When I grew up my Mum was a full-time working single mother, whose only luxury was to have a lady come twice weekly to help out with the cleaning.
As you know from previous posts cleaning is not one of my best qualities. You could argue it is because we had help when we grew up but having said that I must add that my sister and I washed our own clothes and vacuumed our rooms as teenagers (a.k.a we had to).
Pre-marriage and family, when hubby and I both worked full-time, I always wanted to get a cleaning lady to on the one hand avoid any fights (about the way the house should be cleaned) and on the other hand to not have to spend half a Saturday cleaning the house, after having worked a full week.
In my humble opinion you can divide the population in two category of people – the ones who grew up with a cleaner and the ones who didn’t. If these two are mixed together, there is room for discussion. One person sees the positive side of having help, i.e. not having to spend the weekend cleaning and the ecstatic feeling of coming home to a clean apartment (obviously that might depend on the cleaners cleaning qualities). The other person might think it is a waste of good money, which could better be spent on other things.
As you can detect from my vivid description hubby comes from a no-cleaner childhood home. As my husband is very stubborn, all my attempts to get us a cleaner were shot down immediately.
And then came my lucky break!
Surfer Dude was born in the Netherlands, where it is common that a midwife comes to your house for a couple of days after giving birth. But not any good old midwife! No, in contrast to other countries where they only check the baby, the healing of the wounds and support any questions in regards to breastfeeding, in the Netherlands these women also support you in doing household chores. They do grocery shopping, prepare food, pick up older kids and also tidy up and clean your house. Hallelujah!
Hubby finally saw the light (a.k.a my point of view) and was convinced, which starts the story of our cleaning ladies. And let me tell you – it wasn’t always a nice one.
The first woman to help us out was the mother of a Dutch friends’ boyfriend. She was nice enough, doing everything her way and eased us into the whole “leaving a stranger in your house”.
A year later we moved to Dublin and went straight to heaven! We met a Russian angel in disguise. Every time I came home after she had been there it felt as if stepping into a new 5 star hotel room.
When we left Ireland – both she and I cried – and I secretly wondered whether I could hide her in my luggage.
Once back in Vienna, a friend of mine recommended her cleaning lady, although she told me she left her house every time the girl came, because the girl was very emotional and cried a lot.
We took her on and I have to admit, it was hard for her to step into the angels footsteps. She was a sweet – very catholic – girl, who once put an empty condom wrapper in the middle of the bed. I still assume she disapproved of condoms and that’s why she put it there. Thanks to her action, I discovered that my lovely little brother had shagged someone in my bed while house-sitting…
One time I came home and the girl told me under tears that she had fallen pregnant and that she could no longer clean our house. Hm, maybe condoms aren’t such a bad thing after all?
My father recommended a lady who, in his words, was very good but shouldn’t be trusted with little things. In the year she was with us, I found various broken things on top of a written note saying “Sorry”. She was also not to fond of picking up little things before vacuuming…during her stay we reduced our mountain of Lego by half. What frustrated me most, was her dislike of folding the laundry and she often left with this only half done. Another time we had a discussion about how many windows one could clean in 4 hours (I am by no means an expert – but 1,5?? Seriously?).
I really hate to tell people when I am unhappy and I constantly apologize while doing so – which is something I need to learn. This is way, although I was not happy with her work, I would never have told her not to come again. You can imagine I wasn’t too sad when she told me she had another job and recommended her cousin to come instead.
I admit I was a bit nervous before the cousin came around the first time, but I needn’t have worried. She has now been with us for a couple of months and (positively) surprises me week after week with new things she has done or found to do.
After her last visit I wondered where all the clean clothing was, which she usually leaves on my bed. When taking out the kids clothes for the next day, I noticed she had re-arranged both kids’ cupboards and everything was folded in neat stacks like in a shop window.
My ecstatic feeling slowly turned into dread and I slowly went back to my room. And there they were: my clothes sitting on my bed – all by themselves staring at me accusingly. And I wondered, why o why did she not put mine away? What could be the reason for my clothes to be the only ones that were still on my bed? Was it because she was afraid of what she could find hidden in my closet? Or did she actually have a look and recoil in horror when spotting my lelo? I guess somethings I’ll never know…