Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Myths and realities of having a maid

I believe I've mentioned previously that we have a house...cleaner...guy. I still don't know what to call him. "Maid" seems out-of-date and feminine. "Housekeeper" seems to imply a live-in situation. "House cleaner guy" works just fine. He's a guy, and he cleans our house.

It's actually been three guys. The first one (Anbu) got married a few months ago and went back to India. His replacement had a full schedule already but took the job on a temporary basis. Now the replacement's replacement is in place. I will refer to them here as Anbu 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, because sometimes we do that and also for privacy's sake.

As far as quality of work goes, I think Anbu 3.0 has an edge on the others. Let me tell you why. Some months ago, there was a mosquito in the kitchen. As it rested on a cabinet, I killed it by smacking it with a magazine. And then I never cleaned up the remains. It just sat there, a mangled and flattened mosquito carcass stuck to the kitchen cabinet, for weeks and weeks. Almost every time I walked by it, I meant to grab a tissue and just dispose of it already. But every time I walked by it, I was on my way to do something else, so it slipped my mind, without fail.

The dead mosquito guts passed under the radar of both Anbu 1.0 and Anbu 2.0. But Anbu 3.0 came to our house once, for his first cleaning, and next thing I knew the mosquito mess was GONE. Like I said, I think he's a cut above the rest.

Now to dispel - or confirm, as the case may be - some myths about having a house cleaner guy.

Does this mean you never have to clean your house?
Nah. I still do all the daily maintenance stuff like wiping down counters and tables, general tidying up, washing dishes, etc. I usually end up vacuuming once, mid-week, to stave off my dirty floor irritation. I know, POOR ME.

Isn't it true, though, that you could do a better job just cleaning your own dang house yourself?
I used to think so, and this was my greatest obstacle when deciding whether or not to hire a house cleaner guy. Why should I pay someone to do something I can do - and possibly do better - myself? But I don't think so anymore. These guys clean my house deeper than I would, and they do it every week. And there are the little things, like how one afternoon I walked in and saw that Anbu 1.0 had arranged our couch pillows like so:

However, it is true that I could certainly clean the house faster. That's something you learn when you have to fit in your housecleaning among all your children-tending duties.

(In case you're curious, the reason we finally decided to go ahead and get a house cleaner guy was two-fold. First, my time is worth more than his, meaning I can earn back the money I pay him faster than he can earn it. Second, I spend more "fun time" with the girls this way.)

Do you clean your house before they come?
Kind of. I tidy it up to what I call "beauty base zero" after The Hunger Games. Surfaces cleared off, floors picked up, beds made, and dishes put away. But crumbs and dust and sand and spills are left as they are.

Isn't it awkward having a house cleaner guy in your house?
The answer to this is OH YEAH. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Do I have to look busy and frazzled the whole time so he knows he's an appreciated service? Can I kick back and read a book and pick up my feet when he needs to vacuum under them, like I've always dreamed of doing? What is the protocol here? Well, I've figured out it's easier (and more fun) if I take the girls out of the house. We usually end up going to the park or swimming.

Does your house cleaner guy snoop through your stuff and find out secrets about your family?
Uhhh, I don't think so. Not really. But sometimes privacy takes a hit. One time I went outside to take in the laundry after he left and saw that a bunch of my underwear had blown off the line and was strewn about. That was embarrassing. He cleans our toilets, so there is that. And I'm sure he figures some things out that are too TMI to share here.

Did I miss any of the questions you are dying to ask?

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