cleaning my house
Life in General

Guilty or Relieved?

A few months back, I posted about the challenge of keeping my house clean. Well, I’ve done something about it. Now I don’t know if I should feel guilty or relieved!!

Shortly after that post in May, a friend of mine told me about someone she’d recently hired to clean her house. She was very happy with her and said just having her come once a month was helping her out a lot. So, I checked into it. I thought what could once a month hurt?

Hana’s been coming to our house since about the middle of August now. And it’s not just Hana. She brings at least two others with her, sometimes three. Last time, she even brought her husband!! They get through our house in no time at all. And I’m checking – things are getting clean!!

We also opted for every other week instead of monthly. It’s just too nice knowing we don’t have to go longer than two weeks to have a clean house.

The guilty part

I don’t work anymore. Should I be able to keep my house clean?

I think the main point is not “should I” but “do I want to”. Yes, I should. I want a clean house. But as I pointed out before, there are simply too many other things to do. So, it’s more about not wanting to do it. And when you don’t want to do something, it tends to slip to the bottom of the priority list.

I know it’s just the two of us and we don’t even have pets anymore. I do feel a little guilty that I’m not a better housekeeper. But hey, is it all my responsibility?

Tim encouraged me to hire her. Was it because I wasn’t cleaning often enough (and he thinks I’m a slacker) or because he didn’t like cleaning his bathroom either?

I bet Tim doesn’t feel guilty about having someone clean our house. Why should I?

The relieved part

I think there’s more relief than guilt. Now I know our house will be getting clean. Is it done exactly the way I would do it? No. I know they do things pretty fast, much faster than I would. But it’s good enough. And what’s wrong with good enough?

It leaves me with more time to focus on the bigger cleaning projects. I don’t resent doing those things as much, now that they’re not another add-on to the everyday cleaning.

It’s funny, too, that once the house is cleaned, I work harder to keep it clean. I’m more inclined now to sweep the floor regularly and keep things in order.

It’s so much nicer now when we have company. I know the house is no more than “two weeks dirty” and I can do what’s needed to freshen it up for guests. It relieves a lot of stress from something that should be enjoyable.

What do you think?

Should I feel guilty or relieved? I said before that I didn’t retire to become a cleaning lady, even in my own house. I still feel that way.

One way to look at it is this. We pay to have our outside work done. We don’t have to mow the lawn or shovel snow. I don’t feel guilty about that.

Why is it any different when you have someone take care of the inside?

I rest my case. And relieved it is!!

29 Comments

  • Misadventures of Widowhood

    I hired a house cleaner after my husband died and did the
    Guilt Dance for a while but then I decided it was the best gift I could have given to myself. What she does in a couple of hours took me a couple of days. She only comes once a month but it gives a rhythm to cleaning because half way in between her coming I do a touch up and any company I invite over is planned around the cleaning service schedule.

  • Bob Lowry

    My wife says one of the nicest things we have done for ourselves in retirement is to hire a cleaning service. The lady and her crew come every two weeks to make things sparkle and put everything in its place.

    Of course we could do it ourselves, but not having to is worth the money. Plus, we feel good about helping this particular lady earn a living for her family. We hire her husband to handle our yard work, too. So, they make our life more pleasant and we are sure the money we give them is important to their family…a win-win arrangement.

    • Retired Introvert

      I love thinking of it that way. I’m sure we’re helping her out. She’s also getting more business as our neighbors have hired her now too. Everyone is certainly making me feel better about my decision. Thanks Bob!!

  • Patricia Doyle

    I had a cleaning service when I worked, and kept it until we downsized. Now I clean myself, and feel like I fit it in OK. But, I am certainly not in love with cleaning and could definitely see getting a service again if I ever feel like it’s becoming too much of a chore. I have middle-class guilt about other things… but not this!

    • Retired Introvert

      It was easier when it was just me. I didn’t feel as guilty when I let things go. Now I don’t want Tim to be unhappy with a house not regularly cleaned.

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au

    I think a house cleaner is a wonderful thing to have (and a gardener as well!) I’m very blessed to have a husband who does more of the housework than I do these days. He took on more of it when he was working from home (and I figured he made more dust etc than me!) He also does the yard work so I’m just enjoying it all for now. When the time comes that he can’t do it all then I’ll be voting for someone to do it (but they’d need to do it well!)

