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05-19 Sarah Raplee – Riff on 7 yrs. Of SPAM & a Giveaway

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Best Cleaning Tip: Hire it out.

I'm an anomaly. And I am fully self aware.

Married almost 35 years and with four adult children successfully raised, I managed to get by without doing much cooking or cleaning. Now that it's just my hubby and me, I don't do it at all.

Here's the deal. I am a full-time author creating a career. That takes a heckuva lot of work: hours sitting at a computer writing, networking emailing, blogging. Then there are the many opportunities to speak, meet up with a mentor or muse, or attending a writers' group meeting. And, on occasion, go on a date with my man. Chat with one of the adult kids. Or just relax with a friend over a cup of coffee.

I don't have time to clean. Or cook. Or do laundry.

I am blessed with a husband who shows his love with acts of service. That covers the dishes, laundry and yard work. Then I got a reference for a very reasonable cleaning gal and hired her. She comes only when I call. And now that we are (sadly) pet-free, once a month about does it.

Do I feel guilty? Um… no. Why not? Because I work 60-70 hours a week. If I was a high-powered executive, no one would blink an eye at my lack of domesticity. Just because I work in an office in my house, and sometimes in my pajamas if my characters wake me up jabbering, it doesn't mean I'm not a professional.

I'm getting paid for my work. And if I want to keep getting paid, I need to keep creating a quality product. Let's be real - I can't produce a word count if I'm scrubbing a bathroom floor.

Our society does put pressure on us all to meet certain criteria. And some of us were told that only women can do certain things. While I celebrate daily the differences between the sexes (I do write romance novels!) nowhere is there an immutable list of what tasks are "female" or "male." Or even "required."

So if housekeeping isn't your thing, I hereby give you all permission to "author up" and do what needs to be done. Write. Read. Plot. Research. Write some more. Use paper plates and plastic forks. Paper towels. Hire someone else to clean the bathrooms and dust the shelves.

Life is short. Follow your calling.

And don't apologize.


Paty Jager said...

If only... Sadly, I and my husband come from backgrounds where if it's a job you can do you don't hire it out. You do the work and don't complain. So I'm a writer, a housekeeper, a cook,and a rancher. I do it all and have to spend my time wisely. And that's why we built our house. We could both measure and use a hammer so we built our house and when this one sells, we'll build the next one.

Judith Ashley said...

Doing housework with someone takes the edge off; living alone (I don't) means there is less to clean up and if I pick up after myself, only the dust bunnies need corraling. There was a time I had someone come and clean once a month (scrub the bathroom, do the floors, and dust). That was a luxury I loved! But, to hire someone to come and clean would mean I'd have to cut back other places - so, my granddaughter and I manage. It would be so much easier if one of us actually liked or got some satisfaction from the process - we both do feel good when it's done but the path to that end isn't one we like to trudge down.

Kris Tualla said...

I understand your comments - my husband grew up as a migrant worker! But there are (still, darn it!) only 24 hours in a day and if I want to succeed at my career, I have to make choices. I am BLESSED that neither of us feels locked into gender-specified tasks (Okay, I DID birth and nurse the babies! LOL!) and have been able to work in our areas of strength. He can't manage a budget or nail anything straight to save his life, and I hate to cook. We've complemented each other nicely for nearly 35 years!

Anna Questerly said...

I think that makes perfect sense. Can I get the name and number of your gal?

Kilian said...

ITA. I work full-time and am involved in many projects outside the home. When my mother and I shared a home, I hired a cleaner to come in every two weeks. I told my mother, "you're too old, and I'm too tired to do heavy cleaning," and I hired it out. We don't look funny at men who go to Jiffy Lube instead of changing their own oil, so I think it's okay for women to find someone else to clean, if they can afford it. There are many people, too, who are happy to have the money.

Judy said...

Love it!!

Tara Simone, Saguaro RWA chapter said...


I totally agree with you - if one has the disposable income to hire someone. I have hired domestic goddesses in the past but have not had one for awhile.

What I can do within my budget is ues paper plates and cups, it helps a bit.

And I really do try to prioritize my writing. When the floor gets mopped. If it only gets swept before company comes, so be it.

One more thing - if one has the financial resources to hire help, one shouldn't feel guilty about no matter what you were raised to believe. You are doing your part by helping another woman support her family. And there's nothing shameful about that!

Kris Tualla said...

Tara - you nailed it.

Sarah Raplee said...

I agree - as soon as you can squeeze out the funds, hire it out! I owned a commercial and residential cleaning business for three years a long time ago. I felt good about reducing my customers' stress levels.
And I love being my own boss.

Don't feel guilty if you hire someone to help clean, mow, etc. If you treat them with respect, they'll be your biggest fans!