Thursday, March 27, 2008


I have a maid. Did y'all know that? It took almost three years, but I broke down and hired one last year - after constant nagging by my friends, husband, and principally my mother. ;o)

Ironia is awesome. She comes every two weeks and gives the house what I would call a spring cleaning - we're talking cleaning behind the refrigerator, under the beds, on top of the closets, kitchen cabinets, the whole shebang. Not to mention the garage and the back patio, too. And the sidewalks. It takes her a good nine hours. I pay her the equivalent of 30 bucks. I feel like I'm robbing her, but everyone here tells me I pay her too much ...

She is a great friend of the boys - they adore her and every time she comes they have to show her all the novelties of the previous two weeks. I trust her implicitly. I often leave while she's here, and have given her a key when we're on vacation. She's fun to talk to, and we can chat the hours away if she'd let me - before sternly reminding me that she has to get to work. At the same time, she doesn't REQUIRE conversation ... somehow it's perfectly comfortable when she's working in silence and I'm running around after the kids.

I DO have a hard time "relaxing" when she's here. I feel like I need to be busy, too. It's impossible to cuddle up with a book and a drink while she's scrubbing my baseboards. But maybe that's a good thing. She keeps me motivated. Basically, Ironia is a dream.

Yet even now, a year later, I wonder if I did the right thing. No doubt she alleviates a ton of stress. Obviously I do a ton of 'regular' cleaning - with two little kids I STILL have to mop almost daily, plus the fingerprints on the windows and walls, general clutter, and the never-ending-pile of dishes. (We don't have a dishwasher. Well, we TECHNICALLY have a dishwasher ... just no hookups ....) So I STILL feel like I'm constantly cleaning.

But then, I haven't scrubbed a toilet in a year.

She does literally everything besides the fridge, the stove, the fans, and inside of cupboards. But EVERYTHING else. Even vaccums the couch (though I still have the wash the slipcover every now and then ....)

So here's why I struggle internally: Guilt. I feel ... weak. I know thousands of women have BIGGER houses than me, MORE kids, and LESS time. And still manage. Somehow I feel like I'm pawning off MY responsibility ... it's supposed to be my job, you know? Part of me would rather have a dirty house that I clean by myself than a clean house that someone else does. Grrr ... Plus I feel that she's become a bad habit. Again, I haven't cleaned a bathroom in a year. I'm soooooooo not going to be able to afford a maid when we move back to the States. So what will I do when I go back?

In a nutshell, I'm lowering my own capabilities while raising my cleanliness standards. Recipe for disaster.

I'm thinking it comes down to culture. All the Brazilians think I'm nuts that she only comes twice a month. Everyone I know with my size of house has a daily maid and usually a nanny besides. Sometimes even a cook. But I just can't do it. My limit is a two-weeker. WHY IS THAT?!?!?! Are Americans just pridefully independant to the point of ridiculousness? Or is it just me? What's wrong with me, oh internet world?!


heidizinha said...

i think it is totally brilliant to have a maid, and jayson and i have talked about it several times. my mom had someone come in for most of our lives, and it just gave her more time to be with us--which is what its all about anyway, right? i think you have so many other IMPORTANT things to think about than your baseboards.

Rocketgirl said...

Taking care of a house in Brasil is soo much more labor inensive than an American one I think (okay, I may be totaly off there, but with no windows, we sure got a LOT of soot flying in all over our floors). And look, you are giving someone a nice job, a good friend to your kiddos AND more time to be a mom. Having a housekeeper in Brasil was the best blessing ever - enjoy it while you gots it:)