Stay-Home Mom Does Not Mean Stay-Clean House

When I was working outside of the home full-time, we paid for a cleaning service. Two wonderful ladies came every two weeks and stayed for an hour and a half, and they consistently left behind a house so clean I once spent 10 minutes marveling at the spotlessly shiny surface of my toaster.

(It was reflective! Who knew a burnt-smelling waffle-hut encrusted with a patina of crumbs and fingerprints could be transformed into a gleaming mirrored appliance?)

I fought hard to keep the housecleaners in our budget, even when our money started getting tight. Every few months I delivered a multimedia presentation (complete with slides and dramatic re-enactments) explaining to my husband why it would be beneficial to our family's mental health if I wasn't the only one in charge of scrubbing toilets and de-griming the kitchen floor.

"I'll help more," he said.

"Yeah, right," I said. "Please indicate on this chart which item you would use to clean a bathtub ring."

"Um ... the butter knife? No, wait, the plunger!"

About a year ago, our budget finally dried up to the point where luxuries like "paying the utility bills" and "not having the bank foreclose on our home" took precedence over everything else, and I reluctantly canceled the cleaning service. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but it was a sad day for me—made worse by my husband trying to cheer me up.

"Look, honey, I'll clean the toilets right now!"

"So why are you holding a box of laundry detergent?"

I used to outsource the deep cleaning work because I didn't want to spend my non-office, non-commute hours holding a mop, but the irony is, now that I'm home full-time with the kids, the house is easily 20 times more filthy than it ever was before.

The clutter is overwhelming, despite me nagging the kids every 15 minutes to pick up the toys constantly stacked on every surface. The laundry is never-ending—a Sisyphean cycle of things that need to go in the washer, things that need to come out of the dryer, and things that are sitting in a giant wrinkled pile on the dining room table ready to be put away. The dishwasher runs night and day, my tape-obsessed kid has left Scotch remnants on every wall and countertop, and I have LEGOs permanently embedded in the arch of each foot.

It's not just the surface stuff, though. The house is just grosser now. Crumbs on the floor, crayons half-melted down the heat vents, chips in the paint, couch cushions stained from peanut-butter-coated mouths, Spider-Man-branded toothpaste smeared on the bathroom cabinets, a kitchen nook table encrusted from a daily two-kid Cheerio spill, two boys' bedrooms that look like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

If I think about it too much, my right eyelid starts twitching.

A large portion of my day is spent keeping things in a state juuuuust above biohazard levels. The bathtub always has a ring these days because if I turn my attention to that, the other end of the house explodes. The toilets rarely sparkle because I'm always buried underneath a toppling mountain of 5T and 3T shirts.

Which is all to say, I believe now—more than ever—I could really, really use that cleaning service. But I don't know if I could justify it, because after all, I'M HOME ALL DAY HA HA HA HAAA.

*scrubs furiously at right eye*

What are your thoughts on having some housecleaning help, if you're home with a couple of messy kids? Worth every penny, a pointless luxury, or ...?

mental health, stress, time for you


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mrsda... mrsdangelo

Totally worth it! Even just for the deep cleaning would be great! My sister, a SAHM, somehow finds the time and energy to keep her house clean with a 3 and 6 year old. But she has a cleaning service that comes once every couple of months to do stuff like washing baseboards and cleaning above the kitchen cabinets and steaming the carpets. I would LOVE to have a cleaning service. I have a 3 month old and work outside of the house, but my husband works from home and is a SAHD. And our house is gross.

Nancy... NancyJ422

I had a cleaning service for a few years and really loved it.  But like you, money got tight and I couldn't justify the expense.  I work from home and cleaning the house is STILL the last thing I want to do.  It is gross but I just don't care!

nonmember avatar Amanda

If you can afford it, do it. It's a luxury that is well worth the peace of mind.

NookB... NookBoookMom

lmao it is true though some things have to slide, we bought our own carpet cleaner so we can do the carpets ourselves and we tackle the deep cleaning issues every weekend we pick something that way we arent bogged down by everything all @ once and i am with the never ending laundry,

AngiDas AngiDas

Are you me? I could have written this.

Holli Benson

There is a reason that men don't clean house. I think that we should follow their lead...we don't have to be the greater species in everything. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. LOL

nonmember avatar Martie

I say save the money that you would spend on a cleaning service and go on a family vacation. And you and your husband clean on Sunday afternoon. It honestly does not take long, I have 5 kids a husband a dog and a cat. And my house is lived in but clean....clorox wipes are the best I leave a can in every room, so when I see there is toothpaste all over the counter I just grab one and wipe it up then I use the same one to wipe up the sink and toliet! Same in the kitchen as soon as you see it wipe it up!! Trust me it is the only thing that works for me, but I have OCD like no other too!! Good Luck!! Hopefully son the economy will change and we all can afford maids!! ;)

nonmember avatar Krissa

Give yourself a *little* bit of a break - not only are you home all day, but your young, exuberant children are ALSO in that house all day. If it were just you, I'm pretty confident you could resist the urge to melt crayons most of the time. :)

If it helps at all: My mom was also a SAHM while we were little, and the general rule was that if we didn't pick it up when asked, we obviously didn't want it and it went in the trash. That took losing one toy to stick - and hey, at least maybe the leggos would be less of a death trap!
(She also admitted to stashing bags of expensive toys where we'd never find it, rather than toss out that kind of cash - kind of a time-out on toys.)

melan... melanniek

After getting married, my respect for my mom shot up 100%.  She worked full time and our house was SPOTLESS.  I really have no idea how she did it.  I think she may be Wonder Woman, really.

Annie Schultz Singler

I would DIE for a cleaning service!  Okay, mayne not die, but I'd definitely trade one of my three kids for it.  Just not the baby because she's my favorite.

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