3.25.2009

I Hate Wednesdays

I've hesitated to write this post because it might reveal a little too much about the inner workings of my psyche (not to mention my housekeeping skills), but it is a true phenomenon, and it hits me every week, and so here it is:

I hate Wednesdays because it's the day my cleaning lady, Galena, comes.

I do not hate Galena. She is sweet and cooperative and not invasive or bossy.

I do not hate that she comes and cleans my house.

I hate that her coming requires me to do a morning blitz through the house straightening so that we don't appear to be total pigs and so that she can clean. I know, Grandma - it would be so easy to just clean and pick up as we go, and it is ludicrous to have to clean for someone to come clean. I know this with my head and I wish I could be like you. That's what makes me sad.

I hate that while she is here all day, I feel compelled to look productive and/or interactive with my children. Because it's important that she knows I'm busy, and therefore don't get the toilets swabbed, rather than that I'm lazy and therefore don't get the toilets swabbed.

Looking productive and interactive is sometimes more difficult than actually being productive and interactive. That stinks.

I hate that I feel compelled to be showered and dressed and have my children also ready for the day before she arrives in the morning. Also so we don't appear to be slatternly.

I hate that I care so much what she thinks. Ukrainians are phenomenal housekeepers, but they all also have grandmas or nannies in the house to help with children and household responsibilities. An idea that is pleasant, but foreign, to my upbringing.

I hate being a domestic helper's boss. It makes me feel so aristocratic, which kinda goes against my grain.

I hate that because I can't really say what I accomplish in a day, that I feel like it's nothing and therefore I have no excuse for things not getting done.

I do know I'm not eating bonbons and sitting around filing my nails - there's just no quantifiable evidence of my productivity come 6 p.m. (Kids are still alive - check!)

I hate it that I really don't manage to get the toilets swabbed regularly and I don't get my husband's shirts ironed so that he's not crunched for time in the morning having to iron his own.

(He doesn't ever complain about this. He gets to the toilets sometimes and he always does his own ironing. I just feel like it's my job and I'm not doing it.)

I hate that because of my lack of organization and my excess of guilt over toilets and shirts that it was so easy to be pressured by the neighbor to take up some hours from a cleaning lady who also cleans for her.

The most annoying thing about it all, though, is that all of this pressure and stress is coming from me. I'm the one making myself feel ridiculous hiring someone to do the work that I should be able to get done and for which I have no concrete excuse for not getting done.

People assure me that there is no shame in it and if I need to, think of Galena - work and money are scarce and Ukraine is getting set for a HUGE economic downturn. So I'm helping her by giving her honest work.

I should definitely say here that while I hold myself to this level of scrutiny, I do not think less of people who do hire housekeepers. I've never given it another thought when it comes to them.

Truth be told, I'm probably not as much ashamed at the need for a housekeeper as I am frustrated over having to coordinate and communicate with yet another person in my life. I don't like it. And if I could manage stuff myself, I wouldn't have to coordinate and communicate with extra people. I hate that.

And although my husband never complained about life before Galena, he now loves Wednesdays.

The truth is that lots of people have wondered aloud to me that I don't have a cleaning lady, or that she only comes one day a week, and that I don't also have a nanny.

My answer for the nanny (that I only share with you, the internets) is that if someone else is caring for my children, I lose my only viable excuse for the toilets and the ironing. And I've been doing children for just long enough to feel really invested and really enjoy it, and to really not know what I would do if I didn't have to do it.

It's just an odd thing to me - instead of alleviating work or stress, Wednesdays loom as the day that I really have to be on my game. Someone is coming over, getting an intimate glimpse at my not-so-orderly homelife. That embarrasses me a little.

And for all of it, my favorite jobs of laundry and bumwiping remain exclusively mine.

On the other hand...it is so nice to know also that those pesky little corners and surfaces (which are prioritized way below all other household tasks) are getting wiped down and dusted. The floors (even under beds and dressers, not just high traffic places) are being regularly swept, vacuumed and mopped. Things are more deeply cleaned and polished.

And because of Wednesdays, I have become a lot better at picking up as I go and not letting things pile up as much. And the boys have started noticing how much nicer it is to play somewhere that is neat and clean.

It is nice that at least once a week, the day ends with everything in near perfect order.

I've got to get over myself, because Wednesdays do make life better. And this is probably the only time in my life that I will ever have a housekeeper. I should love it. I really should.

8 comments:

Janelle said...

I think we all have this thought process in some form or another.

We don't have cleaning help (my mom does come and visit and always helps with whatever laundry I've got going and will usually mop the kitchen floor-my personal nemisis!) but I feel guilty that I work and still feel that I can't afford help or that I can't manage to keep up with it myself. Or is it that I think I should be able to do it myself and just won't hire someone because I'd feel guilty? That's more the case I think.

I hate it when my husband has to do things that I have deemed "wife" work even though we both work. I feel I have certain duties.

I only keep up as well as I do because I try, stress the try, to do the FlyLady system.

But cut yourself a break-you are pregnant with three other littles! Enjoy the focused day you have with the boys on Wednesdays!

Gabriela said...

I know exactly how you feel. I wake up every morning and have a little knot in my stomach knowing someone is on their way to my house. And the looking productive thing-yes! You described it perfectly. :)

The woman I've got now is a pretty awesome maid, and I still don't love it like I sometimes think I should. Oh well.

Z. Marie said...

I have similar feelings about Fridays for the same reasons. I readily admit I'm a horrible housekeeper, though. (I blame it on growing up in my mother's house, although I'm a little old to still be blaming things on her.)

S said...

I hear you. I had this same conversation with my husband this morning. Funny this is what your post is about. I would rather have a personal trainer than someone cleaning my house or watching my children. But then again someone helping me get to all those corners would be nice too. The whole thought process here is a exactly the same as mine, just better written:) And without a housekeeper to content with :)

Amanda said...

Ditto. I have not blogged about this because I just didn't know how to explain it. But I feel the same way, and mine comes everyday. its the coordination and communication. I know without her I would have dirty dishes, and pretty much dirty everything a lot of the time. And she does take care of the kids so I can take a nap, and I feel totally lazy. But I should be enjoying it.

txmommy said...

well not that this will make you feel any better but we used to have a house keeper and i couldn't take the stress of it. Really I couldn't, and when we moved I was much relieved that we couldn't afford her with our larger home any more. Now we just relish the clutter!

you're a better woman than I am.

Anonymous said...

i cannot relate.

the end

Nobody said...

I didn't mean to be anonymous. Sorry.