To (privately) disapprove of my friend having a cleaner

(537 Posts)
Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 16:08:54

Ok. This may be long, but I will do my best to explain where I am coming from. My friend has a cleaner and I privately disapprove. I would never make an issue of it to her, or even bring it up. It was brought up by another friend when we were at her place for drinks. She was a bit hmm about it, and it led to a big discussion, but I didn't say anything committal. I do recognise that she can hire a cleaner if she likes. If she likes she can hire a troupe of jugglers and have them juggle in her kitchen all day, if she likes. It's none of my business, I get that.

But I still privately disapprove. AIBU?

Her cleaner comes to her two bedroom flat twice a week and gives it a full clean, and that apparently includes hoovering all carpets and upholdstry, dusting all surfaces, polishing wood, sweeping and cleaning wooden floor in hall and kitchen, emptying waste bins in the house and taking kitchen bins round the back, cleaning mirrors, cleaning the inside of windows, full clean of the kitchen including inside the fridge, full clean of bathroom. Once a month she also gets the oven cleaned, extractor fan cleaned and polished (!?), cupboards dusted inside and out. She says she pays £45 a week for this.

It's just her in the flat. She doesn't have kids and doesn't live with her bf.

Here's my perspective. People say that having a cleaner is just like hiring any other service provider. But it's not. Domestic cleaners clean intimate, private parts of our houses, and clean up our bodily mess, and it's low paid, low status work. Yes, people hire gardeners and window cleaners, but these are roles which require specialist equipment and insurance, and they only work on the outside and periphery of your home. Yes, I recognise that cleaners are employed in offices I use, cafes I eat in and so on, but it's not really the same either. Most commerical cleaners are employed as staff and so get holiday pay, sick pay, NI etc. Agency workers don't have it so good, and I disagree with the terms of their employment too. But domestic cleaners are often paid cash in hand because employers think they are doing them a favour. But they have no holiday, sick pay - what happens if they have an accident in the house they are cleaning in. I know there are some well organised small cleaning companies, but I think they are the exception.

But most of all, I just feel like my friend is just being lazy or thinks she's too good to pick up after herself. If you are elderly or disabled or immobile, then I see nothing wrong with getting the help that you need. Likewise, if you have a busy family, and don't want to be stuck being the person who picks up after everyone else - get the help you need and show the family how much your time costs. But if you have a quiet life and are fit and healthy, I don't see why you think it's ok to have someone over to clean your toilet. I also think that people who say they are so impossibly busy with work that they can't lift a duster once a week really ought to think about cutting back their ft hours, and give others access to the surplus of work they have.

I'm not going to have a go at my friend. But I just don't think it's right.

givemeaclue Mon 29-Apr-13 16:10:31


Why do you care?

D0GWithAYoni Mon 29-Apr-13 16:10:33

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Trill Mon 29-Apr-13 16:12:10


It is only unreasonable to have a cleaner if you:
1 - treat them badly
2 - then go on to complain that you can't afford other things

As long as you treat your cleaner well and can afford to pay (or are happy to make the sacrifices that you make in order to be able to afford it) then there is nothing wrong with it.

UnChartered Mon 29-Apr-13 16:12:15

if i was her i'd worry more about the friends i had, not how i chose to spend my own cash hmm

I am afraid that I think you are being very unreasonable. If she can afford a cleaner, and it frees her up to do other things that she'd prefer doing, then that is absolutely her right. Some people enjoy house work - clearly she isn't one of them, so why should she do something she doesn't enjoy if she can afford to get someone to do it for her?

rubyslippers Mon 29-Apr-13 16:12:37

Jesus that's a loooong post


I don't understand the sneering that goes on about cleaners

Your last sentence about cutting down working hours to have more time to clean made me snort

Thegingerpig Mon 29-Apr-13 16:12:55

Maybe she just doesn't like cleaning? If she can afford it, then why shouldn't she have a cleaner?

Mintyy Mon 29-Apr-13 16:12:55

Did it have to be so long?

I would be concerned if a friend of mine thought her flat needed to be cleaned so thoroughly.

Oh and yes yabu.

Trill Mon 29-Apr-13 16:13:24

I also think that people who say they are so impossibly busy with work that they can't lift a duster once a week really ought to think about cutting back their ft hours, and give others access to the surplus of work they have.

This is ridiculous. Why would it be better to have someone else paid to do my job, and for me to do dusting, than to pay someone to do dusting and I'll get on with my job?

Alligatorpie Mon 29-Apr-13 16:14:40

I have a cleaner - she is wonderful. I love coming home to a clean house. And I don't give a shit what you think.

Tee2072 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:14:44



So what if she is being lazy, its not like she is asking you to clean her flat. confused

givemeaclue Mon 29-Apr-13 16:15:09

You also sound a bit jealous

Oh, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeee

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 16:15:17

YANBU, I agree with you.

Is this a wind up? confused

musickeepsmesane Mon 29-Apr-13 16:15:41

glad you are not my friend. Are you for real or just stirring?

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 29-Apr-13 16:16:06


Its a good thing her cleaner should be declaring income ad should also be insured.

Your friend is putting money back into the economy.

Get a grip.

Tee2072 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:16:10



Emsmaman Mon 29-Apr-13 16:16:33

YABU. It's her money and I presume she's not standing behind the cleaner whipping her? Also re badly paid - cleaners in London often get £10/11 per hour so more than many office jobs!

The only time I've been judgy about getting a cleaner was when my NCT teacher told us about one of her former students who took out a loan to pay a cleaner when she had the baby. I do get judgy about getting into debt for a luxury and for someone else to be condoning and suggesting it is a good idea to others!

ApocalypseThen Mon 29-Apr-13 16:16:36

I'd be all over that if I could afford it. Having a cleaner do a thorough job twice a week is something she wants to spend her own money on. If she treats her cleaner properly and adds to her enjoyment of life, why not?

Would you like her to give you the money instead or something?

KellyElly Mon 29-Apr-13 16:16:40

If you don't like cleaning/can't be arsed/have better things to do than clean and you can afford a cleaner you hire one. I don't see your point at all. YABU.

JakeBullet Mon 29-Apr-13 16:16:51

YABU, I really really struggle with housework despite being a SAHM currently. I would LOVE a cleaner and would employ one if I could afford it.

Groovee Mon 29-Apr-13 16:16:57

confused I think you need to find a hobby to stop you overthinking your poor friend.

UnChartered Mon 29-Apr-13 16:17:23

could this be one of those reverse AIBUs?

OP, you know a heck of a lot about how much the cleaner does...

EMS23 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:17:39

That's an odd moral ground you occupy. Are you lonely up there?!

rubyslippers Mon 29-Apr-13 16:18:13

What go your acronyms mean tee?

Dawndonna Mon 29-Apr-13 16:18:19

Gosh, you must be bored. Oh, and I feel sorry for your friend, she's probably unaware of just how judgemental a cow you are.

forevergreek Mon 29-Apr-13 16:18:24

We have a cleaner. It's a one bed ( with children). We pay £15 per hr, which I don't think is a pittance. 6 hrs is £90, many people don't get £90 for a full days work let alone half a day.

She does the things we don't have time for, there's no shit cleaning as we aren't in the habit of leaving shit all over the place!

Deadhamsterssmell Mon 29-Apr-13 16:18:39


Why does it bother you so much? Presumably the cleaner is free to leave if she finds this work to beneath her. Have you ever thought that some people are happy in their jobs as domestic cleaners?

tomatoplantproject Mon 29-Apr-13 16:18:39

Yabu. It is up to your friend to make a decision about how she spends her money and the terms/hours that she has arranged with her cleaner. If she takes great pleasure in having a clean house why should she not pay someone else to do it?

For info I have a cleaner. I have also been a cleaner back in my youth so am perfectly capable of keeping a clean house if i have the time. I have a 6mo and I had naively assumed I would have plenty of time when she napped during the day to clean. She doesn't nap and I spent my days stressing about how I could carve 15 minutes out to eg clean the bathroom and constantly seeing all the dirt. We have the money to hire a cleaner and I pay her a 'fair' rate for the hours she does (well over min wage). It makes a difference to me and is worth the money.

Personally I would think twice a week if you live on your own a bit much, but I would be far judgier of her if she lived in a complete pigsty.

YABU and judgemental.

Manchesterhistorygirl Mon 29-Apr-13 16:19:12

I have a cleaner, she is glad of the cash and I am glad of the time she frees up and having a clean house. You are being unreasonable, ludicrously so.

Your friend may work very hard and also appreciate having a clean house and I'm damn sure her cleaner is very glad of the money.

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 16:19:36

It's not a wind up. I'm not stirring.

I am a good friend and would never do or say anything judgemental to my friend or try and make her feel bad. That's why I'm trying to explore my inner reservations about this on MN. Sorry the post was so long.

I just can't shake the feeling that picking up and cleaning up after yourself is one of life's levellers. I don't see why someone should feel their time is so special that they can farm it out to someone for a few quid an hour, and not be concerned about that person's other work/income.

And yes, I do believe that if more people with high earning jobs worked fewer hours, then there would be more good work and cash to go around for everybody.

Tee2072 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:19:40

ODFOD = Oh Do Fuck Off Dear
YABU = I think you know this one, ruby grin
TLDR = Too long, didn't read.


Oh, before you go, can I find out where you are, cos my cleaner only comes once a week for £40 so I'd love to know where I can find someone to come twice for £45.

Lj8893 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:19:53


So she has chosen to hire a cleaner and pay them a wage, therefore helping keep this particular cleaner in business?! And this is wrong because....??

kerala Mon 29-Apr-13 16:19:56

Is this thread serious or a joke? DH and I used to work in the City and had really really long hours - often most evenings and at least one day of the weekend. So OP would advocate we should have spent our 1 day off together scrubbing the flat, when we both had very high salaries, rather than pay someone else to do it? Madness.

You've clearly given this a lot of thought.

Thought which could be better employed by doing something else.


Tee2072 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:20:31

I suppose you think the Queen or David Cameron or President Obama pick up after themselves?

What colour is the sky in your world? Is it pretty?

Thepursuitofhappiness Mon 29-Apr-13 16:20:34

Is this a joke??? Of course she is fully entitled to have a cleaner. I think you are doing domestic cleaners a disservice by belittling their work by saying unless you are ill etc you shouldn't get cleaners and talk of them 'cleaning our bodily mess' In these times of high unemployment some people rely on these cleaning jobs for income.

'Give others the surplus work they have'... So you suggest a doctor and a cleaner swap jobs for a few hours a week to redistribute?? Hmm...

She has clearly put a value on her time and decided it is worth it. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.

ouryve Mon 29-Apr-13 16:20:45


It's her business, not yours.

caramelwaffle Mon 29-Apr-13 16:21:09

Well of course you are being unreasonable.

Reverse Aibu's are arse-aches - unless the subject matter is funny or a major jest.

mrspaddy Mon 29-Apr-13 16:21:21

I actually think YANBU and if it help to say it here than in RL then what is wrong with that. I do think it is lazy. But I wouldn't tell her that either. I earn a very good salary but love the satisfaction of running my home.. but then I am home early in the and let live and all that. She obviously isn't worried what people think and it's her money.

Caitycat Mon 29-Apr-13 16:21:32

I would love to have a cleaner, I hate cleaning but love having a clean house. I would not be in the least bit worried about what anyone thought about it. I love my job and I love my leisure time and would happily spend the time the cleaner saved me doing more of either activity - no way would I cut back working hours to do a chore that I hate if I could afford to pay someone who was happy to do it for me. Yabvu

HazleNutt Mon 29-Apr-13 16:21:35

YABU and what Trills said. How does it make sense for me to cut down my hours so I can clean myself, a job I don't enjoy? Because the cleaner would be better off unemployed?

"But most of all, I just feel like my friend is just being lazy or thinks she's too good to pick up after herself." And?

Lj8893 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:21:46

Oh and I'm sure the many cleaners of this world wouldn't do the job if they really hated it?

I have many friends who earn a good living cleaning, and they enjoy it! Shock horror!!!

UnChartered Mon 29-Apr-13 16:22:03



pickledginger Mon 29-Apr-13 16:22:35

So she pays someone a decent amount per hour to clean her flat? Providing regular employment? Damn her.

flippinada Mon 29-Apr-13 16:22:37

I think you have far too much time on your hands.

In the time you've spent fretting about this you could have done something enjoyable or useful.

Bedtime1 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:22:59

Strange. You seem jealous. I'm sure there's loads of things she doesn't approve of with you, one being your attitude.

caramelwaffle Mon 29-Apr-13 16:23:02

Cash on delivery or cash on service does not mean a person does not know their way around a self assessment tax form.

Ledkr Mon 29-Apr-13 16:23:06

Sounds lush. I'd love my house to be that clean.
Are you a little bit well jel do you think?

Op - you have way to much time on your hands!! Do you over-analyse everything?? Life must be really tiring for you!

ilovexmastime Mon 29-Apr-13 16:23:51

YABU. I don't think I've ever seen such a strange post!

Ledkr Mon 29-Apr-13 16:24:16

I also bet she couldn't give a fig whether you care or not as she relaxes in her clean tidy flat grin

Bedtime1 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:24:49

Oh it sounds a great life for her nothing worse than cleaning especially after work. I'm sure you would if you could.

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 16:25:28

oooh my first!

<trumpet fanfare>
<dry ice>
<dancing girls>


pickledginger Mon 29-Apr-13 16:26:02

I really don't think cleaners 'clean up our bodily mess' either. That sounds like a specialist service grin

I don't see why someone should feel their time is so special that they can farm it out to someone for a few quid an hour, and not be concerned about that person's other work/income.

Peresumbly you never eat in a restaurant then? Or buy your clothes from any outlet you aren't 100% cast iron guaranteed is from an ethical source?

YABU, definitely.

I mean, I guess you can't help having those feelings but they are unreasonable. I think you are jealous.
And, you know, some people enjoy cleaning jobs or find it a great way to make some money.

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 16:27:18

This is the first time I've mentioned it to anyone, so I'm not obsessed with it. Like I said, I wanted to mull this over on MN and really think about whether or not IABU. I would also never mention it to my friend, and I recognise it is her choice.

I'm not jealous. I think getting your house cleaned that thoroughly twice a week is a bit excessive, whether you are doing it on your own or paying someone to do it.

I'm not a domestic control freak, nor do I hate cleaning myself.

Empress77 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:27:27

Cleaning isnt necessarily low paid low status work. When I worked as a cleaner it was the highest paid job ive ever had. Its also only low status if people think it so. Plus people can choose to spend their money on whatever they choose. I think people are mad who spend money on fancy cars/i phones/tvs/furniture etc, yet many people think im mad for spending tons of money on my pets or on traveling - we all choose what to spend the money we earn on and its not really anyone elses business.

EasilyBored Mon 29-Apr-13 16:27:31

I would love to have someone come over twice a week and clean. It sounds like heaven. She is employing someone, helping stimulate the economy. YABU and judgy and very odd.

I do have the time to clean, but I would still pay a cleaner if I could because I hate doing it and can't be arsed most of the time.

Icelollycraving Mon 29-Apr-13 16:27:33

Yabu & odd.

caramelwaffle Mon 29-Apr-13 16:27:44

Also - you are not privately disapproving: you are here disapproving.


Mintyy Mon 29-Apr-13 16:28:12

I agree its a bit excessive.

Alwayscheerful Mon 29-Apr-13 16:28:13

We all choose different luxuries in life, cars, meals out, clothes, handbags, shoes, alcohol, clubbing, fresh flowers, waitrose food, days out or holidays. Your friend chooses to keep her home immaculate, her money her choice, perhaps her cleaner loves her job, perhaps your friend sees is as her way to help the economy. What luxuries do you prefer?

pickledginger Mon 29-Apr-13 16:28:56

Cleaning is work. Whether you enjoy it, loathe it or just get on with it, it's something that takes time and effort. What's wrong with assigning a monetary value to that?

UnChartered Mon 29-Apr-13 16:29:10

so, OP

Are YBU?

you've had lots of replies...

Dawndonna Mon 29-Apr-13 16:29:52

You have no idea about her time when you're not there. Many years ago I was a single Mum. Had a six year old. Worked. Was also a local councillor. I used to find myself bleaching the lavatory at 2am. At that point I got a cleaner.
The other point is, it's a myth about people working fewer hours and other people picking up their jobs, eg. more work to go around. Not everyone is qualified/interested/motivated by other peoples work situations.
So, back to the original point, yabu and it's a little worrisome that you have so much time to worry about the situation of others.

ApocalypseThen Mon 29-Apr-13 16:30:26

You're the only one suggesting that cleaning for a fee is demeaning, which I find odd. Disliking housework does not imply that you think it's beneath you, you're putting this attitude from your belief set onto your friend and maybe you've something to consider here.

I think having your house cleaned thoroughy twice a week sounds nice for her to come home to a lovely clean flat so she can have a nice chillax!!

Try and unclench just a bit.

pickledginger Mon 29-Apr-13 16:31:17

Apart from the windows and the fridge that cleaning sounds pretty normal to me.

curryeater Mon 29-Apr-13 16:31:34


1. how do you know she is not concerned about the working life of the cleaner? Maybe she is and it is a very good arrangement for the cleaner.

