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Just hired a cleaner - the RELIEF

(26 Posts)
mrsgembles Mon 21-Jul-14 13:35:10

I'm 34 weeks today and STILL struggling with HG (which had been present, on and off, since 6 weeks). It's been hellishly hot and I've had a few bad days on the trot. This morning I took a look around my filthy pigsty of a home and felt utter despair, I had no idea where to start.

Then I remembered an ad I saw in Popbitch for a cleaning service (hassle.com if anyone else is interested) so I ran my postcode through and hired myself a cleaner for two hours once a week!

It's only £20 a week and my initial plan is to take her on for 12-14 weeks, until the baby's in and settled. Amazingly, my tight-as-you-like husband agreed!

I am in awe of mums that work, take care of their kids AND get the cleaning done. And I also feel a bit guilty for 'quitting' but OH BOY am I excited about having a clean home on Weds!

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 21-Jul-14 13:40:59

I am letting my cleaner go when I went on maternity next month. I'll sorely miss her but we can't afford it when I'm not working. But we'll be keeping DD in nursery for 3 days a week. Mine is £25 for two hours and it's amazing how much she could do.

Don't feel guilty. I always told people who said it's women's work that it's not actually women's work is it? (Those who comment are always misogynist pigs). The rich never does housework. They have cleaners and nannies and gardeners and what not. I point blank tell them what they meant really is that housework is beneath them!

If you can afford your luxury, enjoy your clean house!

MarchEliza Mon 21-Jul-14 13:49:01

I love Hassle.com. I have a cleaner that comes once a week for two hours and she is worth double her money. I also think that I might have to cut her hours back once I go on maternity due to the cost (and the fact that as I will no longer be working I should really clean myself) however I can see it not happening...

Some of my friends think I'm so lazy and extravagant for having a cleaner for my little flat - but I just tell them, before I gave up smoking I would have spent more than that on cigarettes.

The feeling of coming home from work to a clean and tidy flat with my bed sheets changed and my ironing done is heaven!

mrsgembles Mon 21-Jul-14 13:54:17

I have a two bed house (tiny) so if she just hoovers, polishes and cleans the kitchen/bathroom I'll be happy with that! As I said, we don't plan on it being a long-term thing. We'll review about a month after the baby's here (I'll still be on full pay then) and see if we can keep her on.

squizita Mon 21-Jul-14 13:57:33

Don't feel guilty on any level!

I find all the hand wringers on MN who say "but it feels awful paying someone far less than I earn to do a service am I exploiting them..." seem to have no problem with waitresses, barmaids, shop assistants etc' ... it's their own little middle class guilt fantasy (miaow and self biscuit ). Personally having done all those jobs for various reasons I would be more hmm about someone thinking I was like an exploited child-figure than getting a round hourly wage for simple work. When I was in my 20s that suited me to a tee.

I have recently got myself into what DH calls 'competitive nesting mode' where when I am red faced mopping the floor DH offers a cleaner/to do it/to call my mum who wants to help and I snarl "No I WANT TO DO IT, then I know it's done PROPERLY!!" in a terrifying manner.
Reckon one week of sleepless nights when baby's here and I'll be perusing the local paper and the cards in Tesco for a cleaner through bleary eyes...

Augustwedding Mon 21-Jul-14 13:57:59

We have one and we have no children and I'm not pregnant! If stbh wasn't gonna do it neither was I! Best thing we ever did!

Marnierose Mon 21-Jul-14 15:36:03

A consider a cleaner an essential so don't feel guilty. If you can afford it it's a wonderful treat. Think of all the hard work you are doing growing that baby daily. Let someone else do
the housework!

caravela Mon 21-Jul-14 15:53:24

I agree with the others - don't feel guilty. I don't understand why people sometimes act as though having a cleaner is somehow intrinsically exploitative (but as squizita says, don't have a problem making use of other services). I wonder if they think there's a stigma to being a cleaner that makes it 'bad' to use one, but that doesn't make any sense to me - why should it be somehow 'worse' than working in a coffee shop, at a supermarket checkout till, or in a factory? Anyway I think cleaning well is a skill - I can get our house clean and so on, but I'm not as good or efficient at it as plenty of other people are. And we live in a specialised economy - I earn money by being able to do my type of job, and I can use that money to pay someone else who can offer other types of services that I need.

