I’ve been overwhelmed with my life for a while now, pretty much since my lovely brother and sister returned home to their real lives, leaving me to wrangle Leon and the twins. What to do with Leon while I’m nursing?
Our closet has no doors and is the perfect playground for somebody whose favorite game is throwing items on the floor.
I’m usually held captive underneath the twins, watching in distress as Leon wreaks havoc in our bedroom. I know the solution is to maintain everything put away and to figure out a way to get his favorite stuff to throw out of his reach.
But in my overwhelmed state, the only thing I manage to do is watch helplessly while I think about all the work I have to do in addition to picking up everything Leon just threw on the floor.
who has time for deep cleaning?
The daily stuff, like dishes and laundry, are usually all I let myself think about, but in the back of my subconscious is the great weight of true house keeping : scrubbing windows and window sills, scrubbing the bathroom, the toilet (ok, I’ll be honest, cleaning the bathroom at all), washing the cars, scrubbing the stains off the kitchen floor, dusting, etc.
I sweep and mop, but I haven’t done any deep cleaning since we moved-in (yikes, a year ago).
Is a maid the solution to my messy house?
So I started to think about hiring a maid. Perfect solution, right? After all, I have twins! And an 18-month old! If anyone needs a maid, it’s me, right? I posted on Facebook that I was thinking of hiring a maid to see if anyone had any contacts. A few people gave me references, many said I should go ahead and do it, but one person, my old farming mentor and zen teacher, lectured me! More on that later.
I also googled it. I typed in, “should i hire a maid”, as if i were seeking counsel from a close friend. Most links were positive, saying that once you do it, you’ll love it. Like Mother, Like Daughter was against it. I clicked around her blog and loved her view on just about everything related to mothering and housekeeping. In regards to cleaning the house she says,
“Why do you waste time being bitter about having this responsibility?
Because you’re so highly educated? Because you used to be an executive? Because your mom should help you? Because you could be earning a big salary if, if, if….? Because your girlfriends don’t have to?
Let’s just see. If you are home today and your house is dirty and no one is coming to clean it in an hour, then you have to deal. It’s as simple as that.”
Meanwhile I was talking it out with Carlos, who was also against it. His opposition didn’t make any sense to me, after all, we hire help in the garden, and Carlos hires help in construction. As a society, we hire teachers to teach most of our kids, and doctors to cure us. We buy tools and clothing. What’s the difference between all of those things and hiring a cleaning person?
Besides, I thought, having help will help me do all those things I want to do and I’ll have more time to play with my children. Surely this is a good thing, right?
Making time by cutting back
Farm Mentor-Zen Teacher says I should try to do less not more, so “you can enjoy what you have on hand as opposed to seeking other things that are not a part of you, [because] as you seek these other things your essence will be spread round thinner and thinner.”
(I knew he was right! Find satisfaction in the little things, the everyday things, the moment. Or in zen terms, “right here right now”!)
Because really, if I had more time to do what I want to do, wouldn’t I just end up on Facebook, ignoring my children?
Changing our perspective on house-keeping
While talking it out with Carlos, I came to the conclusion that the difference between hiring help in the garden, or buying clothes and tools, versus hiring a housekeeper is that our home is our personal space, filled with our energy and our love and it is our responsibility/duty/joy (if we have the right attitude) to love it and take care of it.
As Farm Mentor-Zen Teacher said, “Because it is YOUR home, it is you, what you are, who you are. In every dish, fork, spoon, sheet, pillow, meal, cleansing, it is your soul, your sacred environment, created by you to ensure your wholeness to the universe through your own home. Once you hire someone to come between you and this sacredness, you begin to lose touch with the passion, the warmth, and the feeling of love you inspire to your surroundings”.
Wow. I was really only thinking about the question in terms of economics: can we afford to hire a maid? Is it worth it to hire a maid? And then it became a spiritual thing.
I read a book about Amish people and there was a story about an Amish woman whose church loosened the regulations and decided to allow washing machines. Her husband asked her if she wanted one, and she said no because she uses her time washing to pray for her children, and why would she want less time to pray for her children?
That’s a different way of looking at things.
Putting it into Practice
On Tuesday I deep-cleaned the bedroom. Leon helped me wash the walls! A bucket of water and a scrub brush is like heaven for Leon. So, rather than take time from my children, cleaning gave us something to do together.