2. "she does not live with her partner". Oh, so if she did then that would be different, because - why? because there would be more to do, because you can't expect a man to clean?

3. "I just can't shake the feeling that picking up and cleaning up after yourself is one of life's levellers". No it isn't. One class of people is much better than the other at getting out of cleaning: men. If there were an existing status quo where it were generally accepted that every individual do a basic level of personal cleaning, and everyone else did this, and she were a lone individual breaking the rules, then maybe it would be fucking with some sort of social contract. But no such social contract exists. She isn't fucking with anything.

4. Main point (for me). I am actively, ideologically, in favour of the existence of (well-paid, well-treated) domestic cleaners. Not as a necessary evil, not as a guilty secret, but as a Good Thing. Because I think housework should be recognised and paid. The more of it is privately done and economically invisible, the more you reinforce a structure where some people think that fairies wash the socks and others are stuck washing socks at 1 am. Guess which people are which. There will always be households - many households - who cannot afford a cleaner. But pulling cleaning out of the shadows of invisible, free, negligible labour, and into the economic daylight, helps to inform the world that it takes up real time, and it has to be done.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 29-Apr-13 16:31:39

'But most of all, I just feel like my friend is just being lazy or thinks she's too good to pick up after herself.'

Just piss off please.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 29-Apr-13 16:31:55

PS and you're not this woman's friend if you think that of her.

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 16:31:55

<sneaks back sheepishly>

I can say something as well, right?

<ahem> I know loads of people who do what you'd probably deem perfectly acceptable jobs, but freelance. They don't get sick leave or holidays. Why don't you spend all the spare time you clearly have on your hands writing to companies who, say, use freelance IT consultants and tell them how much you disapprove?

And really, it's ok if you have kids, but not otherwise? What a strange rule!! I hope you get as righteous about things that you personally could do something about. Have you checked out the labour conditions behind the manufacture of your white goods, for example?

Tee2072 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:32:22

So, now you know YABU are you willing to take that on board and change your opinion?

bakingaddict Mon 29-Apr-13 16:32:52

Jealousy is never a pretty thing to see....what other things do you resent your friend for and regarding a cleaner having an accident in any house they are cleaning, i'm pretty certain that if it was negligence on the part of the home-owner then they would be able to claim through the home-owners insurance

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 29-Apr-13 16:32:54



I think that you are entitled to feel what you feel about this. I'm sure many people agree with you, deep down.

I think people should know how to clean, in case they have to, and they should probably be tidy enough so that it doesn't impinge on, for example, their work colleagues or their partners.

But if they simply want to prioritise other things above cleaning, and can afford it, then it's not a problem to have a cleaner.

I have had a cleaner for about 10 years but she's gone off on a long holiday so we are doing more now. The increased amount that needs to be done is a good opportunity to teach my DCs how to do things I didn't bother teaching them before.

EuroShaggleton Mon 29-Apr-13 16:33:18

You are being completely unreasonable.

I work full time with unpredictable hours (sometimes 7 days a week, lots of overseas travel and so on). The little free time I have I do not want to spend cleaning and ironing. So I pay someone else to do it. That person has 5 children. No doubt she finds that money useful. I've done this for 10 years and I am very happy with my domestic arrangements.

BTW, unless you only buy pick your own fruit and veg, you are paying people indirectly to do menial tasks for you. Also, do you wash up your own cutlery and crockery when you eat in a restaurant? Thought not. So once again, you are paying indirectly to have that menial task done for you.

HeadFairy Mon 29-Apr-13 16:33:28

I'm quite envious of your friend (though strangely not envious of her choice of friends)

I'd love to have a house that was sparkling and clean and not have to actually do it myself. As it is I'm usually doing housework well in to the evening because I can't afford a cleaner.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 29-Apr-13 16:33:36

Very good points, curryeater, especially the last one. I completely agree.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 29-Apr-13 16:33:38

... my DCs are boys

Abra1d Mon 29-Apr-13 16:34:20

My cleaning job was one of the best paid 'casual' (and I don't use that word lightly) jobs I ever had. It was brilliant. Hard work, though.

TheRainbowsEnd Mon 29-Apr-13 16:34:30

Of course cleaners have insurance. My friend owns a cleaning company, and employs around 10-15 people now - so yes of course she has insurance, very stupid of you to assume that cleaners don't tbh.

Your friend might not like cleaning and would prefer to do other things with her free time? As I'm assuming she works full-time. She is also giving someone else a job.

YABU and extremely snobby.

CMOTDibbler Mon 29-Apr-13 16:34:37


I have a cleaner, and we've talked about the thing that theres some shame in not doing your own cleaning. Her thought is that she likes cleaning, she likes working for herself, and since her clients don't like cleaning this works out very nicely. If she doesn't like someone, she drops them as a client.

She factors in sick and holiday pay into her hourly rate, and has her own insurance in case of accident.

So, is my time worth more than hers? No. But a job I (and dh) hate is turned into someone elses income, and it is therefore a mutually good thing.

Squitten Mon 29-Apr-13 16:34:43


She's using her money to employ someone else to do the jobs she doesn't want to spend her time doing. She gets to live in a sparkly clean house (envy) and doesn't have to worry about it herself. Sounds bloody brilliant! Her cleaner is getting paid well to do a job that she evidently does well.

Whether you think cleaning is demeaning or not is really irrelevant. I assume you must ask for a list of cleaners everywhere you go because I would bet my house on the fact that you've either fed yourself or made use of facilities in places that are cleaned by people who really are exploited.

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Mon 29-Apr-13 16:35:02


for so many reasons

but most importantly because life is too fucking short to clean if you dont want to and can afford to PAY (she's not taking advantage of anyone here) to have it done for you.

also, who the fuck cares?

One of the most judgy OPs I've ever seen on AIBU!!

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 29-Apr-13 16:36:29

Excellent point curryeater

It sort of links to my post though. By having a cleaner and not making my DCs do cleaning for themselves, I was sort of enabling.

(I have always made them clean their own skiddies from the toilet, wipe their own spills and empty and fill the dishwasher though)

MrsSpagBol Mon 29-Apr-13 16:36:45

I just can't shake the feeling that picking up and cleaning up after yourself is one of life's levellers. I don't see why someone should feel their time is so special that they can farm it out to someone for a few quid an hour, and not be concerned about that person's other work/income."

What are you on woman?! Stop superimposing your own views on other people. TBH your post shows that YOU think cleaning is menial work.

Yabvvvvvu and you sound completely jealous. She can spend the moneybshe has earnt any way she wants!!!

CaramelLatte Mon 29-Apr-13 16:37:28

I am a self.employed cleaner..I earn a very decent wage from it as I charge my customers what I am worth. It is not cash in hand, I declare all my earnings, I have insurance, I take my job very sound like you look down on cleaners. I decided to do this to spend more time with my children while they are still young, I will then possibly go back to a "proper" job when they are older.

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 16:37:35

Thanks for your considered reply curryeater. That's given me a really different perspective on things.

And thanks for everyone else's responses too - even the people telling me to piss off, I guess.

I can see that the vast majority of you think IAB(V)U.

But I can also see that this topic seems to have triggered a lot of very strong (maybe disproportionately strong) feelings. Which to me indicates that there might be something else at play here - maybe some other feelings as to where guilt/money/power lie in this exchange.

I agree that it would be totally inappropriate to make an issue of this in rl, but I'm still not totally convinced that my feelings are 100% wrong. Also, thanks to those posters who think IANBU. I am actually surprised how one sided opinions seem to have been.

I'm going to have to ponder what curryeater and others have said

HazleNutt Mon 29-Apr-13 16:38:24

She works hard enough to afford the cleaner, but is still lazy because she does not want to dust herself? Even though I would guess it's quite likely that her job is in fact more difficuly to do than dusting.

curryeater Mon 29-Apr-13 16:38:58

Euroshaggleton, right.

Our lives depend completely on the labour of others but we are squeamish about it because it is being done out of sight.
Which is worse, employing a skivvy on a small wage to wash up, or having a dishwaster manufactured in another country by people on tiny wages? Arguably the latter, because of the environmental impact as well, and because if you could see your skivvy you might at least give them time off if they were sick, or a lovely Christmas box. Patronising, yes - not good enough, no - no substitute for dignity and decent employment rights, no not in the slightest - but face it, these are both ways of not standing over your sink washing every greasy pan yourself.
We don't have cooks but there are people in factories chopping vegetables and making soups and sauces and we don't have to look at them. etc etc, it is endless.

You are saying she is jumped up. You are making a judgement on what women should be able to get away with.

lynniep Mon 29-Apr-13 16:39:03

LOL. YABU. And talking utter b*ll*cks

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 29-Apr-13 16:39:04


I think some of (us) feel a bit guilty.

But I think that's because we are women

lljkk Mon 29-Apr-13 16:40:50

You're being Daft, OP, you don't get it.

My cleaner is not demeaned; she likes cleaning & I'm pants at it. I admire her for being able to make a pleasure out of cleaning.
She has minor LDs and at her age (53) she isn't well-suited to other work.
She LIKES cleaning.
I get paid less doing casual bank staff work so I don't get NI or holiday pay either. Lots of people don't. DH wants to become self-employed so he will only get NI & holiday pay if he takes it out of his own earnings, too.
I have enough other drudge for my liking already, it isn't a moral fibre building exercise to have drudge in ones life.

We have enough money to pay our cleaner who spends it all, back into the economy. It's her choice if she doesn't declare her paltry earnings to Taxman.

kerala Mon 29-Apr-13 16:41:01

I would be fascinated as to whether the OP would feel the same if her friend were male.

A mum at school cleans for other mums because her son has special needs so she needs to be on hand and have a job where she can drop everything if necessary. Cleaning is that job as all her employers totally understand if she suddenly cancels and its fine.

My mothers cleaner had learning difficulties and frankly would not have been able to do any other job, so again was pleased with it.

Also the "don't work long hours so the work can be shared around" naive in the extreme - you obviously have no experience of how high end corporates work.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 16:41:12

If people didn't have cleaners that they could manage without, then there outdo be even less work to go around. Your friend is helping to provide someone with an earned income, how can that not be a good thing?

DoctorRobert Mon 29-Apr-13 16:41:13


PiratePanda Mon 29-Apr-13 16:42:32

Seriously? YABU! As long as she can afford it, and pays her cleaner a fair wage and treats her like an equal, she's doing absolutely nothing she should ever be criticised for. There's no moral virtue at all in doing your iwn cleaning.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Mon 29-Apr-13 16:42:48

I am very jealous of your friend and wish I could afford a cleaner. I could find time to clean but I just hate doing it. I would feel no guilt in getting someone else to do it in exchange for money. At least I'd know they were earning a fair wage and had a good boss grin

YABU and ridiculus.

Good for her for sharing her money round and providing employment for someone else.

The first thing I would spend any extra income I had on would be a cleaner.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Mon 29-Apr-13 16:44:15

This is a bit of a goady thread hmm

I pay £10 an hour to my cleaner, I am nice to her and she has flexible working hours. I let her have time off when she wants and give her a weeks xmas bonus and pay her bank holidays. She doesn't speak much English but is professional and hardworking.

Most of the local stores pay Minimum wage or not much over ( £7 is fairly standard in my area)

Which job would you choose OP?

Unlike you, I do not consider cleaning as 'low status' I think that is an ignorant and offensive thing to say.

HazleNutt Mon 29-Apr-13 16:44:43

The reason this topic gets heated is that we use all kinds of services, but the minute you get a cleaner, you're lazy, shoudl do it yourself. As this is "women's job" and of course women should not make their lives easier in any way. Would you judge my DH or call him lazy if he takes the car to car wash, instead of using a mop and bucket?

Hercy Mon 29-Apr-13 16:44:49

I have a cleaner and I wish I didn't as, for various reasons I find it more of an inconvenience than a help (I don't think you'll find many people who would say that though).

But I would rather keep her on, purely as I don't want to deprive her of her income from me (especially when I know she's looking for more clients as well).

How do you know that isn't the case for your friend? Probably because its none of your business.

Empress77 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:48:13

To be fair, OP, you arent being completely unreasonable- like I said I cant understand why people spend money on certain things and Im sure everyone here can think of something they cant understand why people would buy-which is the same as you not getting why she would employ a cleaner.
But I would be sad if i saw a thread started by a friend that was so detailed along the lines of-"id never say it to my friend but i think shes so so wrong to spend so much money on her pets...." you should just accept that people have different interests & likes & dislikes & so naturally spend their money on different things. I hate hoovering and make my dh do it - your friend doesnt have a dh and if she really hates cleaning whats wrong with employing someone else to do it.

racmun Mon 29-Apr-13 16:48:58

Jesus Christ you need find some other stuff to worry about. I'm sure the cleaner wouldn't be very happy if your friend took your stance- she'd be out of a job.

It probably costs your friend on average £200 a month - if she can afford it and means she has a far less stressful life then why would you actually care what she does. I would looooooove to have someone come in to my house and do all that.

It's not that I think I'm too good to do it I just hate cleaning.

I think you are jealous and are trying to jump on the workers rights bandwagon to try and justify your disapproval/jealousy.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 29-Apr-13 16:49:48

Unless she forces the cleaner to work as a cleaner YABVVVU

Bowlersarm Mon 29-Apr-13 16:50:14


Your friend need to find herself a new friend. Maybe one who isn't quite so judgemental.

Fairylea Mon 29-Apr-13 16:51:28

Yabu. Why should she have to clean up after herself if she can afford to have someone else to do it?? Lucky her!

BlingLoving Mon 29-Apr-13 16:51:34

But I can also see that this topic seems to have triggered a lot of very strong (maybe disproportionately strong) feelings. Which to me indicates that there might be something else at play here - maybe some other feelings as to where guilt/money/power lie in this exchange.

I love that line. It triggers strong feelings yes. But not about the cleaner. The strong feelings are all aimed at you because most people on this thread are absolutely gobsmacked that you actually think this way. I suspect there'd be an equally strong reaction if someone came on here and said, "AIBU to think that women really should stay home and obey their husbands in everything."

And I completely agree with posters who point out that you probably wouldn't feel this way about a man employing a cleaner. A woman isn't a real woman unless she can clean a toilet and mop a floor... with a smile and while wearing six inch heels?

Hopeforever Mon 29-Apr-13 16:52:18

I am so grateful that my friend is willing to come and clean my house every week (sometimes twice).

I pay her via direct debit, she tells CHild tax credits and IR.

I don't feel guilty, I am just very very thankful

No hidden agenda, no problem.

I had a cleaner when I was in a one bedroomed flat with no kids. Again I felt no guilt, just happy that someone was prepared to do the work. I have always paid above the minimum wage.

OP, I think you might be better to concern yourself with the plight of those people who are brought to our country to do domestic work but have their passports taken away and often can't leave their place of work

BlingLoving Mon 29-Apr-13 16:53:45

One last thing - I never understand why people feel the need to justify their cleaners. I have a cleaner because I can afford it and I don't like cleaning. Not because I'm crazy busy or have 10 children or am a single parent. I feel no need to justify my decision.

quesadilla Mon 29-Apr-13 16:53:54

YABVU. It's already been beautifully said and I can't improve on it. MYOB.

rubyslippers Mon 29-Apr-13 16:54:31

Oh thanks tee!


FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 29-Apr-13 16:55:47

Your attitude is also very patronising towards cleaners

Shesparkles Mon 29-Apr-13 16:57:24

I work part time, have lots of days off and have a cleaner.

I couldn't give a flying one what anyone thinks.


Lolapink Mon 29-Apr-13 16:58:01

Yabu I have a cleaner, I don't have children. I hate cleaning its up to me what I spend my own money on. Sounds to me like some one is a bit jealous!

exexpat Mon 29-Apr-13 17:00:50

I was going to say the same as Kerala - would the OP (and all the others who say YANBU) feel the same if the friend was male?

I say YABU. Cleaning is a job, a perfectly respectable source of income, and no more exploitative than many other jobs, in fact probably much better than many, eg zero-hour contracts with big companies.

Phineyj Mon 29-Apr-13 17:02:20

Oh for goodness's sake, YABVVU. It's not your money and not everyone enjoys cleaning!

Dollylucy Mon 29-Apr-13 17:03:54

your friend doesn't like cleaning, so she's pays someone to do it

that's all there is too it


Still18atheart Mon 29-Apr-13 17:04:40


I don't see the problem as long as she can afford it.

Surely it's better for the cleaner to have a job and clean your friends flat, than to be on benefits. Which in a way affects society more a society which includes yourself.

Anyway why does it matter to you if she has a cleaner or not?

ifancyashandy Mon 29-Apr-13 17:06:18

Meh. I live alone in a 2 bed flat & have a cleaner once a week. She does my ironing too. And changes my bed. She's bloody amazing. And I, like pay her and everything.

I work 'hours as required' and frequently do 60+ hours a week. No flipping way am I able to do fewer to 'spread the work'. It's my job and it demands those hours. I'm freelance & if I refused / left early (before 6pm is very early) I wouldn't get hired. And I often do 6 days a week (increasing the hours).

