The Cleaning Lady Heist

My wonderful husband did something so sweet.  He planned for me to have a cleaning and organizing helper for the day! 

Let me first say, I’ve never professed to be an exceptional maintainer of cleanliness–I blame my ADD.  And, since child number four came along, our house has taken a complete nosedive.

I’m not content with the condition of our residence, but I’ve accepted it.  I can close the door on the laundry room mountain.  I can throw any random thing into our overstuffed miscellaneous drawer.  I know things will get better.  Apparently, my husband was more anxious to have the “better” come sooner.

I should have been grateful!  I was not.  I could think of several alternative uses for that money.  Also, if I have someone to assist me with cleaning and the house is still not beauteous, then I am extra responsible…uhg.

So, the hour of the cleaning lady was nearing and I was stressed.  I can’t have a messy house when someone is coming to clean!!!  Yet, I just couldn’t get it lovely enough in time.  The lady arrived.  I had a sudden moment of panic when she inquired what she could do.  I didn’t want her to start with anything too disgusting.   I ended up having her help with some deeper cleaning, then mostly work on the kitchen.

 I also cleaned while she worked and got to know her a bit.  My helper turned out to be quite amiable.  She mentioned that several of her former employers had commented on what a slow worker she was.  “I’m just thorough.” she told me.  Now that she brought it up, I noticed, she was slow!

Luckily, my kids were there to help.  My 7-year-old started smearing window cleaner on the windows with her hands.  The baby made numerous attempts to dive into the woman’s cleaning bucket.  My 3-year-old sporadically sprayed the walls with water.  All the while, my stranger-wary 5-year-old daughter stared the cleaning lady down.  We needed to get out of the house!

With a couple hours of cleaning assistance to go, I told her I had a few errands to run and asked if she could help with the pantry while I was gone.  “No problem,” she cheerily replied.

I had a little trepidation about leaving her alone in my house, but we just don’t have any exciting stuff to steal.  I payed her in advance with a generous tip and left. 

Upon my return, the amiable woman and her check were gone, the pantry untouched.  When my expectant husband arrived home the house looked, remarkably, about the same as he had left it.  No miracles today.

Thankfully, I doubt we’ll be investing in more outside cleaning help anytime soon.   Though, I think I’ll start charging.

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Day: Continue teaching my children the joys of cleaning.


  1. Samantha says:

    Yea, it's a bit overwhelming when a stranger is let into your home to straighten things up. As well, you feel like you have to have things "just so" before they get started – which kind of defeats the purpose somewhat because it begs the question: if you are going to go to the extent of getting everything cleaned up first, then why even bother?? I just wrote about the silliness of cleaning up before your cleaning lady gets there:

  2. ladydazy says:

    OMG – what a crazy cleaning lady, taking your money then running. That was a nice thought from your husband. I blame my ADD on my bad not-cleaning habits too. It's hard with ADD – I have to do one room at a time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. GrumpyJaxMomOf3 says:

    I'm so out of luck no ADD to blame here….. Hmmm I have 3 kids I could blame, or my mom and dad (I consider this pay back), or maybe I can blame my laziness…. I prefer the term tired, but who am I kidding ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I'll make you a deal.. I'll come clean, but you have to have all the kids… So, what do you think??

  4. Shelley says:

    I.Hate.Cleaning!! I am supposed to be packing up this house and that is not happening either. But to take your money and not complete the job, just disgusting. I am with you on getting the kids in on it! Today I am thinking about throwing out all of the toys ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. How frustrating!!! One of the saddest days of my life was when we let the cleaning service go! I loved having some help!!! But, what you experinced would drive me crazy and make me swear off cleaning help forever! Very clever husband!!! Lol!! I hate cleaning too! Happy Saturday!

  6. I would have such a hard time having someone come in and help too. I'd probably clean the whole house before she got there!

  7. That is really just sad. I am sorry that lady was so terrible and you didn't get a clean house after all.

  8. Mom of 12 says:

    Every time my sweetie suggests a cleaning lady I assume that means I'm not doing my job…not that he really loves me and just wants to help me have a better, happier (cleaner) life. I'd say you handled it remarkably well! I hope it didn't cost you too much…

  9. I didn't mind cleaning before I had 5 kids to mess it up right behind me. I'm too cheap to hire someone to do it for me though. I'm supposed to be cleaning today, but I'm online. Hmmm.

  10. just me... says:

    I have a cleaning lady come once a week to clean the bathrooms and floors. I used to have her do the kitchen, but having her helped so much that I don't need as much help anymore. Her true worth is when I run around like crazy getting everything ready for her. I honestly don't like telling people that I have one because I feel like it's admitting how bad I am at cleaning, like I am a failure at being a woman. But we were not all made from the same cookie cutter. Everyone has different strengths and keeping things clean is just not one of mine.

  11. Rachael says:

    So I guess having a cleaning lady isn't all it's maid out to be? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Sorry I just couldn't resist.

    I am the same way. I really can't have people help me because I am not organized enough to direct them and I get all stressed and distracted. It ends up being a much worse hassle than help.

