Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why I Don't Have A CL

At a Shabbos meal this week, a friend of mine asked about my Cleaning Lady situation. I actually found myself feeling somewhat embarrassed that I do not have a CL at all.

 99% of the time, I am the CL, the exception being when I return from an out-of-town trip to my parents, or when I come back from an out-of-town concert trip.

Now let me preface all this by saying that I was (partially) raised by the loving hands of a woman named Frida that worked for my parents for over 20 years. She is like a family member and all of us living out of town still call her regularly. She taught me so much about housekeeping;

Srub pots with ajax to keep them shiny,

Leave ironing till the end (cuz once you start you can't stop),

Line the bottom of the garbage can with paper towel to absorb leaks,

Leave extra plastic bags in the bathroom garbage cans so you can easily switch to a new one...

the list goes on and on (I am trying to remember much much more but I am love HER, not the actual CLEANING.)

She cared about us like we were her own children and flew in for a week for my brother's wedding this summer. I was more nervous about hosting her than my mother. I ironed the sheets, polished the silver and dusted the light fixtures in her honor. I also left a towel and chocolates on her (freshly pressed) duvet clover. Needless to say it was an honor to have her stay by me and I love her dearly. (She brought me a gorgeous crystal pitcher as a present. Toiveled. Need I say more??)

So clearly I had a very positive experience with housekeepers. But still I personally do not want one and here is why:

(This list refers to my personal experiences with CLs. Please don't feel this is a dig on the special woman in your life-I understand your relationship and I am not trying to challenge it.)

I am a SAHM. I am blessed to have more than enough time for housekeeping. (I use the term blessed loosely here.)

I clean better and faster. It takes the CL almost an hour to scrub down a bathroom and I find myself wondering "what is she DOING in there?")  I can do it more thoroughly in 15 minutes (thanks to the Magic Eraser).

I am too nice. It makes me uncomfortable to have another person doing my dirty-work and I overcompensate by offering the CL food and Starbucks runs every hour.

The mistakes. A cousin of mine had her silver candelabra de-shined with a vigorous scrub down with steel wool. Of course, I could keep an eye out but I don't want to babysit the CL.

The inconsistency. I had one woman for a few weeks after I broke my hand a couple winters ago, and just when I started to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with her, she told me she was pregnant and was going back to Peru to have her baby.  I have scheduled CLs for some big Shabbosim and spent the entire morning wondering if I used the wrong Spanish word for Saturday.

I am paranoid. Whenever something goes missing for even a minute, I worry maybe the CL 'borrowed' it. And I don't like feeling like that at all.

I would rather spend the money on something else. There is just so much extra stuff I desire, that I am motivated to get the work done myself so that I can feel guilt-free ordering yet another photo book. (One morning of cleaning or a gorgeous photo book that I will have forever? Easy choice there!)

I don't want it for my children. It's easy to fall into a habit of running out for a minute (and then 5 and then an hour), while the CL 'watches' the children. I believe in the good in people but the stories go on and on and on. Plus I want to teach them that Mommy works hard(ish) to keep the house clean and they should appreciate it by washing the floors themselves once in a while.

I have leverage. Seriously, if I had a CL what would I complain to my husband about?

Did I miss anything?

 I am not too proud to admit I make this house shine, both spiritually AND physically. And it doesn't have to be perfect either.

"It's no big deal if I can't find the keys to my car
Leaving dishes over night 'aint a crime.
If you think you'd do better
Well you got big shoes to fill
I'm a woman and I'm perfect by design."

Get it here.

Now if you'll excuse me. I have a Cholent pot to scour.

Have a great Sunday.


  1. Bless you. I'm single and I live at home, and my mother doesn't have a CL for the same reasons as you! If anyone finds out they are horrified; but, seriously, is a CL really necessary for everyone? Plus, when shopping, Ma always says: "I don't have a cleaning lady. I can buy whatever I want." That money really adds up!

    Plus, the IRS has now decided to go after people who pay for illegal cleaning help, since the cash they are paid with isn't reported. They are thirsty for taxes.

    I just scrubbed out my bathroom, and I feel accomplished and rich. :)

  2. Hi Chana'le,

    It's Sara R. from MB. I followed a link on your mother's blog that led me to your site. What a delight it was to see! I don't know what I'm going to do . . . I just can't take another blog upon myself to visit regularly, since I really do have a life . . . but this tugs at me. Keep up your great work and best of luck in EVERYTHING!

    All the best.

  3. I have another reason--they use loads of cleaning supplies and water. I simply cringe as they pour bucket after bucket into the toilet. I have a post about it here:
    My kids aren't little anymore and I've recently stepped up my cleaning efforts (I can't understand why exactly, but ever since Pesach gunk annoys me).I was thrilled that my friend, whose son's brit I hosted yesterday, said my house was spotless! Far from true especially today, but still nice to hear. Of course, I will probably never be satisfied. Sigh.

  4. I like ur list of reasons most of them made me laugh but some are really so true!!!

  5. Did you disable comments on your latest post or am I blind?

  6. I relate so much to this! Wish I didn't have to work - or I'd be in your boat, happily scrubbing :) You forgot one thing, btw - you have to clean for the cleaning lady! :) Look forward to a post on this topic soon!

  7. It is okay! I wouldn't have a cleaner for the longest time, until I stumbled upon a cleaning business last week and found it to be very helpful. I think many should look into it because Shining Knight Cleaning has the skills, people, equipment and experience to perform the duties you need them to. They save you a lot more time. Enjoy and have a great day!