If you want me to feel guilt for not wanting to spend my one or two days off cleaning, then you going to be sorely disappointed.

WellJustCallHimDave Mon 29-Apr-13 17:07:40

YABU. I can service my Landrover. I don't want to though, so I pay a technician to do it for me. Should I start doing it myself?

It must be said however that your friend's cleaner is extremely poorly paid. If she's doing the job twice a week I'd assume that she's working at least 3 hours on each of those days and if she's only being paid £45 then your friend is taking the rise.

MeNeedShoes Mon 29-Apr-13 17:07:49

YABU beyond the power of words to describe. WHY DO YOU CARE??? Seriously, I am baffled by these kinds of posts. Let people spend their own money how they will.

It has nothing to do with people having strong reactions = hidden guilt. I have a strong reaction because MN always has a few fuckers who are willing to tell other people how to spend their own money.


maddening Mon 29-Apr-13 17:08:47

Don't like cleaners don't employ one - anyone else hires a cleaner = non of your business.

On what planet is cleaning 'low paid'?

Our cleaner gets £10 per hour , which is cheap around here. I am currently applying for jobs which pay £7.19 per hour and require postgrad qualifications. They are casual part time roles with zero contract hours. hmm) My cleaner has more work than she can cope with. Go figure hmm.

FasterStronger Mon 29-Apr-13 17:15:09

OP, you are seeing cleaning as unskilled. our cleaner knows the right way to do a job to get good results quickly. she also know how to manage a house which DP and I don't.

thermalsinapril Mon 29-Apr-13 17:15:18


Most people with a little spare income will buy themselves a luxury sometimes. A couple of bottles of wine, magazines, saving for a holiday etc. Your friend chooses to pay a cleaner - good for her.

Cleaners clean the inside of our houses, and plumbers fix things indoors too.

I'm not sure why using particular equipment for a job makes it "better"? Cleaners douse the equipment they need.

Cleaners are not the only self-employed people in the world, there are a huge variety of self-employed workers from tutors to barristers.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 29-Apr-13 17:15:30

What BlingLoving said. How condescending can you get, OP?

BrianButterfield Mon 29-Apr-13 17:15:45

I have a cleaner. She does two hours a week for us. She can come whenever suits her and she is free to work at whatever pace she wishes - we have never supervised or criticised her work. For this she gets enough each month to pay a couple of bills or buy a big supermarket shop. I just can't see the problem - she's perfectly entitled to stop any time she wants and there's no coercion involved. Money in her pocket, clean floors for me.

thermalsinapril Mon 29-Apr-13 17:15:48

do use, not douse! grin

Limelight Mon 29-Apr-13 17:15:49

Good grief are YBU! It's her money and since when are the moral police about where and how she spends it?

Are you jealous?! angry

curryeater Mon 29-Apr-13 17:17:46

Oh yes I also forgot to rofl heartily at the "if she worked less, there would be more work to go around".

I work in a dept a bit like the one I started out in almost 20 years ago (not quite! but still - eek!). Back then I was the most junior of 4 or 5 people and I gophered mostly. Now I am the most senior of - let me count them - ONE person, and I do everything at the most strategic level as well as gophering for myself. This change has taken place across all depts like mine, amongst all our competitors, and has very very little to do with how much work there actually is to do (a tiny amount, to do with electronic stuff replacing physical filing, but not much), and much more to do with several rounds of streamlining to increase revenue per head count. So if I decide to work 17 hours less in the week, and so does my friend who does my job for another company, there are not suddenly two part time jobs available to "lift" hmm people out of their cleaning jobs, should they even want to do my job (or be able to); and enabling me and my friend to do 17 hours of unpaid cleaning a week at home... No, it will just mean my friend and I will get shouted at a lot more by clients who are wondering who the fuck is supposed to be getting their stuff done.

FWIW I do not think this is a goady thread - the tone of the OP when she said she would think again was very ungoady. I just think it is exposing unexamined attitudes (woman-who-doesn't-clean = uppity) which we would all benefit from examining.

Pilgit Mon 29-Apr-13 17:19:04

I hate cleaning, ironing etc. I do it a the moment as I can't afford a cleaner, am on mat leave and DH is putting in ridiculous hours getting a business going. I don't care about people seeing my toilet - eveyrbody poops after all. The moment i can afford it again we're getting a cleaner - i hate it and would rather spend free time with my DC! It means I get a clean home without having to do it myself and put money into the economy. Take your judgy pants off. YABU

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 17:20:15

To those who asked if I would feel the same if my friend was a man. Yes, I would. If anything it would probably irk me more.

In fact when I was a student I had two of my male friends who shared a flat hired a cleaner. I disapproved of that too. Again, I didn't express it.

Other posters have also pointed out that in supply chains all around the world people are geting their hands dirty, doing low paid work essentially on my behalf. I understand that, and that doesn't make me feel good either. But it's hard to opt out of, um, every single aspect of global capitalism, whereas it is really very easy to empty my own bathroom bin, and wipe the toothpaste out of my bathroom sink.

Also, going by the rates that other people have posted (like £10 and hour+), I don't think that she is paying her cleaner very much. From what she said, it sounded like it would work out at about £7 an hour. Which is, granted, above minimum wage, but also with no contract/security.

Unami - in the real world, how many employers do you think would happily agree to their employees working less/fewer hours, so they'd have time to do their own housework??

And anyhow, if your friend doesn't enjoy cleaning, why shouldn't she get someone to do it for her, so she can do something she finds more enjoyable? I'm a SAHM and I hate and abhor housework, and if I could afford a cleaner, I'd employ one tomorrow.

hazelnutlatte Mon 29-Apr-13 17:24:42

My PIL's are cleaners - OP I can assure you that they are not being exploited, nor do they feel inferior to the people whose houses they clean! It's just a job, which is ideal for them as they choose their own hours and can work as much or as little as they want.
They couldn't and wouldn't want to do the jobs of the people they clean for, so I really can't see why those people should work less hours and clean their own houses!

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 29-Apr-13 17:25:02

Yabu to judge your friend but I can see where you are coming from with your personal feelings towards cleaners. I would not have a cleaner for similar reasons to those you have listed. It just feels wrong and exploitative to me. I recognise I am probably unusual in thinking that!

curryeater Mon 29-Apr-13 17:25:29

Oh yes and something else relating to my initial point No. 4.

Cleaning (and all housework) is skilled. Not in the sense of driving a car where you should not even attempt it without a qualification, but more in the sense of singing, where anyone can and should have a go, but some people, whether through training, effort, or talent, are really bloody brilliant at it and better than nearly everyone else.

I think it is important to note this, because I know a lot of women do housework to a much higher standard than the man of the house but because it is notionally shared (although he never re-uses leftovers, never remembers what to pick up between big shops, doesn't do any sort of tricksy laundry or hang things out so they don't need to be ironed, etc, while she does all the clever stuff) he thinks it is easy. He just hasn't noticed that he has done about a third of it to a rather sloppy standard. I think pro-cleaners work against the delusion that housework is effortless and anyone can immediately go a great job. I do a great job - when I can - when I have any time at all to spend at home - because I have been trained since I was 4, and I think about it a lot.

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 17:25:37

It is not an 'odd' opinion, it is just not one held by the typical Poster on here.

SilverOldie Mon 29-Apr-13 17:25:47

YABU biscuit

"I am a good friend and would never do or say anything judgemental" No you're not a good friend and you are judgemental. It's none of your business if she has a cleaner. I'm so pleased I don't have a 'friend' like you.

My cleaner does an hour a week for £12 and has never had to clean up my bodily mess. I'm not ga ga quite yet.

What a very boring life you must lead to get het up about such a thing.

Trill Mon 29-Apr-13 17:28:34

I really don't understand why you see cleaning as a job around which the choices are moral choices rather than simply practical ones.

parttimer79 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:28:50

YABU but I'm not as eloquent as curryeater so I'll just leave you to read her posts

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 17:29:26

Also, posters are right when they point out that I'm talking in abstract when it comes to redistributing better paid/more interesting work. I wish it was possible though! A lot of us would be a lot happier.

I'm not jealous, I'm ok with my domestic arrangements. Nor am I spitting venom and bile at her for having a cleaner. I understand that it's her decision, I just have this feeling about it that I can't shake, although some posters have given me new perspectives on the issue.

I also think it is interesting that a lot of posters have assumed that she has hired a cleaner because she earns well/works hard/is very busy. She doesn't work especially long hours or have a demanding job. In fact she has only recently started working part-time, although she was doing a full-time internship before that.

I'm a SAHM to a toddler with mild SN. Thank God my cleaner came today to clean and disinfect the flat after I was up most of the night with vomiting DS. All he wants to do is BF on my lap and cry. Together we have managed to comfort him, boil wash 4 lots of bedding and sodden child and adult clothes, and I've finally managed to wash the sick out of my hair and eat something.

I am pathetically grateful to her and on days like today couldn't manage without her. Looking down on cleaners and housekeepers? Don't underestimate how bloody great their services are. I can't think of anything we could spend our money on that is so damn helpful and frankly life enhancing.

Yay for cleaners.

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 17:32:58

Employing a cleaner suggests some kind of hierarchical order that some people are not comfortable with. It is also often done by women in a domestic setting which reinforces the idea of women only being fit to clean up after people.

BlingLoving Mon 29-Apr-13 17:33:43

I also think it is interesting that a lot of posters have assumed that she has hired a cleaner because she earns well/works hard/is very busy. She doesn't work especially long hours or have a demanding job. In fact she has only recently started working part-time, although she was doing a full-time internship before that.

I didn't. I couldn't care less if she works 3 hours a week and swans around drinking chardonay the rest of the time. If she has the money and wants a cleaner, she should go right ahead.

musickeepsmesane Mon 29-Apr-13 17:34:06

But I can also see that this topic seems to have triggered a lot of very strong (maybe disproportionately strong) feelings. Which to me indicates that there might be something else at play here - maybe some other feelings as to where guilt/money/power lie in this exchange
Please let me be very clear, my feeling are that you are a shit friend. They have nothing to do with the above.

BerylStreep Mon 29-Apr-13 17:35:14

You don't sound like a good friend at all, even though you disapprove 'privately'

I have had a cleaner for years and years - I suppose now that I have DC, in your eyes it is now acceptable, (just about, given that I am neither elderly or immobile) but I had a cleaner when I was single too. I don't like hoovering, dusting or mopping. If I can pay someone to do that, why not? (and I pay a good wage, well above minimum wage). In fact I am considering changing from having a cleaner who comes once a week, to a housekeeper who comes three times a week, so that I can get help with my laundry and cooking too.

If I thought for a second that my friends 'privately disapproved' they would be ex-friends pronto.

You have provided loads of spurious reasons why having a cleaner is wrong - potential accidents, cash in hand, levelling, concern about income / working conditions, no sick pay (along with every other self-employed person!), no holiday pay (I pay a Xmas bonus) and TBH, they are all rubbish. Then, having been almost unanimously told that YABVU, you have tried to intellectualise your views by suggesting the strength of responses is demonstrating some power imbalance malarky. hmm

I think it would be a good idea for you to examine what beliefs you associate with housework. It seems to me that you think housework is 'womans' work, and that your friend is rebelling by not buying in to that myth - do you feel threatened by the fact that your friend isn't conforming to your expectations? I'm not saying this to be mean or jump on the AIBU bandwagon - really, it would be a good idea to think about it.

I just feel like my friend is just being lazy or thinks she's too good to pick up after herself. Could it just be that you don't like your friend very much? It's alright to come to the realisation that you don't like some people. But it is equally good to understand why, and how your belief system has made you think that way.

Yes, I suspect that feelings are running high because of how negatively judgemental you have been on this thread, OP - not anything else.

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 17:36:27

I don't think I am a shit friend. I don't think that being a good friend necessitates that you have to 100% approve of every single decision they make in their lives.

HeffalumpTheFlump Mon 29-Apr-13 17:37:31

YABU! What on earth does it have to do with you if your friend has a cleaner? What right do you have to judge your friends choices in that manner? Also I really dont like the way you discribe cleaning as low status.. Your whole attitude is jealous and judgemental in my opinion.

curryeater Mon 29-Apr-13 17:37:43

Unami, if you don't mind me asking, where, very roughly, are you from?

musickeepsmesane Mon 29-Apr-13 17:38:03

a good friend is non judgemental and supportive. If I thought you were my friend writing this about me I would be so hurt

Maybe - but thinking she is lazy and too good to pick up after herself doesn't make you a wonderful friend, does it?

OP if your mate was a man with a male cleaner do you think you'd feel the same?

curryeater Mon 29-Apr-13 17:39:24

I only ask because I am from the NW, grew up with cleaners and was deeply ashamed of it and never told anyone at school. It was a "thing" that real women were out scrubbing the step in a pinny. It was taken on by the girls as part of maturity. Having another woman mop your kitchen was like wearing a t-shirt saying, "posh, lazy, hate me". Now I live in the SE, and no one gives a shit.

kneedeepindaisies Mon 29-Apr-13 17:43:02

I stopped reading about half way but based on what I did read YABU.

Why do you care? I would love a cleaner but as I am a cleaner I can't really pay a cleaner to be my cleaner. smile

Kitchencupboards Mon 29-Apr-13 17:43:11

YABVU how can you be bothered to even care about your friends cleaning arrangements?. If you don't like the idea of a cleaner, don't have one. I have a cleaner, I had one when I was a SAHM, I had one when I lived with DH before kids and I had one when I was single living alone. I hate cleaning, I have disposable income and I like a clean house. What's the problem?

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 17:45:02

That's an interesting reply Beryl

I really don't believe I do see cleaning as 'women's work'. I did not mention in the OP, but I've known male friends sharing flats who hired cleaners, and I thought two young, fit, men with a lot of time with their hands, getting someone in to do the cleaning was a bit much. Like they just wanted to pay their mum to come round and pick up their socks.

I do like my friend! We've been friends since uni, she makes me laugh like no one else, I don't actually hold her having a cleaner against her in any way.

I'm prepared to be convinced that this is just some hang-up I've got, and so far people have convinced me that just because a cleaner is self-employed doesn't mean that their lack of job security, holiday pay is something to be concerned about.

curryeater I am from Glasgow. Living in Edinburgh.

whosiwhatsit Mon 29-Apr-13 17:46:55

So do men have to clean their own homes in your world to be decent people, or just women?

Schmoozer Mon 29-Apr-13 17:47:42

Picking up,after yourself is a great leveller ??
Ie your pal needs taking down a peg or two for having the audacity to employ a cleaner

When i am an elderly lady i will not look back and wish i had done more cleaning !!
Good luck to your mate, she has her priorities right,
You sound odd !!

Rosesforrosie Mon 29-Apr-13 17:49:32

So you feel uncomfortable because you view it as paying for a personal service?

Do you feel uncomfortable with dry cleaners, hairdressers and dental hygienists as well?

Still18atheart Mon 29-Apr-13 17:49:35

Do you not agree with private cleaners in general op?? Or just the example you gave in your op and the two uni friends.

adeucalione Mon 29-Apr-13 17:51:16

Well I don't work at all, and all of my children are teens, yet I hire a cleaner to come twice a week. Stick that in your pipe.

I do this because I hate cleaning and, with all the time in the world, I would still rather be doing something else.

I don't see it as a demeaning job, I think they work hard for a fair wage and I wouldn't want to manage without them - they know I appreciate them. If I showed them your OP they would laugh their heads off.

Schmoozer Mon 29-Apr-13 17:52:03

Beryl, i like your thinking on the matter,
I also wonder what core beliefs this seemingly inert issue is triggering for op ? !

WildThongsHeartString Mon 29-Apr-13 17:52:35

I am envy of your friend.

You are daft.

BooCanary Mon 29-Apr-13 17:53:24

I kind of know where you're coming from OP, even though I think yabu.

I am agonising over getting a cleaner. I can't seem to get my head round it. It feels wrong to me to have someone in my house 'picking up after' me. I don't know why but it does.

DontmindifIdo Mon 29-Apr-13 17:53:55

People say that having a cleaner is just like hiring any other service provider. But it's not. Domestic cleaners clean intimate, private parts of our houses, and clean up our bodily mess, and it's low paid, low status work.

Hmm, I hire a cleaner, paying her £11 an hour, so it pays better than a lot of low skilled jobs. It might be low status though, but then as a society we consider cleaning to be low status, if it's done for money or done for free.

As for cleaning being an intimate job, well, as well as hiring a cleaner, I pay another woman to dye my hair for me, even worse - I pay another woman to wax the hair off my fanjo and unclog my pores. A lot of people have problems with having other people have access to those too, but then a beautician and hairdressers aren't seen as so low status, even though they might actually earning less...

Softlysoftly Mon 29-Apr-13 17:55:11

Brilliant offending people who have cleaners, cleaners holding those menial hmm positions and totally misunderstanding salaried positions all in one post.


WildThongsHeartString Mon 29-Apr-13 17:56:00

And p.s. your post is a bit insulting to cleaners as well. It is perfectly respectable honest work that suits a lot of people's circumstances.

