Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Goodbye servant girls

Ram likes to call me the housemother. Part of my task as "housemother" was to provide direction to my "servant girls" aka babysitter and cleaning ladies.
Unfortunately my babysitter has been unable to babysit for several months because her brother was ill (see my post from a few days ago regarding this). Before that, I had her come one afternoon a week-basically to play with Lamb 1, but also with Lamb 2. I liked that she was homeschooled so she was available to come Tuesday afternoons, which is Ram's day for visiting nursing homes and the day that he is gone the longest. It was nice to have someone to talk to when Ram was gone for a long day. She did a great job really playing with the Lambs, not just watching them play. It was nice to get some small projects done during nap time for Lamb 2 and 3. Sometimes I took a nap while she was here. The Lambs enjoyed doing playdoh in the winter and going to the park in the summer with her. She lived in the house behind us when she first started babysitting for us. Then she moved to the town 7 miles away. Sometimes she would get a ride one way and sometimes we took her both ways. But it was worth the chauffeuring to get a good babysitter. I have really missed her since she hasn't babysat for us. I don't know for sure, but I think she will be moving away soon. I am going to try to get another babysitter, but we won't be able to get one that the Lambs like as much as her!
When I was pregnant with Lamb 2, Ram allowed me to hire a cleaning lady. She came every 2 weeks and "all" she did was sweep/mop the kitchen floor, and clean our 2 bathrooms. It wasn't that expensive, but worth it to get those areas done without a toddler trying to "help" me clean. Even though I am trying to clean with more natural products, it was worth having a cleaning lady while I was pregnant. A few months after Lamb 2 was born,my cleaning lady just didn't show up one day. I would have liked to have kept her longer, but it didn't work out. I waited until I was pregnant with Lamb 3 and got a new cleaning lady. She started by herself, but then she started bringing her sister with her to get done quicker. She had the same work (kitchen floor and bathrooms) as my first cleaning lady. I hired her to work for my pregnancy, but liked her so well that I kept her after Lamb 3 was born.
Have you ever wished you could afford a cleaning lady? Let me tell you, it's not worth it some times. When I was in college, one of my babysitting jobs, I babysat every other Tuesday and when I babysat the cleaning ladies came. While the baby napped, I was expected as babysitter to keep an eye on the cleaning ladies while the mother was out. The two school age girls "had" to pick up all their toys and clothes etc. that morning before they went to school so the cleaning ladies could vacuum their room. I vowed then that I would never let cleaning people make more work for my children. I think it would have been easier to expect the school age girls to pick up and vacuum their own rooms so many times a month than to go through picking up everything before the cleaning ladies came.
Don't misunderstand me, I really did like having clean bathrooms and kitchen floor every two weeks. But it was a pain to pick up everything in the kitchen floor area before they arrived in the morning. Sometimes (it began to seem like every time they were coming) we were gone the day before and got home really late (after visiting someone in the hospital 3 hours away or going to the doctor 1 1/2 hours away etc.). We couldn't just dump the diaper bag and groceries that didn't need to be put in the fridge on the floor and go to bed then. I always tried to clean the kitchen and do the dishes so they didn't accidentally knock a glass on the floor and they had a place to get water to mop the kitchen floor. I tried to pick up the step stools and potty chair etc. so they were ready to clean when they got here. If I ran out of time and didn't get these things done before they got here, I ended up paying them to do these little things because they were paid by the hour. They accidentally broke my soap dispenser and got bleach on my carpet. Ram always had to be sure to be out of the shower and dressed before they got here. Lamb 1 was afraid of the cleaning ladies and hid in his room the entire time they were here. All these things added up made me think, why am I PAYING for this?
So, I gave them notice that today would be the last day of cleaning. I told them we needed to take the summer off and we would see next fall. If I'm pregnant then, I'll probably get them to clean again. If I'm not pregnant, I probably won't.
I have great plans to try to continue to clean the two bathrooms and kitchen floor myself, every two weeks on the days that they would have cleaned. I want to involve Lamb 1 and 2 a little bit in this cleaning even if it initially makes more work for me. I don't know how these plans will work out with vacations and summer activities, but I'm going to try.
For me it comes down to a choice between being stressed the morning the cleaning ladies come or being disciplined to do the cleaning myself. Perhaps if I can do the cleaning myself, I'll reward myself with a small treat. Hey, I'm saving the money that I would have paid them, maybe after the summer I'll reward myself with a big treat! (Maybe something for scrapbooking?)

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