I finally managed to persuade DH that we are having a cleaner now that I'm 6 months pregnant. He has been against it for ages when I've raised it in the past, but I reckon when she starts, he'll love it. (When I've raised it in the past, he's tried to claim that he likes cleaning and will happily do more of it himself if I don't want to, but while this is a great response, it's a total fiction in his own head). He loves the fact we do most of our grocery shopping online now, and funnily enough he doesn't seem to have any guilt that we are exploiting the drivers who deliver it...

Redling Mon 21-Jul-14 16:47:30

At 36 weeks I can hardly do anything in the house now and I can't bear it. My mam is a neat freak and will do everything when she's here bit she lives 300 miles away! My husband is excellent with some things but crap with others, he'll wash up but won't Hoover more than once a week. I might get one of those big spring cleans done, like an end of tenancy clean with carpets and oven done too, then I know it's done for the baby coming! It's not a tip by any means but just not quite right and I'm just so achy and tired I can't do it! I wish I could pay someone to put all the stuff I've sorted to go in the loft up there too, I refuse to nag so it isn't getting done!

Criseyde Mon 21-Jul-14 17:22:31

MarchEliza, if you think your cleaner is worth double the money then why not pay her...err.. what you think she is worth - double the money?

Carvela, the reason that many people feel that having a cleaner is intrinsically exploitative compared with other service providers is that, unlike, say, a barista or a checkout worker, cleaners are not paid for their full-day's work, in that they are not paid for travel between jobs, which can have an enormous impact on their ability to earn - just as it does for people in the care sector. Also, it is work which comes with the significant risks of self-employment - there's no holiday pay, sick pay, company maternity pay etc, so it doesn't have the security of many entry-level service sector jobs. Similarly there is no opportunity for promotion or advancement, or even additional upskilling or training, which does exist in the retail or catering sector. The relationship and power dynamic between a bar person, or waiter, and customer, and a cleaner and their employer is also drastically different.

Also, we live in a very unbalanced economy where the (relatively small) number of people who earn very well typically have to work long, unsocial hours in order to protect their careers and income. Outsourcing housework - a significant and unavoidable burden on our labour and time, facilitates a long-hours culture in professional or high earning jobs. It would be better, surely, to aim towards a more balanced labour market where more people are not compelled (socially or financially) to work such long hours that they are unable to take care of basic domestic tasks without outsourcing these to low paid workers. Better to share the well paid work around.

All that said, cleaning is very physically demanding and nobody who is suffering from illness, pregnancy, or any other physical constraint should feel at all guilty for getting help they need with this!

Marnierose Mon 21-Jul-14 19:27:29

Our cleaner is loaded by all accounts. I'm sure she probably makes more money than me.

Our cleaner comes for 2 hours once a fortnight. I'm a SAHM and also pregnant-if I could afford to have her come weekly I would. I love her and I feel no guilt whatsoever about hiring her! In fact we have a very tight budget and I squeeze the money out of it to keep her on. It's worth it to me to know that the house gets a proper once over regularly and I'd rather pay her than spend that money on anything else.

mrsgembles Mon 21-Jul-14 19:42:04

Quick question, how tidy does my house need to be before she comes? We're quite messy people. blush

I try and make it as tidy as possible because I'd rather she spent time cleaning than tidying, but I'd say it's personal preference-it might be useful for you to have her tidying a bit too?

ithoughtofitfirst Mon 21-Jul-14 19:51:15

I.am.SO.jealous.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 21-Jul-14 19:57:07

mrsgembles we put away all of DD's toys. Same as anotinette I prefer her to clean rather than tidy.

squizita Mon 21-Jul-14 19:58:53

Similarly there is no opportunity for promotion or advancement, or even additional upskilling or training, which does exist in the retail or catering sector.

This isn't actually true. If you work through an agency or company there are team leadership roles and own-business cleaners often employ a small team, it can be a route into self employment. Also quite a large number of cleaners use it alongside another job/education as a cash top-up.
I always remember a woman who had a cleaning firm (created herself from starting out cleaning) and was trying to explain this to some people on Chat/AIBU, it was quite frustrating because for all their pearl clutching they were basically ignoring her because she was a cleaner there to be felt sorry for but not listened to and certainly not to be considered a business owner.

I relied on cleaning at times, and it suited me well at the time. It's interesting people think if you're a waitress you're waiting for something better/student/fiesty but if you clean they think you're a victim/drudge. It was the only annoying thing: people feeling sorry for me, who would be uppity with me that evening at the bar where I worked.

