Hiring a Maid

When our son first was born we quickly discovered that one of his quirks was that he didn’t like sleeping all that much.  No.  He would sleep for a while but only the bare minimum required of his age and even then he’d often wake up at intervals for feedings. (I nursed him until he was two years old).  Naturally, we didn’t sleep much and definitely not well.

When he was awake he was a little tornado of curiosity and energy that roamed all around our apartment and unless something was too high for his reach or nailed to the wall it rarely stayed in one place for long.

As he started eating solid food things escalated quickly out of control.  It was not uncommon to be dashing in a state of almost total perpetual exhaustion down the hall with newly folded laundry to hide from him (and put away) while he proceeded to dissect and throw his dinner all over the sofa and living room carpet (for further experimentation). And of course, the moment you tried to clean up his scattered dinner after correcting him he would run down the hall into the bedroom with the newly folded laundry, unfold it and throw it around the room. But I should point out again that he wasn’t naughty so much as curious…

When our son turned two I recognized that we needed help. We couldn’t do it all alone.

For a while we hired someone to watch our son for a few hours a day.  I slept and started blogging, collecting perfumes more passionately (I started collecting more than my regular six or seven in 2014) and joined the online fragrance community.   However, when he’d return home things would still go to chaos and when he was gone it was a constant debate about whether to clean or sleep.  Sleep often won.

So, I researched the best local maid services in the area and found a company that paid their workers a real living wage and not just minimum wage, and that used earth friendly cleaning products.  They were slightly more expensive but I reasoned that if the employees were happier and didn’t have to use caustic, potentially health damaging products daily it would be ultimately worth it.

When the representatives from the cleaning company came for an interview it was slightly embarrassing because our apartment was in its usual state of total disorder.  Yet, they were kind and we set up a plan for a maid to come once a week every week for at least six months with the first couple of appointments lasting longer to establish order.

In the following months our apartment went from an anxiety producing state of disaster to one of relative calm.  We slept better (when we could sleep) and our son seemed to also enjoy the new found status quo.  It was a heavenly change (especially coupled with hiring someone to take care of him for a few hours too).

Occasionally the maid would make requests or offer advice for various things to buy to organize a closet or declutter a counter here or a shelf there.  And when we stuck with that advice it always paid off.

Sadly though, we discontinued our maid when we moved to Seattle and since then we haven’t felt the need to hire one as our son grew older and slept better.  But there are times I’ve wondered if we might again in the future…

But either way, it was extremely worth it.  Every penny.

Now…I think something needs to be said at this point about the ideas some people have about hiring a maid service.  Oftentimes people have this idea that maids are too posh and expensive for most and it’s silly to hire them…  And while it wasn’t inexpensive per se, relatively speaking it wasn’t exactly terrifying either.  Imagine buying a couple of new “high end” bottles of perfume every month (bottles over $200) and then buying a couple more here or there for materials and tips.   While it was luxurious it never felt excessive…

We actually saved money in resources we would have used to deal with the stress of an apartment house that was impossible to tame.   So, where we would have spent money on Starbucks for me or take-out from a local restaurant for dinner (if we were too tired to cook but didn’t want to give in and eat fast food) we could direct those resources towards our maid.

Of course, I know some people who refuse to even consider hiring a maid even though they could easily afford one (a lot of people in my family).  And I know other people who have hired a maid, nanny, cook, and gardener all at once (people in Mark’s family).   What people are willing to spend and how they feel about it varies wildly…

But really, it was life changing for us in a very good way.  And if you are totally overwhelmed by your abode and want a lovely change perhaps consider cutting back on buying perfume, eating out and/or buying coffee and/or etc. and use that money for a maid.

Of course, I’d firmly suggest using a company that treats its employees with dignity, uses environmentally friendly cleaning products and I’d make sure to tip your maid every once and while just to show that you truly do appreciate their work.  Also, be prepared to keep your real valuables locked away.  And have standards that you expect to be met but be reasonable in your expectations too.

We had one experience that was unpleasant with some china and I think it could have been avoided if we had been more careful. But I have nothing bad to say about how well our maids cleaned. It always looked infinitely better, if not delightful after they cleaned.   It smelled better too…

Still, regardless of how lovely things look, how nice your maid is and what a part of the family they sometimes seem to be when they’re visiting your home, don’t try to become friends with your maid.  Be friendly and respectful but don’t think you’ll actually end up chatting over coffee someday or going shopping together.

One maid we had almost became a real friend (until we lost touch when we moved) but that’s not the norm and it shouldn’t be expected.   She was an exception and perhaps we just could have been friends in general so it wasn’t actually odd…   And of course, I knew intellectually at the time that I was probably talking too much while they cleaned and should shut up but it was way too easy to chat while they were there.  After we left for Seattle and I did some further thinking I started to feel a bit embarrassed when I looked back at it all.  Of course, again, it ended well with one person (the one who almost became like an actual, genuine friend) but it was perhaps a mistake with the other person.  Lesson learned.

Anyway…  Perhaps you already have a maid and could offer advice of your own.  But this is my two cents worth…