Crinkle77 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:56:55

YABU I would do the same if I could afford it. Twice a week for a 2 bed flat and a deep clean once a month does seem a bit OCD.

CaramelLatte Mon 29-Apr-13 17:57:25

property I am really interested to know why you think cleaners are exploited. I certainly do not feel exploited, I get paid a decent rate to do a job, I know I am valued by my customers as they regularly tell me. The hours totally fit around my family and I can pick and choose my customers.

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 17:58:38

Why are people pretending cleaning is not 'low' status, smacks of reassuring your own conscience.

curryeater I am from Glasgow. Living in Edinburgh.

Fucking hell! shock I'm from Lanarkshire, living in Glasgow, and I've never heard such views expressed by anyone under the age of 75 outside of Blantyre. I would never have pegged you for a Weegie!

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 17:59:44

whosi especially men! I don't think this is a gender issue. If anything, it bothers me that most domestic cleaners are women. If it was such a great gig then I reckon more men would be in on it.

still and Schmoozer I don't really see anything wrong with people having a private cleaner if they need one, like if they are really busy/overstretched/stressed/old/unwell If a cleaner helps you cope with things, then great. I just don't see why my friend feels the need to get a cleaner when it's just her in the flat and she's not that busy. Why would you want someone to clean your bathroom sink and empty your bedroom bin if you could easily do it yourself.

Roses do I feel uncomfortable with personal services? That's an interesting question, and I would say yes, slightly. I don't really like to have someone cleaning my teeth or waxing my legs. I doubt many of us do. But a lot of these personal services require special training and equipment. I don't really think that giving your toilet seat a once over does.

Some posters have argued that cleaning is a skilled job, and that some people have a special talent for it. Other posters have said that their cleaners have a mild LD and it's the only job open to them. I guess both are potentially true...but it's slightly confusing, in terms of working out skill/opportunity.

Also, I absolutely mean no disrespect, nor do I have any snobbish feelings towards cleaners themselves. Just maybe a teeny wee bit of disrespect for some people who hire them. But as others have been so keen to remind me, no one gives a toss what I think.

If cleaning is low status so is being a SAHM.
Neither my cleaner or I feel particularly oppressed today though; we both chose these roles and it's what we do right now.

tomatoplantproject Mon 29-Apr-13 18:02:54

You asked if you are being unreasonable, and the consensus is that you are. You should accept that for the many, many reasons given. If you weren't prepared to accept the response why did you ask the question?

Lizzabadger Mon 29-Apr-13 18:03:06


pmgkt Mon 29-Apr-13 18:03:41

As a cleaner myself, I could be massively offended about what a low opinion you have of me, but luckily I know you are being sterile typical and narrow minded. I used to be a bank manager, and did very well at it, but this suits my life style at the moment. I have insurance just like your 'skilled' window cleaners, I an very valued by my clients, I earned nearly double the minimum wage. On the plus side, no I don't get holiday pay but I also don't have to fit into someone else's holiday tots, be restricted by limits to time off, I can choose my hours, increasing or decreasing when my circumstances change, so please don't feel that you friend is using some lowly service, if she is happy with who she is using , they are worth their weight

KitchenandJumble Mon 29-Apr-13 18:06:08

YABU. But it's not a new argument. For instance, Barbara Ehrenreich makes essentially the same point in her book Nickel and Dimed (a terrific read, BTW, all about Ehrenreich's undercover experiences working at low-paying jobs and attempting to survive on the pittance she earned). She writes that she had never hired a cleaner because she didn't want to have the kind of relationship with someone in which that person cleaned her toilets. She seemed to indicate there was something shameful about that.

I disagree with Ehrenreich and with you. I think we have been conditioned to believe that it is fine to outsource certain kinds of jobs but not others. Unsurprisingly, the jobs we are "supposed" to do ourselves tend to be the ones that have been traditionally performed by women (e.g., cleaning, childcare, etc). It isn't coincidental that we have these associations. It's part of the hierarchy of values in the general culture.

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 18:06:14

I have absolutely no disrespect for cleaners. None.

adeucalione Mon 29-Apr-13 18:06:33

I genuinely don't see what's wrong with paying someone to do a job you don't want to do yourself. If they didn't want to do it, they wouldn't do it.

EuroShaggleton Mon 29-Apr-13 18:07:59

I didn't say anything about your friend hiring a cleaner because she is too busy, but that is my reason. Well, that and I don't particularly like cleaning! In some ways I would rather clean for myself because I would be more thorough in certain areas or do things certain ways, but on balance, having a cleaner makes my life run a lot more smoothly than it otherwise would so I can put up with a few things not being done as I would do them.

Cleaners do not have job security and the perks of being an employee like holiday pay, but they are, on the whole reasonably well-paid in comparison to other unskilled workers and well-treated. My cleaner has the flexibility to change days when needed, bring her youngest with her during the school holidays if she needs to, come at any time during the working day. I pay her when we go on holiday but not when she does. I give her a Xmas bonus. She is certainly not someone to feel sorry for!

CaramelLatte Mon 29-Apr-13 18:08:52

Re. skill of cleaning- believe it or not NOT everybody can clean. I used to work as a Housekeeper in hotels and the amount of people that did not last more than a day or two was unbelievable because they just were not good enough at cleaning.

ElaineVintage Mon 29-Apr-13 18:09:33

Oh dear, really? Get a life.

lashingsofbingeinghere Mon 29-Apr-13 18:10:11

OP, every day we are paying people to do stuff we could do ourselves - drive us in taxis, make food for us, grow food for us, make clothes for us. Why use a Hoover when you could go down on your hands and knees and sweep up with a twiggy broom you have made yourself?

Cleaning is just another service you can, if you want, contract out to a third party for a mutually agreeable sum of money. You sound a bit Calvinistic - there is nothing intrinsically worthier in sweeping up your own mess than paying someone (a decent amount) to do it for you.

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 18:11:29

tomato I'm totally listening to, and considering people's responses. I have already begun to change my mind about a number of factors around this issue.

pumkin I don't get it. Are these views odd from Glasgow. What's up with Blantyre? I'd have expected more people from SE England to approve of having a cleaner, for some reason.

Kitchen that's really interesting, thanks. I'd like to read the Ehrenreich, and consider your perspective too. But I'm not yet convinced this is a gender issue. I think my reservations about domestic cleaning are probably more to do with the fact that they clean private, intimate areas.

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 18:12:41

SAHM is not paid work and it depends on what you see that role as encompassing. I don't see SAHM as 'housewife', I.e unpaid cleaner. Being a SAHP around here is definitely not seen as low status as you have to be able to afford to do it. The 'choice' in deciding on being a cleaner is definitely open to debate.

CaramelLatte Mon 29-Apr-13 18:12:57

Er..I don't clean anybody's private intimate areas!

ChewingOnLifesGristle Mon 29-Apr-13 18:14:58

'no one gives a toss what I think'

You got that rightgrin

I have a lady who does my ironing. I am a sahm (gasp) with dc at school (double gasp). I pay her to do something I loathe because I'm lucky enough to be able to. And if I didn't, it would make no difference to her because she'd replace me with one of the many people on her waiting list.

I love this sort of ophmm. Oh it's ok to do it if x,y,z, applies but not a,b,c. You make the rules regarding the criteria?confused

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 18:16:34

I consider the bits of the house I have washed in, slept in, thrown my dirty tissues in to be private/intimate iyswim

I am off to a pub quiz for now - not being rude for not replying.

Thanks to everyone who has responded, especially those of you who have picked away at what exactly my issues might be here, and those of you who have given me fresh perspectives.

ChasedByBees Mon 29-Apr-13 18:17:14

I know all of this has been said before but you are being offensive, patronising and ridiculous. That you assume cleaning work is demeaning is so offensive. Why isn't it on the same level as gardening or window cleaning for you? You've said those involve specialist equipment but is that all that sets it apart? A lawn mower? A bucket? Window Cleaning in particular is still cleaning that someone doesn't have time for. I really think there's some inherent sexism in what you believe. Gardeners and window cleaners are usually male (IME). Why do you feel those jobs have value?

You seem to think cleaning is demeaning and worthless but I can't imagine many cleaners feel that way.

Your assumption that they work cash in hand (committing benefit fraud?) is also offensive. Why wouldn't a cleaner take pride in their work and be professional?

OrangeLily Mon 29-Apr-13 18:18:54

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ChasedByBees Mon 29-Apr-13 18:20:07

You keep implying it would be ok for your friend to have a cleaner if she was busier, worked longer, had children, was immobile. What you seem to be missing is her reasons are ABSOLUTELY NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

You really are not a good friend.

DontmindifIdo Mon 29-Apr-13 18:22:24

I don't really see anything wrong with people having a private cleaner if they need one - but you do with someone who just doesn't want to clean themselves and can afford to pay someone else to do it? It's morally more acceptable to spend that money on something else that will give you less pleasure than freeing up your time by not having to clean?

You might have problems with a cleaner having access to your private intimate areas, but as I said, there are far more intimate jobs (brazillian waxers for a start).

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 18:22:58

If it is just a job that people 'choose' to do and has nothing to do with social and economical circumstances as if somehow it is a job that is aspirational and comes up frequently as a choice favoured by teenagers when discussing work options with a Careers Adviser, would those who employee cleaners be happy for their DC to be one? All the people I know who are privileged enough to have a cleaner, would categorically be not pleased for their DC to do this work.

piprabbit Mon 29-Apr-13 18:23:03

It makes no sense economically for either the individual or the national economy, for someone who can earn £50 to forgo earning £50 in order to clean their flat, when there is someone willing and able to clean the flat for £10.

If the higher earner gives up the £50 and cleans their own flat, the economy loses out on the £50. It is £50 that the high earner cannot spend in shops or on services. Nor will they be paying tax on the £50. You also have to count the £10 that the cleaner has lost from not being employed to clean the flat.

There is a moral argument that everyone should emply a cleaner if they can possibly afford to.

Unami Mon 29-Apr-13 18:24:58

Chased, at no point did I say that cleaning is demeaning. I said it is low paid, low status work, which it is - by the norms of our culture, and payscales. We might not all like the fact that this is the case, but that's how it is just now.

Like I said, for me, getting my lawnmowed or windows cleaned would be a very different service. I don't have any of that equipment, don't have a lawnmower/shears/ladder to clean my 3rd storey windows. People who do that kind of work have invested in that kind of equipment, which I'm effectively hiring along with their services.

I said nothing about benefit fraud nor would I presume anything of someone who gets paid in cash. I lot of people do pay cleaners in cash though, and the posters here are obviously more conscientious about holiday pay etc with their cleaners than the people I know in rl

Plomino Mon 29-Apr-13 18:25:00

I have had cleaners . They have all been male . I don't press gang random people off the street , in fact in order to get one of them , I had to be approved , as there is a waiting list for his work. I worked out what he earned once , without counting his very popular ironing service . £40k a year , plus the proceeds from his ironing . That's hardly low waged or exploitative .

Some people genuinely enjoy cleaning and get job satisfaction out of it , like any other job well done . Like my mum , who is also highly sought after , does the hours to suit her , and loves her work .

olivertheoctopus Mon 29-Apr-13 18:25:11

YABU. In fact your self righteous post has made me quite angry. Who cares what your friend spends her money on? We had a cleaner before kids and it meant we had our weekends to ourselves without rowing about who was going to clean what. Back in your box..

DontmindifIdo Mon 29-Apr-13 18:27:03

goldenbear - if I'm completely honest, I'd be unhappy with my DCs being in any low paid work as a long term career (rather than for a year or so while funding study or trying to get something better paid) - and cleaning at £11 an hour is better paid than most jobs you think of as 'low paid'. Cleaning definately pays much hirer than bar work where I live.

BitOutOfPractice Mon 29-Apr-13 18:27:47

I think you should dump this bitch out of her life

I mean, she believes she's entitled to spend her own time and money as she sees fit.

She's too grand to do her own cleaning. I expect she pays someone to service her car, and someone to drive the bus she gets to work, bloody princess.

And finally, she pays a proper wage to someone doing a perfectly respectable job.. Capitalist cow



Plomino Mon 29-Apr-13 18:27:57

I also had a cleaner when I lived alone and had no kids . So what ? Preferring to spend my off duty time competing with my horses rather than donning a pair of marigolds is not a crime .

grumpyinthemorning Mon 29-Apr-13 18:28:20

Cor, wish I could afford a cleaner! Currently a sahm, but I hate housework and I'm the queen of procrastination. If she prefers to hire a cleaner, it's not really any of your business, is it? To each their own and all that...

toiletbrush Mon 29-Apr-13 18:29:44

Cleaners certainly don't have job security, or holiday or sickness pay. It's also worth remembering too that although the hourly rate may seem better than a lot of jobs, there are only so many hours a cleaner can work in a day.

Can't be arsed reading all that and I still know YABU. grin

MrsMelons Mon 29-Apr-13 18:29:56

YABU and also this is the funniest AIBU I have ever seen.

Who cares - I love having someone clean my toilet, I can afford it and would prefer to have my spare time to myself and love coming home to a clean house. The cleaner does not pick up after me she cleans. I also have an ironing lady

It should not be cash in hand, they are self employed in the same way builders often are, should complete tax returns and often get 'holiday' pay which many self employed people don't.

My SIL does massages for a living, she files all the correct returns, pays NI/tax but does not get holiday or sick pay of course.

My cleaner is paid £10 ph (equiv of £19k PA if full time) but even £7ph (over £13k) is more than many staff who work in pre-schools etc so I don't actually think it is a bad deal.

Regarding distributing better paid work more evenly - I think this is even more ridiculous than the cleaner issue. Some people are highly qualified and get paid lots and some people aren't - nothing wrong with that, thats life I guess.

DontmindifIdo Mon 29-Apr-13 18:30:59

OP - I do'nt pay my cleaners holiday pay, but then they are self employed (I did just have one, but she doesn't drive and had more demand for work than she could manage to get round walking, she and another local cleaner who does drive have paired up, so now they come as a team to my house for 1.5 hours and I pay for 3 hours).

they are self employed, so I pay them (not in cash, they gave me that as an option but I'm not organised enough to have the right cash every week - I do online transfers monthly), they factor in their costs their holiday and sick pay, like my hairdresser and my beautician.

MrsMelons Mon 29-Apr-13 18:32:15

toiletbrush you are right re the hours/pay but this goes for a lot of jobs such as childminders, pre-school staff etc, many are term time only and get minimal holiday/sick pay. Most self-employed people get nothing even if they are highly paid.

My cleaner works all day every day at various jobs, some all day at one place so not that bad really.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 29-Apr-13 18:32:16

I don't understand how anybody could disapprove of a friend having a cleaner.
OP you sound very envy as you haven't come up with any genuine reason as to why any could disapprove. Your friend is employing somebody which could be helping them to keep a roof over their head.

BitOutOfPractice Mon 29-Apr-13 18:32:55

I also don't get holiday pay. Or sick pay. I often work very unsociable hours. And long hours. I'm self employed.

Pre-dc, I did pay by the hour work when I needed flexibility.
I chose not to work as a cleaner because I am ineffective at it and do a not-great job, too slowly. I am also a shit waitress as I spill things.

I chose to work as a pub cook and dog walker instead. Even though they paid less and the working environment was not as comfortable or safe because I am good at walking dogs and cooking.
I can't see the shame or stigma in it.
Some people are ineffectual cleaners.
Some people are ace at it.

thermalsinapril Mon 29-Apr-13 18:33:18

OP, you mention the fact that your friend works without a contract or security. Would you also disapprove of anyone who used the services of a curtain-maker, violin teacher, freelance writer?

Don't we all pay for at least some things to be done, that we could theoretically do ourselves? The car wash, window-cleaner, hairdresser, painter/decorator, getting the milk/paper delivered, or eating the carrots we didn't grow ourselves?

> I just feel like my friend is just being lazy or thinks she's too good to pick up after herself.

Where's your evidence? These assumptions are coming from you, not from your friend.

It's not lazy to pay someone for a job, it's a sensible way to buy yourself some time. And it doesn't mean she thinks she's "too good" to clean any more than you're "too good" for any of the other things you pay someone else for.

kelda Mon 29-Apr-13 18:34:35

YABU. I'm sure the cleaner would much prefer to clean a two bedroom flat with a single occupant and NO CHILDREN then my tip of a house with three children.

You say that you think your friend should work fewer hours and earn less so there would be more jobs to go round yet you are contradicting yourself because your friend is provding employment.

flowery Mon 29-Apr-13 18:34:44

YABU and a bit weird tbh.

Yes I have a cleaner. No I am not saying YABU because I feel guilty about it. I genuinely haven't got a clue what I am expected to feel guilty about.

We all benefit from a clean house
We all benefit from my stress levels being lower
Cleaner benefits from a regular wage
She comes through a local agency so we are also supporting a local business.

I also outsource my ironing to another local business, which I'm assuming I should also be feeling guilty about?


StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Mon 29-Apr-13 18:35:36

She's using her money to employ someone else to do the jobs she doesn't want to spend her time doing. pretty much like most jobs out there, someone is paying us to do something cos they can't or won't. That's market economy for you. I do think, as has been said that we need to have a good hard think to ourselves as to where our values lie in what is a valued job and what is not. why do some people look down on cleaners, bin people, toilet cleaners etc and why if these jobs exist do we judge people who pay them for their services when we pay a million other types of jobs / people for theirs. I don't want to decorate my house, plumb my sink, wire my lights, clean my car, do my shopping... I pay for these services and more... no different op. Life is too short to spend time doing things you would rather not, if you can pay, and choose to, then that is a good life, I do my cleaning only because I am very precious about my privacy and would feel uncomfortable having someone in my house regularly. I am not however precious about someone shopping and bringing it to my front door. As I say life is too short to judge what others choose to spend their money on and what is important to them. Or to judge what is a valued job and what's not which is essentially what you have done here I'm afraid. what are your luxuries in life? not a cleaner but ... a haircut? manicure? massage? meal ot? take away|? some other 'service' that someone is providing for you cos you CBA and are paying... no difference really.

WhatKindofFool Mon 29-Apr-13 18:38:48

Seriously, I think you should just chill out. Does it really matter? Stop worrying about it. I'm sure some people would much rather clean than be on the dole. Good on them.

boardingschoolbaby Mon 29-Apr-13 18:39:43

Hey OP,
We live in a boarding school where I work very long hours 13 days out of 14, so the last thing I ever want to do is clean my house when I get off duty after 10pm at the earliest.
I spoke to the lady who cleaned my office who happens to be the supervisor and asked if she knew anyone looking for a few extra hours work and if that was allowed. She actually offered to do it herself. She charges me £11 an hour (less than her usual charge of £14) as she is already on site and fits it in at the end of her other shifts. She actually gets pleasure from leaving places "Spick and span" as she puts it, and says that she earns far more now than she used to when she was the manager of a bank. So the idea people who are cleaners are trapped slaves is really rather outdated. She has been on an Icelandic cruise with her husband so far this year, and she has already booked off her summer hols on our calendar so she is a long way from the breadline. Everyone is happy with the arrangement- especially my husband as he actually gets properly ironed shirts every week!
Y def seem to be VU about your friend, but perhaps that is down to your perception of the employer/ employee relationship.

picnicbasketcase Mon 29-Apr-13 18:40:59

It's absolutely none of your business etc etc as others have said, but I would be silently judging my arse off as well.

Saski Mon 29-Apr-13 18:42:17

I have a cleaner. I do feel guilty about it, and then I have a special extra layer of guilt on top of that for the condescension that the guilt implies.

My last cleaner was a nurse in the Philippines, a head nurse in an A&E. That made me feel very guilty.

But as others have pointed out, it's a good job. You make a lot over minimum wage, and it's flexible & has pretty low barriers to entry. I wouldn't knock it - she's providing a job.

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Mon 29-Apr-13 18:42:18

am i really reading a thread where someone thinks a woman should cut her employed, wage paying hours at work to clean her house more? shock

<checks calender>

yep, it's still 2013. thought i'd time travelled for a minute there!

K8Middleton Mon 29-Apr-13 18:42:32

£45 a week for a two bed flat lived in by one person? I doubt the cleaner is being exploited grin grin

I'd like a cleaner... can't afford one at the mo. Such is life.

lljkk Mon 29-Apr-13 18:45:11

"it is low paid, low status work"

Status is in the eye of the beholder.

My cleaner wouldn't like a regular contract, because sometimes she has to change terms at short notice: when her back acts up or she wants to take a holiday. It suits us both to keep things informal.

I think OP's hang up is mostly about perceived laziness.
Most very lazy people I know wouldn't clean the house themselves either; happy to live in filth. I could be too, but glad I have afford an alternative.

lljkk Mon 29-Apr-13 18:45:22

*can not have...

Estherbelle Mon 29-Apr-13 18:46:21

"Most of all, I just feel like my friend is just being lazy or thinks she's too good to pick up after herself"

If it wasn't for the fact my DM doesn't know how to use the internet, I would be wondering whether she had started this thread, because OP, this is precisely her opinion.

I often work 16 hour days (and yes, I'm a freelancer, so I don't get paid for holidays and when I'm ill!) yet I bust a gut to keep my house clean on top of that - having a cleaner would save me so much time, but because of the guilt my mum has instilled in me over it, I've always battled on, thinking I was being unreasonable...

Reading here how 99% of people are all for the cleaner, has made me think: sod it, I might just get one!

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 18:46:57

So clean or be 'on the dole' - is this the 'choice' that everyone who has a cleaner is talking about? It is a moral and political question for some. People think about it or have an opinion on it as believe it not everybody in this world just thinks of their own happiness and own needs first- thank God!

Employing a cleaner when you are perfectly capable of cleaning up your own crap, perpetuates and affirms inequalities that already exist in our society.

Chandon Mon 29-Apr-13 18:47:57

I have a cleaner for 4 hrs a week.

I could do it myself, but would rather not.

She earns more than I did as a TA. Quite a lot more.

Basically, your problem OP, is that YOu think cleaners do lowly badly paid work.

i think there is nothing lowly about cleaning, it is a job a professional can often do better than an amateur (me). It is a job I did myself part time as a student. I don't think waiters are lowly either, or people who give massages, or beauticians.

I also do not think cleaning a toilet, even someone else's toilet, is any way demeaning. Why would it be?

Xmasbaby11 Mon 29-Apr-13 18:48:32

YABU. As long as she treats the cleaner well. I agree it seems decadent, but I honestly can't see anything wrong with it.

K8Middleton Mon 29-Apr-13 18:50:02

Do you know I'd rather go and clean someone else's home than my own? I think I'd do a better job just cracking on with it than I would trying to do it at home amid the distractions.

lljkk Mon 29-Apr-13 18:53:15

"Employing a cleaner when you are perfectly capable of cleaning up your own crap, perpetuates and affirms inequalities that already exist in our society."

and by the way, my cleaner doesn't go on the dole ever, wouldn't want to. She just wants an easy PT job that fits well with rest of her life.

I would clean if it kept me off the dole, if things came to those being my choices. There is No Shame in Being a Cleaner. Unless you want to see the world that way, that is.

MrsMelons Mon 29-Apr-13 18:53:21

There will always be inequalities in peoples work as people have different skills, intelligence, wants, needs etc. There is nothing wrong in that but the fact that you belittle the job a cleaner does is wrong.

I often leave the house at 645 and get home at 630pm, DH does the school run and gets home at a similar time. The days I am home earlier I want to spend time with my DCs. On my day off I do volunteer work and occasionally have a coffee with friends. I am not asking someone to clear up my crap but I am spending my money on what I want to ease pressure on us as a family and that is the job she has chosen to do, she has no issues with it and can afford nice holidays, has a lovely house and gets much of the school holidays off also.

OrangeLily Mon 29-Apr-13 18:56:49

WTF how does it perpetuate inequality?? Why do you see cleaners as unequal to someone who earns the money to pay them? I think you need to take a long hard look at your own judgements.

schoolshoeblues Mon 29-Apr-13 18:59:51

I have a cleaner that comes to my home and does everything she does twice a week, EVERY DAY! ....and I don't work. I live abroad and it's just part of the lifestyle. DH works 16 hour days, he doesn't want to help out with the house. I don't have family to help with DCs, or give me a break as I am in effect a single mother Monday to Friday.

When I am in the position that I need to return to work, a self employed cleaner would reckon high up in my job choices.

YABVU - your friend is providing a job for someone.

CorrieDale Mon 29-Apr-13 19:00:00

Not only do I have a cleaner, she makes more per hour than I do making clothes. We both have our own businesses and we enjoy what we do. She is clearly however a better business woman than I am! She values what she does and so do her clients. She also has time to spend with her family and on her hobbies. I think she'd be pretty insulted by the OP. and curryeater's analysis of the transparency of housework is spot bloody on!

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Mon 29-Apr-13 19:03:33

see now I am craving coming home on a friday after work and stepping into a clean house, sparkling loo, clean sheets, clean bath, fresh towels... having a bath and opening the wine ahhhh bliss, not coming home dumping the shopping, putting tea on, running a hoover round, stuffing a wash load on , stripping the bed, tidying the breakfast pots away, then sitting down at 8 or 9 to open the wine. anyone know a good cleaner in plymouth, preferably one who will iron too?

exexpat Mon 29-Apr-13 19:04:04

I think the OP said she was heading out, so she probably isn't reading all this, but I wonder how she feels about hotel rooms - they are 'intimate spaces' where she has slept/used the loo/chucked dirty tissues about, but presumably someone else cleans those. Why is it any different in your home?

Cloverer Mon 29-Apr-13 19:05:02

I use the services of a cleaner. Actually it is too women (mothers) who have set up their own business so it's flexible around school hours, sick kids etc.

I pay by bank transfer. I have no doubt that they pay whatever taxes they are obliged to.

Yes, it's true self-employed people don't get holiday pay, but that is the pay off for being your own boss. DH is self-employed too.

I don't think it is necessarily low status, and it's not low paid. I pay the cleaners more per hour than I make for instance.

tilder Mon 29-Apr-13 19:05:17


I want your friends cleaner.

Cloverer Mon 29-Apr-13 19:05:43

I also don't feel it is particularly intimate - no more than having a babysitter in the house.

Maternitygold Mon 29-Apr-13 19:06:35

It's none of your business

WilsonFrickett Mon 29-Apr-13 19:07:25

My first cleaner had her own cleaning business and employed others, as well as cleaning herself.

My second cleaner was an immigrant with poor English who did a heck of a lot better earning above NMW in my house than she would have done in a factory or agricultural work.

My third cleaner was a mum easing her way back into work, she cleaned for a year and now is her own boss as a CM.

So I'm a bit hmm as to how I'm exploiting these bright, sparky, businesswomen.

As to being lazy? Do one. I earn £35 - £50 an hour as a freelancer. So if I take two hours out to clean I lose £70 - 100. And no, no-one else could do the 'surplus' work because it's my work for my clients.

You really need to hoick your judgey pants out.

And YYY to the pp (curry?) who said the more people pay for cleaning, the more it will be valued as a service.

My take on this?

Your friend has a good ethos, she is paying somebody a salary, which is an excellent choice that I approve of. I cant think of a better way to give somebody around £200 per month. smile

Portofino Mon 29-Apr-13 19:16:46

It is a service, like ironing and shopping even. In Belgium to (legally) hire household help, you buy service checks and employ someone through a a recognised agency. The service cheques are 8.50 euros and pay for one hour cleaning, or so much ironing etc. the govt ensures that the social security is paid for the employee and they are insured , and the best bit is that they are tax deductible. So Belgian families are positively encouraged to employ someone to clean and iron for them. Everyone benefits.

Portofino Mon 29-Apr-13 19:20:34

Meant to add, and it discourages cash in hand arrangements (illegal) so at the end of the day, more people employed, more people paying tax.

fluffymindy Mon 29-Apr-13 19:21:21

I have a lovely cleaner who I treat like royalty - she comes three times a week for a total of 10 hours and I pay her cash in hand. I have a lot of kids and it frees me up to do nicer things.

I used to have a cleaning job, lots of them in fact and saving my cash in hand money up enabled me to buy some buy to let properties which now give me a spanking income for doing relatively fuck all.... I have a degree and I never though of it as low status... I was a single Mum and it was the only thing I could feasibly do that paid enough money and fitted in with my life as I had no family support. Cleaning is as good a job as any and mainly defined by how nice the people are that you clean for. In that sense I have been very fortunate with the people I have worked for and I treat my lovely housekeeper like glass. She is good hearted and helps me make my life happier and more sorted. She is a gem and not at all low status in my eyes - she is indispensable as far as my family are concerned.

This OP says so much more about the person you are rather than the person you are complaining about. YABU

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 19:21:33

Part time jobs that take into account school hours and people who have children, who after all will one day become consumers, taxpayers in their own right, should be the norm. Why should, lets face it, a woman's options on returning to work be limited to this kind of work. There is NO equality in that and are you seriously suggesting that all people carrying out domestic cleaning jobs have had educational opportunities afforded to them at a young age and were living in great economic circumstances that allowed them to choose the career of 'cleaning' rather than being pushed into it due to economic necessity. Bollocks!

Kerryblue Mon 29-Apr-13 19:25:11

YABU with regards to your reasoning for having a cleaner ie she should do it all herself because she has the time etc. If she wants a cleaner, then she should have a cleaner - that is her business and hers alone.

I have a cleaner starting next Monday (God I can't wait!!). But then I have 4 dc, live on a farm, have 2 holiday cottages to run and my dh works long hours oh, and am a part time midwife too - so that is probably OK in your eyes!! But surely, anyone who wants a cleaner should have a cleaner no matter what their job, circumstances or number of dc.

However......... I do think YANBU with regard to the amount of stuff the cleaner does, twice a week. That, to me, is slightly over the top and a bit unnecessary but even so, if that's what she wants, then she is paying for it, so that's what she gets! And who gives a toss!

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 19:26:47

But ultimately she is not 'indispensable' though is she, if you could no longer afford her she goes! I can't stand this romanticising of the cleaner/employer dynamic, she is not your best buddy, you are her employer, that can't be arsed to do the drudgery, if she was no good you can hold her accountable for that and sack her, you can't do that with your 'gem' of a friend!

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Mon 29-Apr-13 19:27:01

"saving my cash in hand money up enabled me to buy some buy to let properties"

did you declare that income?

Ruralninja Mon 29-Apr-13 19:31:49

People get awfully confused about cleaners don't they? Is it because they are mostly women? Does the OP have similar objections to window-cleaners (mostly male)?

So much guff talked about cleaning - there's nothing noble about doing all your own cleaning, it doesn't make you a better person or anything, sorry!

HoHoHoNoYouDont Mon 29-Apr-13 19:37:05

Bloody hell Kerryblue, when do you have time to breathe. grin

fluffymindy Mon 29-Apr-13 19:38:10

None of your business is it? Of course I do and seriously unless DH lost his job, she is going nowhere. I have an obligation to her and I honour it. For instance, she was not here today, she is poorly and I will still pay her for the whole week seeing as she has 'our' cold anyway. And I can easily afford her and why should I do it all if I can have the time with my family. It works for her and it works for me. It is OK to not be arsed with your own drudgery if you can afford to pay someone else to do it and you treat them well. I have been there myself and I was treated extremely well by lovely people, it is possible to do the right thing by people.

Cloverer Mon 29-Apr-13 19:39:26

I don't really understand why cleaning is so awful but childcare is ok.

I have a babysitter 3 hours a week and a cleaner 3 hours a week. Guess who gets paid more?

HoHoHoNoYouDont Mon 29-Apr-13 19:40:31

I would rather clean than look after kids tbh smile

I pay someone to walk the dog, clean the house, clean the car, deliver my shopping, wash and clean the dogs glands and occasionally to do my ironing and as long as I can afford it it is feck all to do with anyone else as your friends situation is feck all to do with you!!!

fluffymindy Mon 29-Apr-13 19:41:56

I have to say on a responsibility thing I would not employ someone for so many hours thus providing a fair bit of income for them without being sure I could continue that.

I have a couple of disabled children to care for, and five in total, does that make it for you now that I have someone to help me with the stuff I cannot be arsed with? Charming attitude.

Fakebook Mon 29-Apr-13 19:45:14

I don't care. Her house sounds amazingly clean. I want to live there.

McNewPants2013 Mon 29-Apr-13 19:46:17

I wish i had the money to have a cleaner.

daftdame Mon 29-Apr-13 19:47:13

I cut my hair (sometimes badly blush) does that make me better than you, OP? Bet you probably pay for some fancy hairdo! hmm

Where will all this inverted snobbery end....

Still18atheart Mon 29-Apr-13 19:48:56

I'm a student and I have cleaner.

OK so she doesn't do my room but she does do the kitchen, the corridor, lift and the walkways to the flats and the porch. It comes out of my rent and even if there was the option to opt out I wouldn't.

My mum also has cleaner. She works less days than she has off. But she has a life on those days, which is something I think the op should get. Instead of poking her nose into places it just shouldn't be

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Mon 29-Apr-13 19:49:13

"None of your business is it? Of course I do "

was this in response to my question wrt declaring that income? i asked because you called it cash in hand which usually means no tax or NI paid. i.e undeclared income.

flowery Mon 29-Apr-13 19:50:08

"Employing a cleaner when you are perfectly capable of cleaning up your own crap, perpetuates and affirms inequalities that already exist in our society."

I could technically make my own burger from scratch, including baking the bread, putting together the burger, etc. If I decide to go and buy one from McDonalds instead, am I perpetuating and affirming inequalities then? Or am I contributing to the economy, keeping people in employment and paying tax?

What a load of nonsense. There are not that many jobs around at the moment, so anyone who employs someone to do something, as long as they treat the person fairly, has to be doing something right, surely?

Tortington Mon 29-Apr-13 19:51:10

i have a cleaner - proper company, lovely bloke with insurances etc.

he does one hour a week, best fucking tenner i spend a week i tell ya.

I can catagorically tell you that i am not taking advantage of my cleaner, who, by running his business so well and by being so fantastic, has taken on staff, and takes two rather luxurious holidays a year ( that i know of)

Andro Mon 29-Apr-13 19:51:28

YANBU to have a private opinion on ANYTHING (however agreeable or otherwise), you would be VVVVU to voice it - which you have already said you would never do. I really don't see the problem.

