I’ve really struggled with whether to write this post, but after I mentioned it briefly on Instagram, it turns out a lot of you wanted to know a little more, so here we are.
Honestly I have a lot of Poor Girl guilt. I grew up in a house where we literally couldn’t afford hot water, so I’d wash my hair in cold water in the bathroom sink in the height of winter. My Mum, sister and I would all use the same water in the bath. When I was 18 I was briefly homeless and bummed on random friend’s sofas for a few weeks, eating one pack of Supernoodles every other day, while burning myself out on two jobs. And yet here I am, 29 years old, with a gorgeous husband, a beautiful toddler, a baby on the way and a successful business, plus a dream job working for a charity that means so much to me, three nights a week.
And I’ve hired a cleaner.
It feels weirdly cyclical because when were younger, my Mum did cleaning for people she knew, and in the school holidays she’d take me and my sister along and we would ‘help out’ too – although we were likely more of a hinderance to be honest.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and all that means that my body is permanently exhausted and sore. I’ll spend a few hours cleaning and tidying and then have to rest, or even nap, and sometimes the next day or two my body would still be recovering. It’s shit and embarrassing and frustrating and I’ve spent a lot of time feeling crap about it.
Steven does far more than his fair share of things around the house. He’s a domestic angel, but he is also having to look after me while I’m poorly and pregnant, and his business has really blown up in the past few months so he starts work around 6am and is lucky if he has a night without having to do something for a client.
We’re quite a messy house. Not quite Hoarders TV show levels of messy, and not filthy, but we are certainly not minimalists, we have a toddler who loves to play with everything, and lots of little piles of “stuff”. Add to that, the health issues, the fact that I have a full-time business, a part time job, and a full-time toddler, plus Steven works a million hours a day (only a slight exaggerations) and I’m proper preggers right now, and a cleaner just made sense.
I went back and forth on the idea, feeling a weird guilt and even shame – what kind of mother am I if I can’t even do the basics, but I decided to get a quote. The company we have gone with charges £13 an hour! What an absolute bargain. We technically pay £15 because I leave the change for 2 hours as a tip, and even so I think it’s more than worth it for that weight of my shoulders.
Our cleaner comes on a day when Ruben is at nursery and I head off into the cabin with Steven to crack out some work. It’s nice because it forces me to be at the desk in the morning, when usually I was spending that time tidying and not getting to my own work until the afternoon. She is like a whirlwind. From the second she comes in, she won’t accept a drink, she just gets cracking for the two hours, going between all the rooms, cleaning and mopping and scrubbing.
The agreement with our cleaner is that she uses her own vacuum but we provide the cleaning products, which I really like because we like to use eco friendly cleaners – we currently use Smol and Method. I didn’t really know the etiquette at first and I was pretty anxious. We tend to tidy more in the hour or so before she arrives than we get done all week! I had started by writing a little list of stuff on the first week, but it turns out she does those things anyway and after the first two weeks of cleaning our base grime (lol!), she can get the whole house done in 2 hours – toilets, hob, floors, sides, everything! It’s so satisfying to come back in to the house with it smelling amazing and looking great.
It’s been such a huge weight off my shoulders and a massive boost for my mental health. I’m not currently drinking (boo!), and thanks to my gallstones I can’t order takeout, so I’m saving money on those two little indulgences. Hiring a cleaner for 2 hours a week has been such an amazing, life changing investment for my little family and so many people I’ve spoken to have been surprised at the price – I know I expected it to cost a lot more!
So there we go. I have a cleaner. And a lot of working class guilt. But a shiny, beautiful smelling home and it’s been 100% worth it.