back to admire her work and vowed to remain her customer for as long as she'd have me.
Now that my son is here, I find having a cleaning lady even more invaluable. I already do a ton of household tasks one-handed, from folding laundry to emptying the dishwasher. It's a huge relief when she arrives to take on some of the burden of manageing a household with six people living in it. Honestly, other than my husband, she's the only person who helps me on a regular basis. We don't live close to family, and I'm not yet comfortable leaving my baby with a sitter. After a long day of breastfeeding an infant, keeping up with laundry, running three other kids to every activity under the sun, meal prepping, and homework coaching, I'm most in love with being able to rely on someone to take care of my needs for a change. And in this case, those needs include getting old chunks of toothpaste off our sinks and wiping down dusty picture frames.
I'm sure some working parents would say that a stay-at-home mom having a cleaning lady is an indulgence, not a need, since I am home. And I bow down to worship parents who work full-time and still find the time to keep up with housework. I honestly don't know how you do it. I know how lucky I am to be able to afford help, and it really is a lifesaver. I'm far less stressed and therefore a better wife and mother because I recognise I need help in this area. Call it the ultimate act of self-care!