Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ethical and practical dilemmas of a clean house

There's a stranger in my house who I'm pretending to ignore. This situation would have to be high on my list of awkwardness. The fact that I am paying her to be here is not helping my take on the situation. I'm reminding myself that I am sitting at my kitchen table with a laptop and a cup of tea rather than on a wrap-around porch with a gin and tonic, surveying the natives whilst they labour, but it still feels unpleasantly colonial. (Although I wouldn't say no to the gin and tonic....)

So yeah, we have a new cleaner. After dithering for weeks and stalking various companies' websites I finally called a few, and went with the one who a couple of friends had recommended and who came to look at the house yesterday and said they could send someone today. 

We have had a cleaner previously, but it was back in 2009 when our house was an inner city apartment and the only people messing it up were our friends on the weekends. It seems ridiculously unnecessary in retrospect, but we had two full time incomes, often both worked silly hours, and could afford the luxury. We would come home once a fortnight to find the doona cover ironed and the toilet paper folded into points. After the initial meet and greet, we never saw the good house elf - we left money on the bench and the transformations took place in our absence.

Despite my dislike of having someone I don't know in the house, I have three choices really - clean it myself, let it continue festering or pay someone else to do it. Option one I have been attempting, in increasingly futile and half-hearted measures since C was born. Option two is pretty much the default (since way before C was born if we're being honest) and option three is what I have finally succumbed to. I am telling myself that I am giving someone an income, that my time to play with my children is more valuable than the money or time spent cleaning it myself, and that next fortnight I will definitely try to organise for us to be somewhere else while she is here!

PS I have just peeked in the bathroom that she finished and have decided that I am being ridiculous. I can see through the shower screen. Need I say more?


Exist said...

Just thought I might leave a comment to let you know that I am enjoying your blog Mandy :)

I totally understand your angst Mandy. Yana and I faced this dilemma in Jakarta where there is a bustling market for every service imaginable such is the disparity between the economic value of individuals. You name it, you can hire somebody to come and do it for you.

Sometimes when I think too much about the injustice of the world I remind myself that I am but one well-intentioned human being and for my own sanity and happiness I cannot rail against all of it. I must pick my battles. Sometimes the most I can do is to document the injustice and tip generously. Which by accounts seems like it exactly what you are doing anyway.

allison tait said...

I love your last line! I've never had a cleaner, but I would love to have a shower screen I can see through on a regular basis, so maybe... Visiting via the Rewind.

Sonia LifeLoveandHiccups said...

Is there anything better than coming home to a clean home that you did not have to clean yourself? I know the feeling of unease you get though with a strange in your house cleaning up for you. I had that too with our last cleaner, but I adored her so much that we ended up becoming great friends and her family got to know mine and .... then I couldnt have her clean my house any more because I felt bad having a friend do it lol xx

Bron Maxabella said...

I've always struggled with this one, but at the end of the day i know I'd be happy to clean someone else's house for the money I pay, so I hand over the cash and enjoy the cleanliness. x

ANB said...

Thanks everyone- I think the practicalities are winning over the ethics. Or the ends justify the means. Or something. At any rate I'm feeling ok about it all.

Megan said...

I have a cleaner too, it is probably the best thing in my life beside the dish washer! But I totally agree about the awkward feeling of sitting around at home when they are there, I book it for work day but if I wasn't working I would definitely find somewhere else to be!

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