The case for a cleaning service


When we were about to move into our house three years ago, I mentioned to Matt that I wanted to see if we could afford a cleaning service. He immediately poo-pooed the idea saying that we could handle keeping the house clean on our own. I let it go – mostly because I knew that time would probably change his tune. After all, we were doubling our square footage and we were trying to have a baby.

I got pregnant the first month we lived in our house and our son was born 40 weeks to the day after our closing date - on his due date. (Seriously, is that some excellent timing or what?) It’s also a lot of change in a very short period of time. Because setting up and organizing our new house was such a time-consuming job, we really never got into a routine of chores prior to Brandon’s birth. We tended to do massive cleaning days to get the house ready for company and the in-between times were spent unpacking, organizing and preparing for Brandon’s arrival. Of course, since Brandon’s birth we’ve relaxed our standards for cleanliness a lot.

One of the things we did when we moved into our house was to start a list of all the little things that we have realized we would have liked to have in this house or things that don’t work as well as we thought in this house. We intend to use said list if and when we move to a new home in the future. It includes items like “paint with a color”, because we didn’t and we’re officially tired of staring at off-white walls for three years. Who cares if the paint is like primer? At least you have color on your walls. For anal types like Matt and I, we want to take our time to find the right color that we’re going to end up with. We also don’t want to try to squeeze painting in to a short time frame that doesn’t allow us to get it done right. So far, since we’ve got Brandon around keeping us busy, there is no time to paint – yet. If we’d had our builder use color – even at an inflated cost – at least we wouldn’t feel like chumps for not having color on the walls.

At one point, I made a suggestion to be added to the list; it was that we should go with a smaller tub and get a fiberglass shower stall in the next house – both would be easier to clean. Without even thinking about it, Matt said no. His reasoning is that what we have is so nice, my suggestion is a downgrade in his opinion. He keeps the list so my suggestion isn’t on there. But he did finally come around to my way of thinking about having a cleaning service. I didn’t even have to try to convince him. After Brandon was born, it quickly became clear that doing everything ourselves was not easy and it only got worse once we were both back at work full time.

This year, we both took a week off to do spring cleaning and work on various projects that we don’t have enough time to do on the weekends. Honestly, even though it sounds like a lame way to spend your vacation from work, I quite like it because we’re able to get such a huge amount done in a very short period. In fact, this is the second year we’ve done this. But it did get me thinking about that cleaning service again – particularly when I was toiling away in the master ensuite.


The ensuite is one of my favorite rooms in my house. It’s large, has a nice layout and I love everything we selected for it. We attempted to go with a bit of luxurious, but modern and minimalist style in the ensuite. Our big splurge is the tub (some would say it’s actually a small pool). Our original ensuite design included a corner tub but I don’t really care for them. They’re also a little on the small side if your husband is 6’4” and wants to be able to stretch his legs out when he’s relaxing in the tub. So, our builder searched high and low for the biggest tubs they could get and we selected the one we liked best. We also have a beautiful corner shower that has floor-to-ceiling tiles in it.

You probably know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

They are a pain to clean! I can’t even reach the back of the tub without practically falling in. So, I climb onto the deck and contort my legs to be able to get the leverage needed to scrub the tub and also keep from slipping or falling in. There’s a list of reasons the shower is challenging. The floor-to-ceiling tile is at the top of the list. And though the shower is rather large, the shower can’t be running while the door is open without spraying the floor. So, I usually take my cleaning supplies in when I go to have a shower, clean the shower and then me. Not fun times.

Truthfully, I don’t actually mind cleaning house. It’s cathartic and when I’m done, I always feel better to see things clean and neat. It’s no longer as high a priority as it used to be, but I haven’t stopped wanting a clean house. Therefore, I have to compromise. Either I lower my standards or I have to get help to meet my standards. I’ve decided I want to get help and maintain my standards. So, when I have a permanent job again, that’s what we’ll do. In the meantime, the house will just have to be less clean. Frankly, it’s more fun hanging out with Brandon than it is cleaning tubs and toilets anyway. It may seem like a waste when I can do the work myself, but if my time is better spent with my family, I won’t hesitate to get help with the cleaning bits to be able to arrange my priorities the way I want them.