Part of me hesitated to bring up this topic on the blog, because I think it can be kind of touchy. When it comes to running a household, or parenting, obviously we can’t do it alone. Everybody patches together the help that they need in one way or another. And it can be all kinds of different help — everything from childcare to hiring someone to mow your lawn. But I wanted to open up the conversation, because for the year after Maggie was born, we hired a housekeeper. And it was amazing.
To be completely honest, I was actually a little bit embarrassed that we had a housekeeper. She every other week and helped with the deep cleaning that I just couldn’t get to between work and babies and everything else. I still did all of the laundry and the day-to-day stuff like dishes and dusting. But she scrubbed the bathtubs and mopped and that kind of thing, and it was a huge help. A major load off. When I would tell people, the reaction was varied. Some people said they had similar help. Some people asked for her number. And some people looked at me sideways (even members of my own family!), which obviously made me feel awful. And guilty. One woman who I’m particularly close to, after I told her, sighed at me and said, “Gee, I wish ALL I had to take care of was my kids and that’s it.”
So. You see why it feels a little touchy to bring up? I think that there’s a stigma that if we need to hire help, we’re not doing enough, or working hard enough. And there’s lots of judgement thrown around about it. I think there’s also the issue of resources, and having the extra money to hire the help that you need or want. And on that subject, we actually have now let our housekeeper go because we’re sending Maggie to preschool in a couple of months and it’s just crazy expensive. So we rebudgeted. But, at the end of the day, preschool is another form of hired help, so those resources are just being funneled elsewhere.
And this brings me to my original question: what kind of help do you have? A yard service? Housekeeper? Childcare? Pool cleaner? I’d love to know what kind of help makes your family function better. Or even which of the things you prefer to do yourself, rather than hire help for. And a really honest question: if you don’t have help, how do you feel about the people who do? I’m just kind of trying to bridge the gap and make sense of why there’s a little bit of tension around the topic, especially as it pertains to my world. After all, I feel like we could all use a little bit of help now and then! xoxo
20 thoughts on “What Kind of Help Do You Have?”
Love this! No one needs to do it all, unless they really want to. I work from home, but send my son to daycare. People don’t seem to understand this, but I have a full-time, 7am-4pm, job that just happens to be based in my home instead of an office. I can’t be effective at my job and as a mother at the exact same time!
I am lucky to have a husband who not only cleans, but enjoys it (weirdo!). 🙂 If not, I would totally have the help of a housekeeper, because I just don’t want to do it!
Everyone gets to decide for themselves how best to support their families and home and how they want to spend their time. Of course it will look different for each family!
I can relate to this on so many levels! I think people don’t always comprehend “working from home,” and maybe think that it’s more vacation than work. And when you’re home working, you have the same amount of time as people who work in an office, so it’s not like you can be scrubbing toilets too. 😉 Thanks for your encouragement and perspective!
Interesting – I’ve never felt judged for having help. In fact, I think my girlfriend is nuts for not having help. She works full time, 2 kids, busy husband and always seems harried, exhausted, and beat. There is no need to do it all! It’s okay to ask for help. I’m a stay at home mom to 2 boys – 4 and 7. I have a housekeeper, yard workers, and pool cleaner every week. My kids are wild animals so all the help lets me have a semblance of a neat house. Plus – rather then mopping floors I’m free to “be” with my kids. I see no shame in outsourcing.
I love this, and I love that you have no issues outsourcing. I feel like that’s how it should be for all of us! And I completely agree about it freeing up time to spend with the kiddos. Thanks for your perspective.
After my (now-8-month-old) baby was born, one of the best gifts my wife and I received was three visits from a professional housekeeper. We saved them up and used them all the month I went back to work full-time. It was so nice to come back to a gleaming house on the days she’d visited. It felt like we could really handle this whole parenting thing 🙂
Now our baby is thriving in daycare 4 days a week. And I daydream about the time when we’ll be able to afford to have a cleaner come again!
I was just thinking about this the other day! I have a couple of friends about to have babies and was thinking about hiring a cleaner for them for a short time. Thanks for this awesome reminder. (And I feel the same way about dreaming about the day we can have a cleaner again!)
I know what you mean about the guilt and the judgement from other people, it is such a sensitive subject!