Ariel21 Mon 29-Apr-13 19:52:06

Wowsers. I would give my right elbow to be able to afford a cleaner. I hope that when I earn more, I will be able to have one. It's good, honest work (and skilled, actually) and better paid then many other jobs (including my own!)

Whether you do things yourself or pay others to do them, depends on what you have more of; money or time. If you want to pay to give yourself more time, and can afford it, then good for you.

Would you pay for a car wash? A ready prepared meal? A manicure? A carpet fitter?

flowery Mon 29-Apr-13 19:54:03

Presumably I'm perpetuating and affirming inequalities by employing a nanny as well, instead of giving up work and looking after my DC myself, while polishing my halo and slitting my wrists simultaneously?

WilsonFrickett Mon 29-Apr-13 19:55:22

I too would rather clean than mind children. And if things ever went completely tits up, I'd clean rather than do most other MW jobs. Feck bar work, factory work, agricultural work.

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 19:59:18

Fluffy, the 'none of your business' argument is not an argument to me as I'm not talking about particular individuals, my point is at a broader level and I was quite clear about what that argument was- it is definitely not concerned with how 'nice' you are to your cleaner.

Andro Mon 29-Apr-13 20:01:09

"Employing a cleaner when you are perfectly capable of cleaning up your own crap, perpetuates and affirms inequalities that already exist in our society."

Rubbish! I'm perfectly capable of doing all my own cleaning, in practice I have things I prefer to do other than spend hours cleaning leather sofas and polishing all the wood furniture in a large house. I can afford to pay a professional to do it for me, so that's what I do (I'm not talking about basic cleaning/tiding, I'm talking about the saddle soap/beeswax polish/deep cleaning the sofas/wood/carpets respectively). My cleaner does a top notch job, is paid well for what she does and now has numerous clients as a result of the recommendations (and references) I given. Everybody wins!

TheseFoolishThings Mon 29-Apr-13 20:01:50

I remember some of your previous posts OP (it's the way you 'bold' address posters) and I'm fairly sure you have a bit of a penchant for this sort of goady windy-uppy thing don't you?
Why not go get yourself a little cleaning job to fill your time more productively?
I'd love a cleaner by the way. I'd sit eating toast, watching telly whilst the cleaner cleaned around me. That's how much I hate cleaning!

DontmindifIdo Mon 29-Apr-13 20:01:58

Employing a cleaner when you are perfectly capable of cleaning up your own crap, perpetuates and affirms inequalities that already exist in our society. - but surely that applies to buying any service, not just cleaning? Actually, have some people working for others could be argued to perpetuate inequalities, so any employer/employee situation would apply to that.

there is guilt about cleaning, but then as others have said, in many communities (and definately in the north where I grew up) keeping a clean home was a sign of being a good wife - clean front door steps and windowsills particularly. It was seen as letting your DH down to not keep your house to an acceptable standard. While woman now work outside the home, cleaning and tidying are still predominately done by woman. We might still pay lip service to equality between genders, but as a society, it does seem to be the view that men are messy and woman are not, it's much more acceptable for a single man to live in a house that's a mess than a single woman - paying someone else to do the cleaning for you does seem to be seen more as 'wrong' because it's 'cheating'.

The comments on this thread are interesting, comment after comment about how busy we are so we hire a cleaner - not "I can afford it, I prefer not to do it myself and the cleaner does a better job than me" - you can apply that to so many other services and things we pay for.

I do'nt need a cleaner really, I just want one. But then, I don't need most of the things I spend my money on. When I look at "treats" to myself, not having to clean is quite a treat, I buy 3 hours of cleaning done by someone else - I'm sure to clean to the same standard it would take me more than 3 hours, but I'm buying myself at least 3 hours of free time, probably more like 4. time is precious for most people and cleaning is dull

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 20:08:58

Yes of course it's 'rubbish' isn't it, it's all a level playing field out in the working world, nothing at all to do with Educational opportunities afforded to you, what gender you are, your background, your family's wealth??

Still18atheart Mon 29-Apr-13 20:11:22

I think what annoys me most about this thread is the fact that op says privately then blabs the whole on mn so the whole world can see.

wintertimeisfun Mon 29-Apr-13 20:13:39

i don't think it is any of your business. i bet you are the sort of person who ie gives up smoking and then lectures other people who still smoke how stupid they are. whilst i get where you are coming from towards the end of your post ie there is no protection for cleaners that are not part of an agency, people hiring clearners are providing employment that for some is a good way of earning money especially at a time when jobs are hard to come by. perhaps you are envious she has a cleaner. i don't have a cleaner myself but would love to have one that cleans really thoroughly as i hate cleaning.

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 20:16:00

Thesefiolishthings I have been posting on here since 2007 and have always bolded posters I was addressing, it is only recently that this has been mentioned to me as an 'issue'.

Individualism abound on MN these days- as along as something makes me happy what else is there to worry about?

Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 20:17:54

Everyone 'blabs' about personal annoyances on Mumsnet as far as I can see.

thermalsinapril Mon 29-Apr-13 20:21:27

> Reading here how 99% of people are all for the cleaner, has made me think: sod it, I might just get one!

Go for it Esther, you won't look back! smile

MrsDeVere Mon 29-Apr-13 20:33:07

I am proper working class. Never had a cleaner, never will. At least three generations of my family (including me) have been cleaners.

So surely I should feel oppressed in some way? Downtrodden by the lazy middle classes?

I don't though. I would happily do that job for £45 a week. I would be good at it too.

People pay for all sorts of things they can do themselves easily. I have a remote control for my tvs even though I could get up and turn them over (like in the olden days) grin

Your mate probably hates cleaning. I hate decorating so save up to pay some poor downtrodden person to do it instead.

Its been said before on the thread but I can only see an issue when people take the piss. Some people get airs when they have a cleaner and seem to imagine they have 'staff' and think they are Lady DoDah.

But the are the sort of people who behave badly to the people who do their nails and thread their class.

I have seen some shockers on MN. Spoilt little princesses hmm

But mostly I have seen threads from posters who could do with being a bit less wishy washy with their cleaners.

All this fuss about cleaning. It seems very odd to me.

Fecklessdizzy Mon 29-Apr-13 20:52:16

What a fuss! It's only a bloody job like any other ...

I have a minimum wage job. I also have a cleaner. She makes more an hour than I do, but I like my job and hate cleaning and she does more in two hours than I manage in a day and knowing she's coming forces me to tidy up so she can get on! grin

She used to have a high status, high pressure job and never got to spend much time with her family so she got together with her sister and started a cleaning company.

She's happy. I'm happy. Our respective families are happy. Everyone wins.


Goldenbear Mon 29-Apr-13 21:00:18

The question should be- why does she have to clean to spend more time with her family?

My parents are from working class backgrounds, my great grandmother was a maid for the Swedish nobility - this information does not validate or invalidate my view, it is irrelevant.

eccentrica Mon 29-Apr-13 21:15:59

Goldenbear I agree with you, it makes me cringe when people describe their cleaner as 'lovely', 'a gem', 'wonderful', 'indispensable'. It's exactly the language that was used a generation (or more) ago and it's so patronising. If it's the same as any other service (car servicing/hairdressing/restaurant cooking etc.) why do these particular terms come up over and over again?

What's wrong with "I have a cleaner and she is very good at her job, which is cleaning". Can you imagine "my mechanic is an absolute darling, I don't know where we'd be without him"?

Fecklessdizzy Mon 29-Apr-13 21:41:32

Goldenbear Her old job involved a lot of travelling and weekends away, apparently.

I'm a bit fuzzy about how regarding someone as a valued professional is patronising - you wouldn't object to saying so-and-so's teacher is lovely, would you?

Cloverer Mon 29-Apr-13 21:44:08

People use those terms about nannies, babysitters, childminders, home carers - anyone who comes into your home (or you go to theirs) regularly and does something that helps you/your family.

EarlyInTheMorning Mon 29-Apr-13 21:44:23

YABU and jealous of your friend. And so am I. I want a cleaner too!!

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Mon 29-Apr-13 21:45:47

it's a bit different with a mechanic or a hairdresser though, unless you require their services weekly or twice weekly in order for your home life to run smoothly or take the pressure off you. and tbh if you need to see your mechanic every week then they're not a great mechanic are they?

what cleaners do doesn't really compare to what a hairdresser or mechanic does.

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Mon 29-Apr-13 21:47:02

and by that i mean a cleaner coming in weekly or twice weekly has a far bigger effect on your life than an annual car service or getting your hair trimmed just how you like it every 8 weeks.

OrbisNonSufficit Mon 29-Apr-13 21:58:09

I've never spent much time analysing cleaning but this thread has made me really ponder it. And how much I hate doing it/am crap at it, I never understand how it can be satisfying when it gets dirty within 5 seconds of finishing. But that aside...

In addition to curryeater's points, which I do agree with, I wonder if there is an evangelisation of doing your own cleaning/housekeeping in our cultural heritage (as women, I'm not aware of many men who measure self-worth by the cleanliness of their loo) because for so long it was the 'job' of women and it's quite natural to take pride in your job. I know in my mum's generation (WWII baby) it was assumed that when you had your first baby you would give up your career- for someone proud of their contribution that leaves motherhood and housekeeping to be 'good at' (or competitive about, for those who lean that way). So it makes perfect sense to be house proud from that perspective. Not relevant these days, when it's possible to make a valuable contribution in lots of other ways, but I suppose if you were brought up with those values it would stick.

There are some other interesting subtexts in the discussion about privacy (particularly about bodily functions) and some kind of upstairs/downstairs household staff thing, but I'm not British so I don't think I'm qualified to try to figure those out...

Fecklessdizzy Mon 29-Apr-13 22:00:45

It's probably not very helpful to lump all cleaners together and make assumptions about them, either ... I'm sure some are badly paid and expected to work long hours - just not any of the ones that I know.

MummaBubba123 Mon 29-Apr-13 22:06:48

Really? It's up to her, surely. If you're her friend... why judge her? Accept that she has quirky aspects to her (in your opinion) as, I'm sure, do you.
Who cares. If you're against it, don't get one yourself. End of!

Viviennemary Mon 29-Apr-13 22:23:11

If she wants a cleaner and she can afford one why not. I just don't really get the problem you have with this. You can think she is lazy if that's what you want to think. Maybe she is. So what.

Maybe polishing, dusting and so on aren't what she wants to spend her leisure time doing. You obviously don't like the idea of a cleaner so don't have one. She does want one so does have one. What's wrong with I am a bone idle peson so I employ a cleaner. Nothing. grin

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 29-Apr-13 22:26:04


What a jealous little person you are.

Now go back to cleaning your toilet and scrubbing your step.


Journalist? hmm


Sparklyboots Mon 29-Apr-13 22:35:41

Haven't read the full thread so hope I am just repeating what others have said:


I regard it as a proper and political response to capitalist patriarchy to employ a cleaner because for us to have any chance of equality, we must professionalise all the labour that goes into producing and maintaining workers. Especially because the unpaid labour done in capitalist systems usually dis-empowers the worker performing it, relative to paid labourers; and because it is notable that the majority of the unpaid work that goes into our economy is associated with traditionally feminine work.

scarlettsmummy2 Mon 29-Apr-13 22:38:48

You sound like a bit of a weirdo to be honest. I have a cleaner, she does it for a bit of extra money to treat her grandchildren. She regularly takes holidays as she is a sun worshipper and I in know way feel I exploit her, she gets £10 an hour for not terribly strenuous work, and through me, now does our neighbours two, pocketing her £60 for a mornings work. I really don't feel remotely guilty and she just makes my life a bit easier.

scarlettsmummy2 Mon 29-Apr-13 22:40:13

Sorry that should be no and too! Silly phone.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 29-Apr-13 22:49:36

I have a cleaner, she is invaluable.
1) she saved my marriage
2) she has kept a part of the house running when I couldn't
3) she is lovely and kind and has happily cleaned round me when I have laid in bed wishing I was dead.
Never really cared what people thought of me having a cleaner.

LittleBearPad Mon 29-Apr-13 22:54:52

YABU and v odd. It's none of your business what she spends her money on.

I pay my cleaner holiday pay and a Christmas bonus too. I also pay her well over minimum wage.

UptheChimney Mon 29-Apr-13 23:11:11

You are completely unreasonable. And why are you so obsessed and judgemental? Maybe she has better uses of her time than to do cleaning. I know I have. I've had a cleaner for years. And mostly, it's just me, unless the DS descends. It's not arduous work in a "naice" person's home, particularly if there's only one person usually living there, and it gives someone a job.

UptheChimney Mon 29-Apr-13 23:12:47

I regard it as a proper and political response to capitalist patriarchy to employ a cleaner because for us to have any chance of equality, we must professionalise all the labour that goes into producing and maintaining workers. Especially because the unpaid labour done in capitalist systems usually dis-empowers the worker performing it, relative to paid labourers; and because it is notable that the majority of the unpaid work that goes into our economy is associated with traditionally feminine work

And this! Brilliantly put -- I think it'll be a "cut out and keep" post for me.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 29-Apr-13 23:16:28

"People get awfully confused about cleaners don't they? Is it because they are mostly women? Does the OP have similar objections to window-cleaners (mostly male)?"

Hear hear Ruraininja

SomethingOnce Mon 29-Apr-13 23:40:21

I'd rather spend £180 a month on... loads of other stuff, and live with a bit of dust, but each to their own.

Goldenbear Tue 30-Apr-13 00:14:09

Eccentrica, it is rare for someone to agree with me on here, even if it is only to a point. It is an interesting point as to how you would refer to rhe people that do other jobs for you and proves the very dated view that people still hold of 'cleaners' as it is unlikely that you would refer to your soliciter for example, as a 'real gem' or your accountant as a 'real treasure'.

It is not a 'very odd' opinion to hold at all, it is a perfectly reasonable and legitimate one. It is not some kind of modern day phenomena to believe that it is wrong to employ a domestic cleaner.

Sparklyboots, who are you kidding- yourself? Equality it not going to be achieved from making cleaning jobs 'official'! FFS it is 2013, where's the progress, I don't want a cleaning job because it fits around school drop off/pick up of my children. I want to return to the kind of position I held prior to Maternity leave and/or career break, on a PT basis, that Is accommodating of family commitments- they thought I was the best person for the job when I didn't have children but not post DC.

If you want to make things more equal you don't start with officializing working conditions- to me this is a reactivecresponse. A proactive one would look at ways to minimise those inequalities to begin with so the prospects for children at school are similar and not determined so much by social and economic circumstances.

musickeepsmesane Tue 30-Apr-13 00:27:56

Goldenbear - if you cannot put in full times hours are you able to do the job properly? You are changing the goalposts by demanding to do a previously full time post on your terms. Would you employ a childminder while doing PT? It may be proactive to look for a way to minimise inequalities but there will never be a solution. At best, looking for solutions would create jobs. It is unrealistic to expect an employment utopia, someone, somewhere will always feel things are unequal. Respecting each other and treating each other as equals regardless of employment would be a great way to minimise inequalities but that won't happen either. I am not a pessimist just a realist.

Sparklyboots Tue 30-Apr-13 00:36:43

I'm not kidding anyone- I just think people doing cleaning/ maintaining households/ looking after children etc. ARE working, they ARE supporting the economy by supporting workers, and they deserve the same rights and protections as other workers, like mat leave, employment protection and fair pay and conditions.

Goldenbear Tue 30-Apr-13 00:39:22

Well luckily my previous boss didn't think like you and he very much thought I was the person they wanted for that post but I didn't want to return to work at the time, I wanted to be at home with my DS. He was unusual in taking the 'best practice' line in recruitment and I appreciate that this position is quite rare but IMO it shouldn't be and the situation as it is now is not good enough.

Goldenbear Tue 30-Apr-13 00:43:14

Yes of course they deserve the same employment protection but that should be a given in 2013- let's face it, people who employ cleaners are not looking to address this issue, they are looking for someone to clean up the mess they have made!

eccentrica Tue 30-Apr-13 00:48:26

I think there are valid points on both sides of the discussion here, but I do think that there's an unwillingness to recognise that in 99% of cases, the person paying is better off and from a 'higher' social class than the person cleaning.

All of the cleaners I have known are immigrants (from the Phillippines, Poland, and Iraq) who would struggle to find 'mainstream' (better paid) work, and in some cases are illiterate.

Is it good that they were able to find work? Yes. Did/do they have good relationships with the people employing them? Yes. Does that mean there is nothing at all troubling or awkward about it as a relationship? No.

In that sense I know what the OP is getting at, and I think people should at least be a bit more reflective. It's not true of other jobs - babysitting, hairdressing, etc. and it is worth thinking about.

musickeepsmesane Tue 30-Apr-13 01:02:37

I have been a cleaner and I have had a cleaner. I have worked as a domestic and I have run a domestic dept in a hospital. At no time have I swapped social class. To assume that your relationship with your boss is awkward because you are a cleaner?? You can have an awkward relationship with any boss. Just look at the Prime Minister and the Queen! It depends on the boss/employee dynamic not the job.