    • Retired Introvert

      Doing it well is required. I’ve noticed a couple of things that I will talk to Hana about. Need to make sure she understands my expectations. Overall, a good experience and I’m happy I found her. More time for me!!

  • Marty

    Ah, nothing like middle class guilt, eh? 🙂 I had someone come in to clean my apartment prior to my second marriage, and I felt like it was the nicest luxury in the world. When my now-wife moved in, she put an end to the practice pretty quickly. But someday I might insist on it again so that we’re not slaves to our home.

    • Retired Introvert

      Yes, as relieved as I am, guilt will always nag at me. I like your way of saying what I feel. I don’t want to be a slave to our home.

  • Mona McGinnis

    Feel relieved. It’s your prerogative and your money. You’ve obviously considered your budget (time, money, energy) and you’re contributing to someone’s finances. I’ve done some freelance housekeeping. Everyone in the houses I cleaned were appreciative.

  • Iris

    My age is beginning to affect some of the physical things I could always do easily – AND, like you – I love having a clean house, but there are so many other things in my life I’d rather be doing. So, I’ve been having someone clean for me once a month for about a year. I do have pets, so…. Of course, I have to do some between her visits, but not to the extent that she does.

    And yes, I did feel a bit guilty when she first started, but that soon passed as she left a sparkling clean house. Now I’m positively relieved and wouldn’t want to go back to having to do it all myself.
    Grace & Peace,Iris
    http://www.IrisOriginalsRamblings.com

    • Retired Introvert

      You are smart to have some help. I wish my mother would realize she can’t and shouldn’t do what she’s used to doing. There’s more to life than fretting over a clean house.

      • Betty Mc

        I have a friend whose mother rejected the idea of having help with cleaning even though it was obvious she needed it. So as a Mother’s Day surprise gift my friend and her brother arranged for and pre-paid a cleaning company (Merry Maids I think) to do a deep clean appointment followed by regular appointments on a monthly basis. At first her mom was most unhappy with them, but when they told her they couldn’t get out of the contract (a little white lie) she relented and now loves having the service even though she still contends she could still clean her own house. She is a very frugal lady and only agreed to continue to keep using the service when her children told her they would be paying for it as her Christmas, birthday, Mother’s Day , Valentine’s, Easter etc. presents.

        Maybe this ruse would work on your mother?

        • Retired Introvert

          It might. It’s not about the money though. It’s more about lowering her standards a little and accepting it’s not a reflection on her ability to do it. She’s 84 years old, dealt with ovarian cancer last year and is having knee replacement surgery next Monday. Wouldn’t you say I’m ready to let someone else clean my house??

          • Betty

            I imagine her attitude is hard for you to accept, but no need to feel guilty about something you have no control over. Remember “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink” , no disrespect for your mother intended.

  • La

    I have someone to clean every other week. I don’t feel guilty at all. Cleaning things was killing my knees. It’s ok to ask for/get help. We’re led to believe that w3 can do everything. We can’t. Do what works for you

    • Retired Introvert

      Glad to hear so many others are doing the same thing. I love being able to spend my days doing whatever I want!!

  • Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged

    I’ve gone back an forth on this one also. So far, I haven’t hired anyone but I’m tempted. I (and my husband) can easily do the small stuff, but I’d love to have someone do the deep cleaning. Like Donna, I’m a bit of a tightwad when it comes to things like this.

  • Donna

    I’ve thought about hiring a cleaning service, but I’m kind of a tightwad about certain things, and I figure the movement is good for me. But I would certainly feel no guilt if I were to change my mind. If it’s important to you, and you have the resources to do it, why not?

    • Retired Introvert

      I’m pretty frugal as well, which is why I hadn’t seriously considered it before. Who knows, at some point I could change my mind and realize it’s too expensive. For now, I’m just going to enjoy it!!

    • Louise Crall

      I hope you feel relived! Since the kids were tiny we have always had a cleaning crew in our budget. My time has a cost too and I want to spend it doing the things I love – which does not include cleaning! Also, my spouse is a better cleaner than me, so if something isn’t up to his standards he is upset with them – not me. So I’ve always thought of it as a marriage saver!

      • Retired Introvert

        I am relieved for sure. I love not having to figure out when I’ll get the cleaning done. Spending my time doing other things is so much better!!

  • Betty Mc

    One of the biggest perks of being retired is having the option of doing what you want, when you want , but only IF you want. And a footnote to the above should be “without feeling guilty about your decisions”!

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