About a week before Caelyn was born, we had a belly photo shoot with Peter Schroeder, who did our shoot when I was pregnant with Emma. We decided to do it at our house, as he only had an afternoon and not much equipment. When we arranged it, he asked me if my house was clean. I said yet. Then it got me thinking. What exactly is clean? Because clean means wildly different things to different people. There’s tidy, clean, spotless, and immaculate. Usually my house is clean, sometimes only tidy, and rarely spotless. C’mon, I have a toddler! Well, when Peter came over, I was worried in the back of my mind that it wouldn’t be clean enough (like the baseboards and plants are a little dusty, or the windows aren’t sparkly). But he said it was great. He called it "executive clean". I am guessing that it means neat and tidy with no major dirt or messes visible. Then I started hard-core nesting and I was proud to say that my house was spotless, perhaps even immaculate, before Caelyn was born.
And then she was born. Knowing what it takes to take care of a newborn, and adding that to taking care of a toddler, I assured myself that it was ok to let the house go a bit, and warned John about the slow state of chaos that was sure to ensue over the next few weeks. Seriously, after John went back to work, I considered it a good day if I got us all dressed and fed and managed a load of laundry and the dishes. Caelyn’s coming on 7 weeks now, and I’m starting to look around and miss my regular cleaning routine and spotless house. I think the best present you can give a new mom is maid service. Either offer to do some cleaning/cooking yourself or give her a cleaning service for 2 or 3 hours. I would like to hire cleaners 1 time for about 4 hours to come in and clean so that I can maintain the cleanliness day to day. And I mean once. Not like a regular thing, although that would be nice too. But as a dear person just told me, chores are just not that hard. Thanks. That makes me feel like I’m a failure. Because it’s just a baby, and just a 2 year old, a just a small house, it shouldn’t be that hard. Other people do it, you should be able to as well. Let’s face, not really the kind of thing you should say to a not-even-7 week post-natal mom with a tendancy towards mood swings and genetic predisposition for depression. Because seriously, finding a chunk of time to clean the bathrooms, fridge or windows is not happening right now. I’m either feeding Caelyn, cooking for and feeding myself and Emma, getting people dressed or changed, or doing laundry or dishes. That doesn’t leave much time for cleaning. I barely get the kitchen swept. Once in awhile I manage to scrub a toilet while Emma’s on her potty. If the kids are awake and happy, why wouldn’t I want to spend time with them? And then when the kids are down (not that Caelyn has a regular bedtime yet) it’s my few minutes of time to myself. So I’m here for 15 minutes checking email and blogging instead of cleaning a toilet. C’mon, wouldn’t you?
So here’s what I want you to do – leave me your comments on this. Do you think it’s better to:
1. Hire someone to come in a do one big clean for a few hours
2. Hire a babysitter so I can do a major whole house clean one day
3. Not hire anyone and ignore my kids so I can clean
3. Not hire anyone and spend our evenings and weekends cleaning
4. Ignore it all and live in squalor
5. Sell the house and live in a tent
I’m curious to know what you think and what you’ve done. Did you have family/friends do it for you or help you? Did you do it yourself? Did you hire someone? Do you have a regular cleaning routine now or have cleaners come in once in awhile? Does your husband help you? When did you feel like your house was back in order?
Looking forward to hearing from you!