MonstersInception Tue 30-Apr-13 01:10:19

I work a six day week as a teacher in a boarding school. I want to not spend my precious free time cleaning so I can rest and unwind. Someone else is welcome to come and do my marking.

My cleaner works hard, is really lovely and is employed with consideration through an agency where she is taken care of. I would not consider my class particularly relevant - it's circumstances.

Sparklyboots Tue 30-Apr-13 01:15:01

I am saying everyone who does that stuff should be regarded as a worker, not just people who currently do it professionally. I'm suggesting that all labour be professionalised because a capitalist economy can only recognise value where a price has been attached, and while we might have personal values that differ, the fact remains that if you want something to be valued in a capitalist society you have to quantify its market value. The failure to do so leaves everyone providing unpaid for labour relatively disadvantaged as the market literally has no means of recognising their value. This is at play where we see particular kinds of work as both the particular remit of particular classes of people and done out of personal duty rather than done to support the economy. E.g. women and childcare/ housework.

Honestly, would you view a male friend with the contempt if he were to employ a cleaner?

ExRatty Tue 30-Apr-13 01:32:37

When I worked FT I had a cleaner as I literally had no time to clean
My job meant that I worked at least 50 hrs every week but more often 60+.
Bizarrely I quite enjoy cleaning and was an office cleaner during university.
I think it is a decent job. I certainly appreciated my cleaner's work and I appreciated the job when I needed it.
I had a male cleaner for a while but he was training to be a life coach and that was obvs where his talents lay

MidniteScribbler Tue 30-Apr-13 02:27:48

I don't have a cleaner at the moment, but when I move and go back to work I certainly will have one again. As a teacher, I'm working all day, then marking and lesson preping for a lot of my so called 'spare time'. Somone coming in and doing the vacuuming, scrubbing bathrooms, wiping down kitchen doors, windows, etc was a huge saviour on my time, and meant I could just do a quick whip around every morning to keep it tidy in between visits.

My cleaner was brilliant. She could do in two hours what it would take me five (and an lot of grumbling) to do. She was a sub contractor through an agency, and paid them a small fee to manage phone calls and insurance, but she could negotiate her own hours and rates, and she was making a very healthy full time wage, in fact more than she was making in her former role as a nurse. She said that she loved it because she was happy with her own company and didn't need to worry about hospital policy or shift work, she could just do her work and go. I know her work is well and truly appreciated by the people she worked for.

MummaBubba123 Tue 30-Apr-13 05:25:40

Gotta be, NorksAreMessy!

MonkeyingAroundTown Tue 30-Apr-13 05:30:46

I think you are jealous and being unreasonable. Oh how nice it would be to afford to have a cleaner to keep your house nice and clean.I hate cleaning the oven! Probably doesn't even get done once a year in our house!

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 07:32:16

Not saying her friend shouldnt have a cleaner but,

Does the issue still seem a bit of "upstairs downstairs" to you, or even a white/black issue for you?

QuietTiger Tue 30-Apr-13 07:33:34

I have cleaners and "shock horror" I don't work full time or have children.

Frankly, I can't be arsed to clean my house (although I am capable of it), because I hate cleaning. DH & I also hate living in a dirty house. Therefore we have cleaners as it solves both problems.

YABU - there nothing wrong with having a cleaner. It's perfectly reasonable.

MrsMelons Tue 30-Apr-13 08:11:22

My cleaner is someone I have known all my life, her husband has a professional job, her dad worked with my dad, she lived in the same esate as me growing up and and she now lives in the next street to me in an identical house. The sweeping generalisations about class etc are ridiculous.

Even before I worked long hours she did my cleaning (I worked 3 days a week but had 1 DS at school and 1 pre school so he was off with me) because I felt it enhanced my life and was better for us as a family.

She likes her job, she cleans some quite nice houses of much better off people than me/her (and I always clean the toilet quickly first grin ) she chooses when she works and we agree between us when she works in the school holidays, the shorter ones she usually takes off then in the summer we figure something out as she is usually abroad at some point and so are we.

Goldenbear - there are only some jobs that can possibly be part time, you cannot expect that ALL full time jobs convert into part time jobs, big companies can cope better but sometimes a small business would suffer if they had to change people to part time unless a job share would work. I think its a thin arguement and this is speaking has someone who has gone back to work part time to a professional job (30 hours) however it is a struggle and I pretty much work full time hours anyway and just don't get paid for them.

KittensoftPuppydog Tue 30-Apr-13 08:18:59

I've been a cleaner and employed them. It's a good job and much less demeaning than some of the career jobs I've done. I'd rather dust someone's house than have to spout a talk a load of rubbish that I don't believe in.

DontmindifIdo Tue 30-Apr-13 08:46:44

<have been known to call an accountant "a treasure">

I first got a cleaner after talking to a friend who has no DP and no DCs, I'd praised her new mascara and said her eyelashes looked fabulous, and she told me she had the semi-perm fake eyelashes done. She then started telling me about how much it cost at her salon, I nodded and smiled and thought "I could get a fortnightly cleaner for that". then I thought, I can afford this, but when would I get the time to go to the salon? She also has fabulous nails, but again, the time to actually go and get it done, not the money was what was stopping me. If I got some spare time to go to a salon, I ended up using it for a wax or something else that counted as 'maintenence'.

then it hit me, what I really wanted wasn't to be able to go get these things done, i wanted more time to myself, I'd happily have less money but be able to spend any 'me time' I got sat in the sunshine or a coffee shop with one of the piles of books I'd not got round to reading. When i get some time away from DS (my MIL takes him out for a couple of hours every other week) I'd end up using it to clean, not doing something nice for myself. If DH took DS out for a 'daddy son afternoon', I'd run round doing housework.

I buy myself 3-4 hours a week by having cleaners. As a treat to myself, that time is so much more valuable than any "stuff" I could buy with the same money. But then, there does seem to be a more of a view that there's something morally wrong as well about having a lot of free time if you're a woman. That free time should be filled with productive things, whereas the fact that having a cleaner for us also means that as well as I get a few hours to myself, DH gets to go out on his bike most Sunday mornings, but then noone thinks he should sacrifice his "me time" to clean, it's only the woman of the family who are seen as wrong to pay someone else to do what they could easily do themselves and really could make time for if they sacrificed time.

Kleinzeit Tue 30-Apr-13 08:49:19

Unami- I once employed a cleaner who shared your attitude, she told me so herself. She said she wanted to work for people who were elderly or infirm and unable to clean, and she’d only come to me as a favour to the agency since my regular cleaner couldn’t come any more. She clearly felt she was a cut above cleaning as a job in its own right. Well, I say I employed her but that day she did the worst clean of anyone I’ve ever employed and I told her not to come back. The cleaners I employ are professional, they do their job well, and they get paid.

(I sort of imagine that when you stay in a hotel, you clean your own room, and the toilet too - though I suppose you're not that unreasonable grin)

redwallday Tue 30-Apr-13 09:00:32

Wow, jealous much??

Goldenbear Tue 30-Apr-13 09:16:12

MrsMelons, I know it can be done I.e more flexibility in jobs as part of my remit in my previous job was putting the measures in place to achieve this but Emloyers are reluctant to do so and not motivated to do so.

thermalsinapril Tue 30-Apr-13 09:26:45

> there's an unwillingness to recognise that in 99% of cases, the person paying is better off and from a 'higher' social class than the person cleaning.

Isn't that the case of any occasion when a middle-class person pays for a service from a working-class person? Cleaning is just one of a million examples.

BerylStreep Tue 30-Apr-13 09:28:13

DontmindifIdo - good post.

FasterStronger Tue 30-Apr-13 09:36:02

^ I do think that there's an unwillingness to recognise that in 99% of cases, the person paying is better off and from a 'higher' social class than the person cleaning^

this is putting too much meaning on providing a service. I provide services in the field of X to my clients.

if my clients say jump - I say ok, how high?

because they are paying me for the service X.

it does not mean anything - other than they are paying me to do X for them. it does not mean they are correct all the time, better than me, more intelligent than me or anything at all.

it is just something they are asking me to do and I need to do if I want to be paid for doing it.

cleaning is just another type of service.

MrsMelons Tue 30-Apr-13 09:40:36

Goldenbear - I know it CAN be done - I do it myself, however if I was higher up in my job it was be physically impossible to do in the hours I am able (or willing) to work so not always black and white.

I work for public sector so they always do all they can to accomodate the staff but for instance my friend had his own business and employed 1 person as his assistant. They were full time but went on maternity leave then wanted to come back 4 days (at most) per week after that.

He tried to advertise for a job share but could not get people suitable who would only work 1 or 2 days a week who had the skills/qualifications required. He could not manage with someone helping him less hours so he ended up having to say no as could not afford to have 2 part time people working more than full time altogether. At the end of the day he shouldn't have to suffer financially himself but if he had more staff he probably could have shared the work round differently etc and I am sure he would have done.

WilsonFrickett Tue 30-Apr-13 09:41:01

The class thing is a complete red herring. I am a working-class woman who is now a freelancer/has own business. Of the 4 cleaners I've employed, I would say 3 of them were exactly the same as me. The woman who was an immigrant, I don't actually know what her class was in her home country, but as someone with poor English, as I said the only other jobs available to her would be factory/agricultural. I think the terms and conditions I offered were more pleasant (and better paid). Did I feel bad about that? No. (neither did I feel heroic about 'rescuing' her from stuffing the garlic butter into the chicken kievs.) It was a simple exchange of labour for money.

Fecklessdizzy Tue 30-Apr-13 09:41:45

eccentrica You can't make sweeping generalisations about individuals based on the job they happen to be doing at the moment.

The cleaner where I work does the floors in the morning and the marketing and coach party bookings in the afternoon - I met the lady who does our house because we're both on the PTA at the local school and got chatting while minding a cake stall - My SIL cleans to fund her horses and holidays ... It's a flexible, socially useful job!

flowery Tue 30-Apr-13 09:47:33

"there's an unwillingness to recognise that in 99% of cases, the person paying is better off and from a 'higher' social class than the person cleaning"

Therefore..what? Do you really think people in a 'higher' social class/with more money should never pay people from a 'lower' social class for services?

When I pay people to do my garden and lay my patio as I will be in a couple of weeks, should I check they are all better off than me and posher before I employ them? Should I require a degree from anyone who serves me in a restaurant or cuts my hair or whatever?

Sorry, I'm just not clear about what the problem is with the fact that someone paying for a service is better off than someone providing the service?

Bonsoir Tue 30-Apr-13 09:49:20

What a bizarre OP.

flowery Tue 30-Apr-13 09:50:33

I'm not being obtuse. I genuinely don't understand why some posters think I should feel guilty for employing a cleaner but not, say, a gardener or window cleaner? Far as I can tell the only difference is the cleaner is a woman and the garden service and window cleaning are done by men, and the cleaner comes in the house while the others stay outside.

Am I missing something? Maybe I am.

Bonsoir Tue 30-Apr-13 09:51:42

Some people seem to think it is distasteful or exploitative to have a cleaner. They need to examine their own prejudices.

curryeater Tue 30-Apr-13 09:59:45

Some great posts on here!
Just one caveat to my pro-cleaner position: I HATE HATE HATE it when "get a cleaner" is presented on here (or irl) as a solution to the problem of living with a lazy git. In that case, it seems to have the opposite effect of bringing unseen unpaid labour into the economic light; when done in this way, for these reasons, it is a mechanism by which a man (usually) can persist in selfishly refusing to engage with housework. (hiring the cleaner itself is a way of engaging with housework, and putting your money towards it is a way of engaging; doing these things is always left to the woman when the suggestion is made on those threads, and I hate it so much)

Fecklessdizzy Tue 30-Apr-13 10:08:25

And if clearing up other people's mess is demeaning ( which it isn't, it's just a job ) what do you propose we should do about cleaning schools and hospitals, or emptying the bins or sorting out fly-tipping?

Viviennemary Tue 30-Apr-13 10:11:00

I think men should pull their weight around the house all things being equal. But I'd rather pay a cleaner than have some man do half a job. The same I'd rather pay a proper decorator than have DH's drippy painting.

Saski Tue 30-Apr-13 10:11:35

I think it's pretty hilarious that some people think there's no class issue at play when it comes to cleaners, that the average cleaner has lots of opportunities and has simply chosen to be a cleaner; or, that a person may well BE and cleaner and HIRE a cleaner in their lifetime. Despite there being such a person on this thread, I think it's fair to say that this is the overwhelming minority of cleaners.

This doesn't mean it's bad to hire a cleaner, but perhaps just makes it a bit disingenuous to say "what's the problem! it's a service transaction!". Sure, it is, but there's a bit more to it.

piprabbit Tue 30-Apr-13 10:14:23

Perhaps the assumption goes along the lines of "I don't like doing X, therefore nobody likes doing X, therefore nobody should have to do X even if they are being paid".

There are lots of jobs that I don't want to do, but I don't assume that the people doing them also hate them and are being forced or exploited in some way. I could never be a chiropodist, salesperson, dentist, proofreader, cleaner or dentist - mostly because I would be so crap that nobody would be willing to pay me.

flowery Tue 30-Apr-13 10:14:53

"there's a bit more to it"

Genuinely, what bit more? What else is there to it? Unless the same bit more applies to window cleaners, gardeners or handy'men', what bit more applies to cleaners only?

I'm really really not being obtuse, I just can't see the difference.

MummytoKatie Tue 30-Apr-13 10:15:53

I described my GP as "wonderful" the other day. And commented that I don't know what I'd do without him.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 30-Apr-13 10:20:00

Two of my aunts are private cleaners (they clean for my sister). Another has done it in the past. They enjoy their work, work for themselves and in no way feel exploited.

YABU and a bit weird about this OP.

MrsMelons Tue 30-Apr-13 10:23:13

I think it is the generalisations that have irritated people though Saski.

Yes it may well be that there were limited opportunities available to that person so that is all they could do or they have chosen to be a cleaner as like in my cleaners case she never worked as married young, had children then wanted to work once the children were at school so it suited as the hourly rate is high compared to office jobs for people with few qualifications.

I am not sure what has been said just applies to cleaners but to other lower paid jobs in a way like say shop assistants or childcare assistants who have a very low hourly rate and few benefits. Many of my friends do jobs like this but I don't consider myself better than them or of a higher class. I am qualified in my profession (and I am hired for private work to provide a service) and it is the job I chose, other people choose differently. I didn't have any more opportunities as a child - its just how things are.

I do understand though, that in some cases there is more to it but I am not sure it is the majority IME.

MrsMelons Tue 30-Apr-13 10:25:51

BTW - all my friends have told me they wouldn't want to do my job if they were paid 10 times more their salary of £7ph. I am an accountant and have heard this many a time. Maybe I should start feeling more exploited doing a job most people would prefer to pull teeth than do!

MummytoKatie Tue 30-Apr-13 10:27:07

Oh - and my cleaner is significantly posher than me. She's a post grad law student so it is fairly likely that she will employ a cleaner at some point in the future.

It is a bit weird having someone in your house who isn't a friend or family member - for example I suspect that she knew I was pregnant before my parents did. (As I had the pregnancy book on the dining room table) But when I gave birth to dd she got stuck. We attempted a forceps delivery which failed. She then had to be pushed back up again and held there to stop her squashing the cord whilst the surgeons got in through a c-section. "Take care not to cut my hand" said the surgeon holding her - ho ho ho! To be honest once you have had strangers do that, having someone in your kitchen hoovering is really not a big deal.

flowery Tue 30-Apr-13 10:36:07

It's very vague to say 'there's a class issue'. What is the issue exactly, and how is it related to class?

curryeater Tue 30-Apr-13 10:39:21

Saski - It is true that society is not fair and it is true that some people are exploited more than others.
What do you think we should do about this, as individuals making choices? I think hiring a cleaner (or anyone) under fair terms of employment is doing NOTHING to perpetuate this. If you feel guilty that you have earning power that allows you to contract out things you don't want to do, and someone else has been systematically denied the opportunity to achieve that earning power, the solution is not to ... not hire a cleaner, put all your money in the bank and scrub the toilet at 1am while you sob with fatigue. That doesn't help the person who never got a chance to go to university.

ShadowStorm Tue 30-Apr-13 10:42:06

If someone can afford a cleaner, is paying a fair wage, and isn't forcing the cleaner to work for her, I don't see what the problem with it is.

Regardless of whether they 'need' a cleaner, or just don't like cleaning, and would prefer to spend their free time doing other stuff.

Also, saying that someone should cutting back on FT hours so that she has time to clean and someone else has access to the surplus of work she has, is a silly argument.
There's many jobs out there which need specific qualifications. Cleaning doesn't. Even though some people are undoubtedly much better at cleaning than others. The cleaner will probably not be able to get access to your friends surplus work, if your friend were to cut her FT hours back (so she can clean herself) and sack the cleaner. The cleaner would probably just end up with less work, and therefore less money if she couldn't find another client.

Interesting thread.

I don't agree with the OP necessarily but her responses have been considered and polite.