7 years ago, I left my job to go work with my fiance (he is the owner of company). He was having kind of a hard time at work and we ended up working 80-100 hours a week for about a year. Needless to say, I had no time to clean, so I decided to hire a maid. My Mom immediately offered her services. It’s been 7 years, we now have more normal work hours, but we’ve chose to have no landline or tv and instead keep having my Mom come over to clean the house every other week. She is happy to make some money of her own and we are grateful to be able to afford this “luxury”, even if it means cutting on other extra stuff.
I rarely openly talk about this though, because I rapidly learned how some people can be very judgmental about it. Some people like to have a nice date in a restaurant, I prefer to pay for a maid to have more time. To each their own! 🙂
Absolutely! It’s all about priorities, and what makes your life feel the best FOR YOU. I love the solution that you worked out, and I love that it’s beneficial for both you and your Mom. Thanks for sharing your story!
We have a pool cleaner and yard service. We also keep some of our “help” in the family 🙂 Our youngest son (14) really enjoys cleaning, so we pay him extra to clean all the common rooms (pickup, dust, vacuum/mop) once a week. Our oldest daughter (19) enjoys driving so we pay her extra to handle 75% of chauffeuring her brothers around. Middle son (16) earns extra helping teach at the karate dojo my husband runs. My husband & I work 40+ hours per week, so all these things help us carve out time to spend with the kids and is totally worth it.
That’s incredible! I love how you’ve set things up with your kids. Totally inspiring for me as our kids grow. Thanks for sharing!
Several years ago when my kids were younger we had a housekeeper who came in one time a week. She did the heavy cleaning and I did everything else. I work full time and have two kids so having the help was great. However, I am also one of those people who feels she has to clean (or at least pick up) before the housekeeper comes so the night before I would run around cleaning and it just became another stressor. I decided it would be easier to just clean my house whenever I could so I actually stopped having her come over. We also have a gardener who comes once a week to mow, blow leaves, and clean the yard. We’ve had him for years and he’s a huge help because neither my husband nor I have the time to maintain our yard. I was never embarrassed or felt badly about having any type of help. I never noticed any negative feedback from friends or family. In fact, they think its funny that I had to clean before the housekeeper came over. As I get older I am better about prioritizing what’s important. I’m thinking more seriously about hiring a housekeeper again so I have more time on the weekend to spend with family, enjoying hobbies, and just relaxing.
This is awesome, Rachel. I love your perspective! And I love that you’ve never felt any guilt about having the help you need when you need it. That’s how we all should feel! xo
We live in a three story house and I splurged on robot vacuums for each level. Offloading just that one chore and knowing my floors are always clean for our two small children to crawl and play is amazing. Plus it forces me to do a quick pick up of any toys and clutter on the floor each night.
Crystal: I have always been curious about those robot vacuums. How thorough of a job do they do? Sounds like you are enjoying your investment!
When I have the ability to do so, I will absolutely hire a full-time nanny AND a housekeeper. I’m sure I’ll get some backlash, but in the end we have to do what’s right for us, our families, and our sanity.
We pay for full-time daycare and also have someone come clean the house every 2-3 weeks. I’d have them come more frequently, but we just can’t afford to. My husband works from home, so he handles grocery shopping and a lot of the meal prep (and we’ve discussed also paying for grocery delivery!), but I still do all the laundry, daily tidying-up, and a lot of the baby-focused stuff like bottles, snack prep, etc. I would love to afford a nanny and weekly housekeeping, but it just ain’t in the budget.
For every person who can afford to outsource some of the help needed to keep a household humming, I say- DO IT. Your time is valuable, and turns out, you *can* put an actual price on it.
We both work full time and have decided that time with our kids is more valuable than saving money. We have a cleaner and a lawn guy and love it!
I think that hiring outside help is very necessary, we can not do it all ourselves and it comes in demand and supply.!
I know this is an old post, but I just stumbled across it, and how relevant! Just today I coordinated my schedule to have LOTS of paid help watching my toddler so I can get some work done. I don’t make much working from home, so I’ll be basically working for “free” for the hours I pay someone else to watch our toddler. But with an end-of-the-month deadline and no margin/white space in our lives, this was necessary.
No shame in asking for/ paying for help! It helps other people out too because they’re getting paid for a much-needed and appreciated service. 🙂 Win-win.
PS I’ve followed your blog for a while. Love it! You have a beautiful house and take great, well-lit photos for your blog. Yours is an example of a blog that is well done. So kudos!
Thanks so much for sharing Bethany! I totally agree.