  12. OK! That's it! Where do you live? I'll come clean, for free! …ok, I should tell you, you've already PAID me in advance with this witty blog you write each day! I LOVE your thoughtful husband-you've gotta give him credit for trying. So, what they say is true…cobwebs will keep, you only get to be a (grumpy) mom of those little kids for such a short time- they are more important than a spotless house. You notice I didn't say clean. Cleanliness is next to Godliness; but no need to be freaky about it. If my kids read this they would say I DON't practice what I preach. I just HAD to have everything perfect…looking back-I wish I would have let the 'cobwebs' stay there. Good luck. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. laughwithusblog says:

    Oh what a nightmare! To think I've been wishing for a little help with the house…

  14. debisblog says:

    I've battled all the feelings and perspectives I've seen in these comments. On assignment with the military in Turkey we had the opportunity to have 'help'. On one hand it was HEAVEN!!! For about $20 a day (this was more $$ than secretaries and tellers made!) we had a lovely lady come and scrub the house from top to bottom including doing all the ironing! On the other hand… we had to deal with all the issues of finding someone honest, of wanting to clean before she came, and for me dealing with feeling guilty at how much faster she was at doing the work that I was. Of course, I'm faster at other peoples' houses too! I know for me, I picked up after myself better when I knew someone else would be in to clean. It took a few weeks to get used to, but I learned to love it!

  15. parentwin says:

    I with I could try a cleaning lady! I bet I'd have the same results, though. It'd look…the same. LOL

  16. Stephanie says:

    I couldn't have handled it! I'd freak. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was definitely a nice thought though!

  17. jordan @ mean mommy academy says:

    Are you serious?! That stinks worse than my toilets (at the present moment, and yet, here I am on the internet instead of over there cleaning them). I need a cleaning army, not just one lady…

  18. The Suburban Princess says:

    Wow. Sounds like she was no help whatsoever.

    I wish I could get a cleaning lady. And a nanny.

  19. Kristen says:

    to me, a cleaning lady is like a visit to the spa…I feel guilty about the money that it would take to get anything noticable done. Also, the basic wouldn't "be enough"…I want the whole package and before long, it would look the same again.
    Have a great Sunday-

  20. Oh my word! How frustrating! ( and funny, sorry lol) Sorry it didn't work out. I've never hired outside help and after this, I'm sort of glad about that ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Hello! I'm Kate. says:

    We had a housekeeper who brought her niece to help clean her houses. The niece stole a ring my parents gave me & she stole $1000 in cash from my mom.

    She also robbed a friend's house & stole over 5k in jewelry.

    Yeah, that was the end of our housekeeper days!

  22. Sandra's Fiberworks says:

    I fired my cleaning people after I realized they clean as superficially as I do. Yes, just stuff it in a drawer and voila, we're clean! :)) My big thing actually is baskets — they're all over the house. Clutter baskets. If my husband can't find something I tell him to look in a basket. The clutter is confined to the baskets, but all counters are clear!

  23. Mo 'Betta says:

    I can't believe she did such a terrible job!! How annoying. I can relate, I would feel weird for someone to come in and clean b/c I'd think they were thinking "ewww, she nasty!" But I'm willing to give it a try!

  24. Grumpy Grateful Mom says:

    I should clarify. She was helpful, just not for the time she spent.

    I'm sure there are a lot of honest and efficient cleaning people out there.

    I don't think anyone should ever feel guilty for needing help. We all have such different strengths.

    One reader sent an email telling me how her weekly cleaning made a huge difference and also motivated her to get the house clean.

    So, I've had a change of heart. Maybe I will not completely rule it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. That's terrible! I have a friend who cleans for some extra income, and I'd hire her if I could ever bring myself to hire "help!" I've always wished for a maid, but wouldn't feel right spending the money. And yeah, like someone mentioned, the house will look the same as before in just a few short days! I've never spent money on a spa for the same reason. Now gourmet coffee… there's my vice. =)

  26. Laura@livingabigstory says:

    Thx for another laugh …. and to know I'm not completely alone in my disorder ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Jessica says:

    I gave up on cleaning a long time ago so we hired a housekeeper to come every other week. It is great but I do leave the house when they are here. You should try it again.

  28. Charlotte says:

    I once had my husband hire a cleaning lady to help me out. Then he forgot to tell me and some stranger showed up on my doorstep while he was out of town. I've never been able to bring myself to hire someone since.

  29. I can't believe she didn't clean the pantry!!

  30. The one time I had a cleaning lady, it went about the same. Only she did well the first couple of weeks. Then one day she came, took the check, but didn’t clean anything. Said she was sick (but yet well enough to come take the check) AND had the nerve to tell me she’d clean for half-price next time. OMG. She did not come back. Oh, and then she actually had some people call me for references. Never bothered to hire another cleaning lady!

  31. Ha! Oh boy…that’s a shame. Maybe your husband should check her references next time? I think I would have tracked her down and demanded your generous tip back!
    It’s hard to keep the house in order with four kids…I find myself drowning in laundry sometimes.

  32. That is crazy! I have been “wanting” a cleaning lady…just for the big things…like baseboards and all those crazy things that I never seem to get to…but then I think, oh my I would really have to clean before they got here. ๐Ÿ™‚

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