Now I know the Proverbs 31 woman had servants who helped take care of her house, but if you are a woman living in a Christian society today you have probably felt the pressure to do it all yourself too. Somehow we have made cleaning your house into the ultimate womanly virtue, and we use it, meanly, to compare our worth to others. So hiring a house-keeper becomes a huge emotional issue for most Christian women. It’s like admitting you are a failure as a wife and mother. Except it isn’t.
The irony in my life is that I am finally taking this step at a time when I have the least I have ever had to do in life. Maybe I am just burnt out, or maybe I just don’t care anymore. I tried having someone clean my house once when the children were little. There were seven of them and I was over-involved in both the church and home school community and wanted to stay that way. A woman from the church was starting a cleaning business so we signed on as her first client. She was wonderful, but soon began receiving job offers that were nowhere near our house, making ours a difficult location to clean. This was fine with us as I had grown tired of hearing all of the little remarks made by the other Christian women about my choice to have her clean. My favorite was, ‘If you work with her maybe you will learn how to take care of your house yourself.’ Now I ran the church karate club, was in charge of the Sunday School (and wrote the curriculum), taught two classes at the home school co-op and home schooled seven children. Obviously I was not doing enough.
Today I am older. My children are growing and most have moved out of our home. It would seem that this would be the time of life where I needed a housekeeper the least, but not having as many children to help with the chores makes for a much longer day, and having cleaning be the only thing I do makes it oh so tedious. Believe it or not the ‘breaks’ chasing the toddlers provided helped me keep my sanity! (Who knew?) It also gave me an excuse to not have finished everything I wanted to get done. Now all I have is, ‘If I scrubbed another thing I was going to go nuts.’ It’s just not the same. So I hired someone to clean.
Hiring someone has its advantages. I now have time to do more things, things I really want to do, like writing this. It also provides employment for other people. I do not know the women who come to my house well enough to know if they are supporting a family, or if this is money for extras, but does it matter? They want to earn money doing something they are good at. I want to save time eliminating something I detest, so it is a win-win.
Are there some downsides to this? Yes. I am a bit territorial and like my home the way I like it, even if it is a mess. I need to get over this. There is also the feeling like I am surrendering something I should be doing to someone else.This is a false teaching I have unfortunately internalized, but before I consider myself a failure I ask myself what has eternal value. Raising godly children and writing books that will hopefully lead people to live in a more Christ-like manner is ultimately more important than my feminine pride. And I like it. I like coming home to a clean toilet and a shower stall where I can actually see through the glass surround. It’s a little thing, but it does make me happy.