Monday, May 21, 2012

Cleaning house

When the kids were younger, it really felt like my title as a stay at home mother was a conversation stopper when I ventured out into some public arenas. I also felt, at the time, that if that was indeed my role, it seemed I should've been better at it. I really liked the fellow child-employed "coworkers" I had met, so I was in grand company. Make no mistake, I was not a housewife, as any visitor to our home could attest. The place was not necessarily as kept up as it should have been and the refrigerator was not typically stocked with foods befitting any adult mealtime guests. My job description was that of a mom, whose office happened to be this house.

For whatever reason, I have found myself very reluctant now to give up that stay at home title...the very same one that once gave me momentary inferiority complexes in certain company. Some of my cohorts were on temporary leaves from careers they loved, while others moved on to follow new aspirations. Maybe I just wanted some mad money, some way to feel more deserving of that $16 clearance purse and a tasty lunch with a friend at Panera...maybe even an occasional shirt that cost over $6 and didn't have an Old Navy tag. (No offense Old Navy, I do love you.) 

The reality is that my day job was being slowly, yet quickly, eliminated. There was no need for a mother to be stationed at this house all day long, while the kids were at school...all day long.  It was even harder to accept that my job description was not nearly as involved even when the kids were home. Instead of full acceptance, I told myself someone should be here in case there was a sudden need for something...homemade chocolate chip cookies-STAT! 

I worked at a preschool for a couple of years, and I think since I was home when the kids were I still considered myself an at home mother. Now I am wondering just how many hours of cleaning houses I have to rack up to relinquish my former title. Right now I am at eight houses. (Well, 8 1/4 if you count the paltry attempt I make to tidy up my own abode.) Perhaps I am struggling with the sheer glamour of saying that I am a cleaning lady. Here are a couple of recent reasons why...
  1. Upon arrival at a house for the second time, the owner told me she was going to show me how to clean her kitchen since she thought the size of it was a little overwhelming, and I had accidentally forgotten to clean the kitchen sink the first time I was there. She said she knew it must've been an accident because the rest of the house looked great. Maybe she thought it would help dilute the embarrassment I was feeling, by watching her twenty minute demonstration of how she cleans her kitchen...complete with a rehashing of the products used that was done at my initial visit. I asked if there had been another problem (that would warrant such punishment), but she said there was not. I am due to go there again this week, and either the third time is the charm, or three strikes and I am calling myself out of there.
  2. If you have a cleaning lady, and there are leftover cupcakes on your kitchen counter, leave a "help yourself" note. The same also applies for a box of Entenmann's chocolate donuts (every single time at one house, I swear). I think half the time the thought of indulging in such yum yums is so overwhelming simply because I know it is forbidden. Give me permission so I can get on with my life, being satisfied by the Luna bar in my purse.
  3. For some reason, getting paid in cash usually feels just fine. However, this made it feel like I had done something far more lascivious, but not in a good way.
I hope that wasn't anybody's lunch money.
Maybe when people ask what I do, I should just be honest and tell them it is all too fascinating and complex to get into at the moment.

18 comments:

  1. I have always thought of cleaning houses instead of what I do . . . but I hate to clean and I thought that might make me something less of a desirable employee :)

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  2. Andrea, there is no reason to hide working for a living. (unless you are a hooker Hehehe) I am kind of disgusted at that woman's attitude with the sink. If it was me - on my next visit I would lick one of her forks and put it back. Seriously!!

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  3. No shame in having a JOB girl. I have an awesome cleaning lady that helps out with the heavy duty cleaning every two weeks I love her. I always give her plenty of cupcakes and booze.

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  4. There isn't a thing wrong with owning your own housecleaning business. Not everyone can do that. So pat yourself on the back, and have some cookies!

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  5. I'm with everyone else! Work is work!! (Unless you are a hooker, and then well, I guess work is still work...I digress...) ANYWAY, be proud of you who are and what you do and if sink-lady can't deal, fire her. As an at home mom I tell people that I am the CEO of an exclusive academy promoting genius in a few select individuals. That usually stops people in their tracks. :)

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  6. Uh-oh...I might've lost the point of my post somewhere along the line. I have no issues with having a job, but am amused that I struggle to give up the stay at home title that I used to struggle with having. There is also something about the notion that I traded one glamorous job for another.

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    1. I TOTALLY understand! I feel the same way!

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  7. Dont'cha just hate it when you get edged right out of the job you've done for decades?!

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  8. I actually cleaned a large house for a few months in between jobs. I got shown how to dust because I missed a shelf once. Ouch. And I definitely think that being a stay-at-home mom is a wonderful thing! When I am married and have kids, I'd love to be a stay-at-home mom and write and be there with my kids. I tell people that I'd like to a stay-at-home mom and a writer.... I get strange looks, but oh well. There's no shame in caring for your children and giving them your time and love. :)

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    1. Hmmmm...maybe I don't know how to dust either..we'll see on Thursday!

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  9. Getting paid in cash does feel good, but unfortunately, in my current non-Social Security contributing status, I would be labeled a hooker. With only one happy client called my husband.

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    1. At least you'd have a happy client!?

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  10. ha! I want to be paid in cash! (or really cheap espresso machines ... oh, wait).

    best,
    MOV

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  11. Oh my god, they paid you in all $1s?? Somebody had some cash leftover from the strip club the night before, apparently. Should you be concerned when you ask your husband if he has any cash to pay the cleaning lady and he gives you all $1s?

    My cleaning lady forgets stuff all the time! I have never given her a tutorial. I just hope she gets it the next time. If it is consistently forgotten, I leave a note asking her to clean it next time. I have never left a help yourself note on cupcakes, but I rarely have that type of thing sitting out. Usually it's a bowl of fruit, which is not as much fun, but she could have as much as she wanted of it.

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  12. I can really relate to this.
    I too have cleaned...for money...it's bloody hard work because you try to be efficient.
    I managed to stay at home for 20 years mothering - home educating my kids was my excuse but I always felt and still feel second class or stupid or something because I didn't/don't work - for money that is and being a kept woman while hubby works seems like being a cheap prostitute...but I really don't want to get back on that wheel.

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  13. One has to wonder what your client does for a living if she had to pay you in dollars...

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