Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday marvelousness with a side of guilt

I am feeling a little robber baron-ish right now. I finally hung up my cape and decided to stop being Super Woman. What that means in practical terms is that I hired a housekeeping service to clean my house. (It's The Cleaning Authority, if anybody is looking, and they're FREAKING FABULOUS). They came today for the first time (right after the landscaping team my daughter calls the Lawn Fairies) and spent 5 and a half hours doing a spring clean of my house.

It's amazing. My house looks like it's brand new. The pugs went to the dog resort this morning since we're heading to Sea World Orlando tomorrow, and I think there isn't a dog hair left in my entire house. It's astonishing. Base boards. Sinks. Floors. Blinds, my friend. Even my BLINDS sparkle.

Wow. It's wonderful beyond all reason, and yet, I feel . . . guilty. Inadequate.

The problem, of course, is that keeping a home clean is all tied up, for me, with notions of what a wife and mother should be able to accomplish, brilliantly; effortlessly; wearing pearls, even. My mother's much-talked-about "floors you could eat off" during my childhood must have made more of an impression than I thought. (Of course, Mom never held down a full-time job until I was 16, so she had more time to clean floors, do laundry, and be a Domestic Goddess. This is, after all, the woman who sniffed the interior of my refrigerator every time she came to visit for the first decade after I moved out of her house.)

I will have more time to write now, more time to plot and plan and create the worlds and characters I see so vividly in my mind, when I'm not worrying about mopping floors or dusting furniture or cleaning bathrooms. That was the goal, and I'm happy to have achieved it. So, tell me: why do I feel so guilty about it?


LorelieLong said...

I dunno, but I've had the same problem! I've been trying to find a cleaning service in my area (no one's calling me back!) and every time I make a call there's that little niggle. And my mom even had cleaning services at various times in my childhood.

Diana said...

I think I know what you mean. My mom was a stay at home mom and a perfectionist to boot. Even though I inherited those tendencies, when I was younger and trying to learn how to cook, my mom would take over instead of correcting me. So, there are a lot of household chores [cooking, cleaning, etc] that I am learning to perfect now because I never had a foundation to learn from before. So while I know like cooking and laundry, cleaning is not tops on my list.

carolsnotebook said...

Don't feel guilty. Enjoy that you can do it. I would love a cleaning service, but have to settle for my hubby and daughter.

MolliesMom said...

My Mom never cleaned if she could help it, barely cooked, made us get our own breakfast so she could sleep in and somehow we survived our childhoods pretty well.

I try not to stress. My daughter and I love to clean and cook and do the necessary things but honestly, I'd put off the vacuuming to watch Sponebob with her in a heartbeat.

I think you make a better decision to show your kids that there are resources to help you choose to live your life in a fuller and more fullfilling way.

Kudos to you!

Anonymous said...

No, I don't think you show feel guilt over having more time to write the books we love. I think you're doing a public service, which we all know is a good thing.

And aren't lawn faires the most wonderful creatures?

Twimom227 said...

Why do you feel guilty? Because like so many of us, deep down you think that you have to be wonder woman and "do it all." Also, if you are like me, sometimes it's hard to spend money. Especially when it is on something "you can do yourself". I felt comfortable paying for a woman to clean my home when I was working full-time. I felt guilty for keeping her after I decided to be stay at home mom. But in reality, I'm a happier, less-stressed mommy because of it. And that is worth the cost! Good for you!

Bek said...

The reason you feel guilty is because of the expectations society places on you as a mom and a woman.

We are bought up expecting we have to do it all.

My advice is kick back, pour yourself a drink and remind yourself that you are spending your time being paid to do what you do best and paying some one to do what they do best



Elise Logan said...

Cultural guilt. Try to let it go - your mom didn't expect the bread winner to keep the house clean, too, did she? No? Guess what, you're winning bread, so you get a pass on the cleaning.

Now go write me some more Atlantean hotness.

Alyssa Day said...

I love you all!! I'm feeling much MUCH better! Thanks.

DocPammyDC said...

Jeez-O-Peet, Girlfriend! Kiss that clean floor you're walking on, and don't feel guilty in the slightest. I was at yoga the other day when I spotted a small cat toenail next to my mat. Hmm. From my house? Uh - probably.

Sign me up for your super duper contest, please.


ms bookjunkie said...

Early conditioning. The Supermom syndrome. Trying to be the perfect wife/mother/woman/daughter...

Do NOT feel guilty!

1) You already have two full-time jobs, being a writer and a mother. Not to mention a wife... There's no need for you to be the housekeeper also. (Think of the guilt-load you shove onto your kids: Momma was perfect and there's no way I'll measure up.)

2) You're helping someone else earn a living. In this economy that's a huge thing.

Hope that helps. Anyway, as a reader I prefer you slaving away at the computer being creative, rather than slaving away at domestic chores that are never ending if people actually live in the house... :-)

Julie said...

It's unfair to compare yourself to your mom--different circumstances, different times, different expectations. In the end, you're providing a safe and clean environment for you and yours, and that's all that matters.

Kate Douglas said...