I am a SAHM with a cleaner and I do feel vaguely guilty about it (I could clean my house myself, I just don't want to). I also have a gardener, and feel vaguely guilty about that too. I have recently had an electrician in to move some sockets and a plumber to fit a new sink. I didn't feel guilty about them.

Luckily, I have managed to suppress the feelings of guilt grin

blueberryupsidedown Tue 30-Apr-13 10:55:22

In many countries, it is considered selfish to not employ people if you can afford it. It provides employment. I lived in central america for a while, in different countries, and it's completely normal to have someone (or many people) working for you, it makes money go round, it's fine and completely acceptable and not something to be embarrased about. I am a childminder and although many people feel that it is a 'bottom of the food chain' kind of job it's not and I am very proud of what I do. I also have a cleaner because I can't keep up with looking after children most days and keeping everything clean and hygenic. I def don't feel embarrased about it. And I wouldn't cut back on my paid hours to do it myself.

Goldenbear Tue 30-Apr-13 10:56:38

Flowery, there is nothing vague about the association between class, the hierarchy of 'work' and domestic hired help, do you know nothing about history at all? Those associations continue to exist for a vast majority of people doing this work whether Mumsnetters like to believe it or not. It is a nonsense to say that those doing cleaning jobs have on a whole chosen this work rather than being forced to take the work due to economic necessity. If people enjoy cleaning and want to do it as a job then that is absolutely a valid choice but if it is the only option available due to circumstances- not so fine and this is what keeps women in low paid work.

HazleNutt Tue 30-Apr-13 10:59:11

I'm in France and here if you hire a cleaner officially, meaning she gets all the benefits and social security, the fees are tax deducible. Brilliant idea I think - encourages people to provide employment opportunities even if they could do the job themselves.

Absy Tue 30-Apr-13 10:59:23

I freaking LOVE our cleaner. I'd marry her if I could. She was originally hired by (male, living on their own) a friend, and then a second friend so we decided to hire her as well.

The way I see it is:
- we're providing flexible employment (she has a young daughter) to someone who needs it
- she was actually very happy when we hired her, as she was looking to pick up more hours
- we asked around about how much people pay per hour, and we pay our cleaner more than others we've heard of, as I'd rather pay someone a decent wage than scrimp
- now, instead of spending weekends cleaning, I get to spend time with DH.

The way I look at it, DH and I win (we have full on, long hours jobs - and we can't cut back on hours - spending hours cleaning is not the best use of the little time we have together) and the cleaner wins (she has work, she gets a decent pay, sets her own hours) so what's not to love?

And, this is actually the second cleaner that original friend had - the last one then went on to set up her own property management business. Very often, this kind of job is a temporary thing and doesn't necessarily mean they're "lower class"

FasterStronger Tue 30-Apr-13 11:04:59

Goldenbear there is nothing vague about the association between class, the hierarchy of 'work' and domestic hired help

yes historically but does that mean it is fixed forever?

historically a gardener would be a low status male job. DM's gardener owns a house worth over 500k. he is in his 50s and wants a later life job outside an office.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Tue 30-Apr-13 11:11:56

I have a cleaner and I am so happy that I do. I hate cleaning. I don't care who disapproves either wink

Cloverer Tue 30-Apr-13 11:12:34

I have been forced into low paid work by necessity. Not employing a cleaner/babysitter isn't going to improve any of our lives though.

The kind of changes you want are at a structural level, not a personal level Goldenbear.

Fecklessdizzy Tue 30-Apr-13 11:19:17

Just because someone needs a job, how is that an arguement for not employing them? confused

Saski Tue 30-Apr-13 11:19:24

Gardening is a job that I can more reasonably envisage someone choosing as a career, rather than falling into through lack of choice.

Window cleaning seems a more reasonable service because of the equipment involved and a window cleaner can very easily achieve some economies of scale, much like a car wash - that strikes me more as division of labor than outsourcing undesirable labor.

As I've said before, I do have a cleaner - but I do really wrestle with this relationship because I find it awkward. A few things that bother me: 1. My cleaner has to clean my house and then go home and clean her house. 2. My cleaner doesn't have the option to NOT be a cleaner, because her English is too bad. 3. No matter how hard my cleaner works, she will never reach economic parity with me, not because I work harder than her but because of her own lack of social mobility.

I don't think anyone needs to agree with me, these are just my own personal issues with the whole institution. I have similar feelings about nannies - mostly because I feel that it's changed so much since I was growing up. When I was young, I babysat my neighbors and my parents were friends with the parents and I would have dinner with them, and I went on to my own career and then I was faced with having a babysitter (actually, a nanny). Nannies are now not young girls having a gap year before university; they tend to be a particular nationality and socio-economic group (note I say "tend"). They probably won't go on to have their own nannies later in life. It's the lack of social mobility that I have a problem with.

eccentrica Tue 30-Apr-13 11:20:11

thermalsinapril Isn't that the case of any occasion when a middle-class person pays for a service from a working-class person? Cleaning is just one of a million examples.

Not really a million examples - there is something very specific about cleaning up dirt and mess, and it's bollocks to pretend otherwise. In India the caste of people who clean mess is the lowest of the low. For centuries and in all countries I know of, the rich have lived in nice clean houses made that way by the poor, who cleaned it for them. But suddenly it's completely different now?

People have given examples in this thread of graduates or super-successful women who happen to clean for extra cash but frankly that doesn't represent the overwhelming majority of cases and is disingenuous.

Window cleaners climb up ladders to first/second/higher floor windows. A lot of people (like me) couldn't do that, no head for heights.

Hairdressing is a skilled, qualified and prestigious job.

Gardeners have specialist knowledge and it has long been a prestigious job. The names of famous gardeners like Capability Brown and John Tradescant (sp?) have lasted for centuries. The same is not true of the chambermaids and scullery maids who cleaned the houses.

prettybird Tue 30-Apr-13 11:20:45


One of your "concerns" is that she doesn't have children so surely she doesn't generate enough dirt to warrant a cleaner twice a week. Dust falls, cookers get dirty, carpets need hoovered independent of how many people there are in the house 1 or 10. Yes with more there will be more dirt, but it's not a straight correlation.

When I was young, my parents had a cleaner who came in twice a week. My mum was a student and my dad would just have qualified as a doctor (having paid his way through medical school as a foreign student) so money was tight. It was an "investment" they felt justified, so it released them to do other things - in their case spend time with their family - but in your friend's case, is her own time no less valuable purely because she is on her own? hmm Being single doesn't mean your own time is not worth prioritising - and if you can afford to "delegate" certain tasks, why not do so.

When I was young, I used to throw strops mutter about having to tidy up before the cleaner came. Now that I'm an adult and would like my own cleaner I have finally understood the cleaner was there to clean and not to tidy grin

I think the OP is a good friend in that she has not said anything to her friend and has come on here and risking the flaming to get a different perspective.

Dh doesn't like the idea of a cleaner either. I did organise one for a few blissful weeks a number of years ago, but as he didn't like it, I cancelled her. As a direct consequence, dh does all the hoovering and dusting though grin. I do most of the cooking, washing and ironing though and will very occasionally wash the kitchen floor wink

squoosh Tue 30-Apr-13 11:23:30

YAB excruciatingly U.

Who gives a flying whatsit if she's lazy. There is no moral obligation on women to clean.

marciaoverstrand Tue 30-Apr-13 11:24:12

I'm a cleaner,earn good money, don't feel `put upon, glad of the work and its fits in with my life. I worked in retail for years, now that was a shit jobsmile

wreckitralph Tue 30-Apr-13 11:25:06

My cleaner just left. She cleaned all my house and did the ironing whilst I sat on my arse and surfed the net.
So yes I do think YABU grin

SanitaryOwl Tue 30-Apr-13 11:26:24

I have just booked a cleaner.

HazleNutt Tue 30-Apr-13 11:27:18

there are many jobs that pay less than most cleaners get and do not have particularly high status either. I don't see anybody saying that we should not use the services of all those people though?

FasterStronger Tue 30-Apr-13 11:28:06

Capability Brown - have you see the gardens at Blenheim Place? the hundreds of people who actually did the hard graft names have been forgotten

there is something very specific about cleaning up dirt and mess, and it's bollocks to pretend otherwise. In India the caste of people who clean mess is the lowest of the low

I don't think you can compare removing the poo from a drop toilet with your hands with scrubbing an already clean, flushing toilet with a brush.

I have cleaned the toilets at my work when the cleaner was on holiday and I am the boss.

these cleaner threads always seem to get down to the idea that you leave a dirty toilet for the cleaner to clean. in my house, if you dirty the toilet, you deal with it.

Cloverer Tue 30-Apr-13 11:28:31

Saski - what nationality are nannies? Nannying tends to be quite a well paid career in my experience.

Cloverer Tue 30-Apr-13 11:30:55

Most people don't experience "social mobility" - it's an odd argument against cleaners. Working class people by and large remain working class, middle class people by and large remain middle class.

AvonCallingBarksdale Tue 30-Apr-13 11:30:57

I <3 my cleaner!! She's great and, despite her very minimal English, we have a good relationship. I'm a SAHM, although I'm retraining and my 2 DC are at school. She comes once a week and I don't feel guilty at all. OP, YABVU, whcih I think you probably know, but I like the fact you've not mentioned anything to your friend smile as you also probably know it's not your concern what she chooses to spend her money on.

wreckitralph Tue 30-Apr-13 11:32:51

I think people who are offended by those hiring cleaners have some sort of PC issue with it all. I'm sure the cleaner wouldn't thank you for trying to take the work away from them. Many of them subsidise studies and other things by cleaning. My Dad once asked my cleaner to take a seat and have a coffee because she was working too hard, then had a go at me for letting her work so much. She was there for 3 hours and I was paying her 10 pounds an hour. This was 7 years ago so not a bad rate at the time.

eccentrica Tue 30-Apr-13 11:36:05

FasterStronger I don't think you can compare removing the poo from a drop toilet with your hands with scrubbing an already clean, flushing toilet with a brush.

Obviously the specifics are different but actually I think you precisely can compare them, because in all societies cleaning has been a low-status job which no high-status people have chosen to do. And that does mean something.

As for the idea that people use the toilet brush themselves when they've finished - yes but you still have to clean the outside of the bowl, the underside and top of the seat and lid, the cistern, the floor around the toilet, the toilet brush holder, etc etc. It's pretty grim getting someone else to do that for you.

flowery Tue 30-Apr-13 11:37:37

Goldenbear Tue 30-Apr-13 10:56:38

"Flowery, there is nothing vague about the association between class, the hierarchy of 'work' and domestic hired help, do you know nothing about history at all?"

Did a degree in it thanks. grin

Yes there is a historical association between class hierarchy and lower paid domestic work. No one said there wasn't. But how does that translate to an 'issue' and a reason people shouldn't employ a cleaner now?

Saying 'there's a class issue' with employing a cleaner without being able to explain what the 'issue' is, and give a reason why people should therefore not employ cleaners is vague. How would things be better if I didn't employ a cleaner?

prettybird Tue 30-Apr-13 11:39:38

Reading more of the thread (I'd only skimmed it before): if you extend the argument that some have made about cleaners being demeaned and "lower class", which is why you shouldn't use them, then logically we should be ashamed to put our rubbish into rubbish bins and have them picked up by dustbin men, 'cos we should be taking it to the dump ourselves (as in fact you have to do in some countries, for example in South Africa) hmm

And as others have said, is it more or less ethical to buy a dishwasher that may have been made in the Third World by people earning very little than to employ a real life person in this country? Or buy clothes rather than make them yourself? Or buy any prepared foods? Where do you draw the line hmm

thermalsinapril Tue 30-Apr-13 11:41:40

> these cleaner threads always seem to get down to the idea that you leave a dirty toilet for the cleaner to clean. in my house, if you dirty the toilet, you deal with it.


Absy Tue 30-Apr-13 11:42:59

Man, I hate to do this, but anyway:
Gardening and window cleaning have been given as examples of more "skilled" work than cleaning. But, are they? Are they really?

Personally, I feel that being able to clean very well is a skill. If I compare what DH and I are able to do to what the cleaner does in a similar amount of time, she's much better than we are. And, previously house keepers were essentially a skilled role - it took years of experience and knowledge. It's just not regarded as such because it's a "women's job".

Likewise with childcare - normally viewed as "unskilled women's work" but to do a very good job of it requires a lot of skill, patience and training but generally isn't viewed as such, as it's what women do.

The reason why gardening and window cleaning are considered more "skilled" is because they're "male" jobs.

FasterStronger Tue 30-Apr-13 11:43:25

eccentrica yes but you still have to clean the outside of the bowl, the underside and top of the seat and lid, the cistern, the floor around the toilet, the toilet brush holder, etc etc. It's pretty grim getting someone else to do that for you.

but a toilet should not be grim.

Cloverer Tue 30-Apr-13 11:43:31

High status people don't: clean, wash dishes, work behind tills, on conveyor belts, don't care for old people, disabled people, children or animals, don't go down mines or do hard physical labour. There are lots of low status, low paid jobs out there, and more people do them than do high status, high paid jobs.

I don't see why cleaning is special. And it's not just cleaning is it - it's specifically domestic cleaning. I can only assume there is a moral issue - women should be cleaning their own houses.

What I don't understand about the moral issue though is why it is ok to pay someone to wax your bikini line, walk your dog or mind your kids, but not clean your house?

eccentrica Tue 30-Apr-13 11:45:33

Absy Gardening and window cleaning have been given as examples of more "skilled" work than cleaning. But, are they? Are they really?

Er, yes. Obviously. As I said above - there is no way I could climb a ladder to the first (let alone a higher) floor as I am absolutely shit with heights and would be shaking so much I'd drop everything (at best).

As for gardening - are you serious? I don't even think it is considered "male" work, lots of famous female gardeners and women I've known come to mind, but even if it were, it's one of the most skilled jobs there is!

MoominsYonisAreScary Tue 30-Apr-13 11:47:12

My friend is a cleaner, she earns more than I did working as a carer in a nursing home. She deals with less poo than I did too!

Cloverer Tue 30-Apr-13 11:47:44

There's no more skill involved by the man who comes to mow your lawn and do some weeding and pruning than the woman who hoovers and mops the floors.

curryeater Tue 30-Apr-13 11:48:59

Structural inequality is real and is a huge problem and is blatantly manifested in how certain sorts of people tend to do certain sorts of work.
I am pro-cleaner but would like to clearly dissociate myself from saying "it is not a problem"

- not getting a cleaner is not going to make inequality go away.

- one of the structural inequalities that I am most passionate about is that between men and women, and women of all classes tending to clear up after men and having a lot less time and / or meaningful leisure. Those who very anti paid domestic cleaners are often subconsciously of the unexamined opinion that women, as a class, should just suck it up and clean for free.

- having said that, the first point above is pretty inadequate (true, but inadequate to an ethical view of how we should live) so I would be interested in hearing from, for instance, Saski and eccentrica about their solutions to the problem of crappy jobs being unfairly distributed in society; and what the person should do who has paid work and domestic work to do that just add up to too much for a reasonably liveable life, and they have the money to pay for someone else to do some of this work - what should they do, and how would it be ethically better than getting a cleaner? Also, do you feel people should never outsource childcare?

(- btw the "but window cleaners have ladders!" is the most stupid argument on this thread. You are buying into all sorts of pro-patriarchy unexamined prejudices when you say "oh well that is not demeaning because it is done with Manly Hardware".)

eccentrica Tue 30-Apr-13 11:50:04

FasterStronger but a toilet should not be grim.

But, umm, it is. Otherwise why not eat your dinner off there when the cleaner's finished?

A toilet doesn't have to be actively smeared with faeces and menstrual blood to be a bit grim. It is by its nature. All societies divide things into clean and dirty places, high and low, sacred and profane. Toilets are grim. It's sort of the point of them.And getting someone else to clean up the place where you and your family excrete (and vomit, and change tampons, and the rest of it) is pretty disgusting. Which is why you don't find anyone doing it who has better options.

I feel like people are twisting things a long way from reality to try to justify this. People who say - I don't want to do it, it's unpleasant, I can afford to pay someone else so I do - fine, at least that's honest, and why not? It's your prerogative. But the people who are trying to make out that there's nothing yuk about cleaning someone else's toilet, that it's no less skilled than gardening or hairdressing - what a joke!

eccentrica Tue 30-Apr-13 11:51:20

curryeater btw the "but window cleaners have ladders!" is the most stupid argument on this thread. You are buying into all sorts of pro-patriarchy unexamined prejudices when you say "oh well that is not demeaning because it is done with Manly Hardware".)

er no, it's skilled because many people - MALE AND FEMALE - don't have a head for heights and couldn't successfully climb up several floors carrying lots of stuff. It's absolutely zero fuck all to do with gender.

curryeater Tue 30-Apr-13 11:56:07

I couldn't be a window cleaner, or a gardener, I am not strong or skilled enough. But I don't think it is easy to do a great job cleaning, either

Cloverer Tue 30-Apr-13 11:56:20

So what's the solution to structural inequality - no one should hire anyone earning less than £15? an hour, or anyone doing a traditionally female job (cleaning, caring, bum wiping)? How does that help anyone?