The relationship and power dynamic between a bar person, or waiter, and customer, and a cleaner and their employer is also drastically different.
Having worked as a cleaner and in hospitality/catering, I would say the latter is far more exploitative in reliality: the veneer of a respectable contract (zero hours), uniform (you pay for it) and rock bottom wages with 'tips' which go to the employer. Advancement on paper but really, hire and fire on a whim. No pay on the way to and from work... and very unsociable hours making travel hard if you didn't drive.

squizita Mon 21-Jul-14 20:02:39

...oh and the main different relationship is that my CUSTOMERS in bar/waitressing were often rude and snooty.
Never got that when I was cleaning.

I got prejudice if I mentioned the cleaning in certain middle class academic leftie groups of people (yes, 'sympathy' looks are prejudice) and interestingly I'd see the same people be rude in pubs to the staff!
TBH I would rather be ignored to get on with my cleaning and take my cash.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 21-Jul-14 20:10:16

I agree that domestic cleaning could be less exploitative because often there's a personal relationship between the employer and employee. It's hard for you to be rude if you know behind it is a real person. Compare this to office cleaning. Do you know who cleans your office? I don't. It's faceless. I have no idea how much they got paid either. And it's definitely unsociable hours because they are never their when we are in.

You can apply this to a lot of other minimum wage jobs.

squizita Mon 21-Jul-14 20:17:57

One I don't work in an office but I do know the ladies who clean my building, yes. I wouldn't dream of blanking them in the morning, I always say "morning" and ask after their kids.
I guess I might be unusual but they're my colleagues even if we do different jobs at different times.

squizita Mon 21-Jul-14 20:19:48

...at my workplace they come off shift about 7.30am when I'm just coming in. But our bosses are 'community minded' and I'm glad to say that's not just lipservice, I'm pretty sure they'd stamp on any shoddy practice or poor treatment.

I find snobbiness about cleaning as a job really baffling. Maybe because I've done it myself as a job in the past and was bloody awful at it?! (In retrospect, the fact that I hate cleaning my own toilet should have been a clue that I wouldn't be much good when faced with other people's.)

I don't like cleaning my own house and therefore pay someone else who is much more efficient and professional about it than I am. It doesn't seem any different to any other service. I do private tuition now and am self employed, only paid for the hours I work etc-I am not exploited though, set my own rates etc, so I don't see why some people assume cleaners must be. I'm sure there are some dodgy agencies (and some dodgy tutoring agencies for that matter) but to be 'sympathetic' to someone who you're hiring and paying a rate they've set themselves to do a job is weird to me. I don't expect my kids or their parents to feel sorry for me because they're paying me to provide a service, nor for them to treat me badly or look down on me confused

MarchEliza Mon 21-Jul-14 21:16:26

Thanks but I pay her, funnily enough exactly what she asked for. She runs her business well and I'm perfectly happy that she isn't being exploited.

Criseyde Mon 21-Jul-14 21:32:13

I disagree that there are similar prospects for advancement in domestic cleaning and retail or catering. Yes, cleaners who run small businesses may employ teams of other cleaners, but there are very few opportunities for upskilling/qualifications on the job in comparison with other service industry jobs.

Zero hours contracts are despicable, but many entry level jobs do offer more than the "veneer" of a contract - secure hours, redundancy pay, and all the other protections that workers rely on.

Also disagree that that customer/hospitality staff relationship is likely to be more exploitative. Working behind a bar or on tables I at least had the discretion to refuse service to customers who were rude (without losing paid work), could make it clear when unreasonable requests could not be accommodated (without fear of repercussions) and made decent tips on top of my wages - and also had paid holiday and opportunities for advancement, including some travel. Of course I did not get paid on my way to and from work, but most people don't. That's quite different to having to travel unpaid between four or five different cleaning gigs in the course of one working day.

Factor in travel times, cost of equipment, adequate insurance, the lack of holiday pay, sick pay and occupational pension, and the hourly rate for an individual cleaner doesn't look great.

I have also been a cleaner, for what it's worth.

Though I'd reiterate, nobody with any physical limitations should feel even a tinge of guilt for getting the help they need.

squizita Mon 21-Jul-14 21:39:18

Working behind a bar or on tables I at least had the discretion to refuse service to customers who were rude (without losing paid work), could make it clear when unreasonable requests could not be accommodated (without fear of repercussions) and made decent tips on top of my wages - and also had paid holiday and opportunities for advancement, including some travel.

Really? In all honesty places like that are few and far between in my experience. And all those things you 'factor in' ... factored out of my shift work and it left pennies TBH. I was better off cleaning (both individually and for a contractor who did venues) than working the private boxes at Ascot serving champagne, I kid you not.

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