There comes a time when you have to realize you CAN'T do it all. Do you want to have the time for your kids and your work or do you want to be stressing out about the book AND the dirt? You made a smart choice. My mom was a stay at home mom and our house was spotless, but it's because she had three kids vacuuming, doing dishes, scrubbing floors and dusting--and ironing. I HATE doing those jobs now, but I've got a retired husband doing most of them for me. You've got a husband who tends to work in odd parts of the world. LOL...get back to Atlantis and write. And no, do not include me in the drawing--I preorder all your books and then haunt the post office waiting for them to show up. (And please note: I wrote the entire comment without an ellipses)

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
I know you'll have a terrific time at Seaworld. I use Molly Maid once every three months (a local cleaning service) and I love it. My mom was a stay-at-home mom too & the house was always clean.
I have no guilt about it though, but do enjoy the cleanliness.
Love & hugs,
twitter: @RKCharron

SheaLuna said...

I, for one, am greatful. I would rather have your creative juices being put to good use (My own personal entertainment... LOL!!!!!) than wasted on clean floors. Also, I am jealous. So, so jealous! When I am a famous writer, I am SO getting a cleaner. ;-)

Sparkel said...

Sometimes I think guilt is inherent in any loving person, cause they want to do it all for their loved ones. If I could do it all then I wouldnt need anyone and trust me, I need my friends! Sadly you cant eat off my floors and I dont have kids to spend time with as a legitimate reason, I dont write masterful stories that make my life and others enriched. BUT I do read them! They are the rainbows in my life. Thank you!!

Deb said...

I do understand the guilt you feel. As a teacher, I am fortunate to have my summers free and I feel that I shoould spend the whole summer cleaning the house but I then feel resentful that I spend my "time off" cleaning. If I hired a cleaning service, I would have to spend some time getting my house clean enough for a service to see!:)

Alyssa Day said...

You are all wonderful! And Deb, I had the same problem but finally decided oh, well, they've seen worse, and just picked up the piles of books all over the house and let 'em at it. LOL.

Jill said...

I was the stay at home mom. 3 into everything kids . I did not ask them to do anything. I thought I had to do it all. After all I did not have a 'real' job. BIG mistake. I look back on those years and all I see is stress. Thank you for hiring the cleaning service. We (your faithful fans) who are (eventually)the ones that benefit from this . Keep those cleaners coming !

Alesia Holliday said...

Princess picked random winners: @loreliebrown, @MolliesMom, @twimom227, @msbookjunkie, @shealuna. Plz email name and addy to me

Alyssa Day said...

oops, that should have come from my Alyssa Day account. Winners still apply.

lawsonla said...

I know what you mean about feeling guilty, especially when you have wonder woman for a mother, she's the most wonderful mother who could do everything.
First, my mom had 3 kids in 3 years and 10 days, of which, I am the middle one, so on top of this, I was born with a cleft pallet, so as a child I was alway going to doctor's appointments and in and out of the hospital which my mom was always the one taking me because my father worked, she also does not have a driver's licence. The house always looked like it was a show house (spic-n-span clean). She also got up early every morning to make my father his breakfast and make his lunch, then she got us kids up and made us breakfast and lunch, without fail. We also had baking in our lunches, which my mom made with fail. Also she never complained about all of the work or places she had to take me because of my medical issues.
That being said, but I also think, that if you are working full-time to make such wonderful stories for the enjoyment for so many people, you shouldn't feel guilty about give the house work to a company if gives you more time to do what you love, writing and spending more time with your family.

Alyssa Day said...

Lawsonla, I think your mother deserves a medal. Especially the never-complaining part. I can't even imagine how hard she must have worked. What a wonderful woman. You are truly blessed.

Sherrye said...

There was a time when we thought my Mom's perfume was bleach. My little sister smells like that now. I was always the messy one.
Recently, I was able to hire the same folks to clean my house (once every 2 weeks) that Mom and Sis have once a week.
The service the cleaners provide is just another tool -- I can change the oil in my car, but my time is more valuable doing other things these days. Don't feel bad!

Eden Glenn said...

Given the choice, I would much much rather have you spend what precious time you have creating worlds and stories for me to escape into. Does that sound selfish or what?

Face it anyone with Mr. Clean and a rag can make your baseboards sparkle. They can't make worlds come to life in your stories to twist our emotions

Take permission to let it go. Get a sign that says "Housework make you Cranky!" and just Let-it-go.


sylviajeff said...

Hi all!
Let me put a different twist to this.
You see... I hear this all the time.
"I feel so guilty sitting here at my computer while you are working so hard."
If you have not guessed it... I am a independent house keeper.
If it wasn't for you wonderful people who hire me my family would be starving and have lost our home. My husband was laid off last March and my income and the small pittance our Canadian government calls employment benefits he has paid into for 15 years is keeping us afloat I know there are others out there who have so much worse.I promise you. You have more than made up for it with your hugs and your gratitude. Many of you are very generous at Christmas also. So a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all of you. Please remember that you are keeping me in work and The ten years of new and old friendships and gratitude I have gained have been worth those days of aching feet.
Enjoy your house keeper all who have one.

Alyssa Day said...

Sylvia, thank you SO MUCH for putting this in perspective for me! Of course, we all have to help each other in this economy! Thank you and good luck to you and your husband.