The search for a maid

30 May

I’ve been overwhelmed with my life for a while now, pretty much since my lovely family returned home to their real lives, leaving me to wrangle Leon. What to do with Leon while I’m nursing?

Our closet has no doors, the perfect playground for somebody whose favorite game is throwing items on the floor.

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I’m usually held captive underneath the twins, watching in distress as Leon wreaks havoc in our bedroom. I know the solution is to maintain everything put away and to figure out a way to get his favorite stuff to throw out of his reach.

But in my overwhelmed state, the only thing I manage to do is watch helplessly while I think about all the work I have to do in addition to picking up everything Leon just threw on the floor. The daily stuff, like dishes and laundry, are usually all I let myself think about, but in the back of my subconscious is the great weight of true house keeping : scrubbing windows and window sills, scrubbing the bathroom, the toilet (ok, I’ll be honest, cleaning the bathroom at all), washing the cars, scrubbing the stains off the kitchen floor, dusting, etc.

I sweep and mop, but I haven’t done any deep cleaning since we moved in (yikes, a year ago).

So I started to think about hiring a maid. Perfect solution, right? After all, I have twins! And an 18 month old! If anyone needs a maid, it’s me, right? I posted on Facebook that I was thinking of hiring a maid to see if anyone had any advice. A few people gave me references, many said I should go ahead and do it, but one person, my old farming mentor and zen teacher, ranted me down!

I also googled it. I typed in, “should i hire a maid”, as if i were seeking counsel from a close friend. Most links were positive, saying that once you do it, you’ll love it. Like Mother, Like Daughter was against it. I clicked around her blog and loved her view on just about everything related to mothering and housekeeping. In regards to cleaning the house she says,

Why do you waste time being bitter about having this responsibility?

Because you’re so highly educated? Because you used to be an executive? Because your mom should help you? Because you could be earning a big salary if, if, if….? Because your girlfriends don’t have to?

Let’s just see. If you are home today and your house is dirty and no one is coming to clean it in an hour, then you have to deal. It’s as simple as that.

Meanwhile I was talking it out with Carlos, who was also against it. It didn’t make any sense to me, after all, we hire help in the garden, and Carlos hires help in construction. As a society, we hire teachers to teach most of our kids, and doctors to cure us. We buy tools and clothing. What’s the difference between all of those things and hiring a cleaning person?

Besides, I thought, having help will help me do all those things I want to do and I’ll have more time to play with my children. Surely this is a good thing, right?

Zen Teacher says I should try to do less not more, so “you can enjoy what you have on hand as opposed to seeking other things that are not a part of you, [because] as you seek these other things your essence will be spread round thinner and thinner”

(I knew he was right! Find satisfaction in the little things, the everyday things, the moment. Or in zen terms, “right here right now”!)

Because really, if I had more time to do what I want to do, wouldn’t I just end up on Facebook, ignoring my children?

While talking it out with Carlos, I came to the conclusion that the difference between hiring help in the garden, or buying clothes and tools, versus hiring a housekeeper is that our home is our personal space, filled with our energy and our love and it is our responsibility/duty/joy (if we have the right attitude) to love it and take care of it.

As Zen Teacher said, “Because it is YOUR home, it is you, what you are, who you are. In every dish, fork, spoon, sheet, pillow, meal, cleansing, it is your soul, your sacred envrionment, created by you to ensure your wholeness to the universe through your own home. Once you hire someone to come between you and this sacredness, you begin to lose touch with the passion, the warmth, and the feeling of love you inspire to your surroundings”.

Wow. I was really only thinking about the question in terms of economics: can we afford to hire a maid? Is it worth it to hire a maid? And then it became a spiritual thing.

I read a book about Amish people and there was a story about an Amish woman whose church loosened the regulations and decided to allow washing machines. Her husband asked her if she wanted one, and she said no because she uses her time washing to pray for her children, and why would she want less time to pray for her children?

A different way of looking at things. On Tuesday I deep-cleaned the bedroom. Leon helped me wash the walls! A bucket of water and a scrub brush is like heaven for Leon. So, rather than take time from my children, cleaning gave us something to do together.

In more farm-related news, our kitchen garden is alive and harvesting! Now, when I’m in the kitchen scrubbing away loving my home, I can look out the window and see I’m not working alone. Home is where the heart is!

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One Response to “The search for a maid”

  1. charlie collins May 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Caroline, a little bit of help and you can have “cakes with candles” once a week. Remember how u blew mine and Leons’ minds last week? OK kiddin a bit, but if you can get a few hours of help a week think of all the fun you will have. Don’t over think it just do..

    much love’

    your fave uncle,
    Chuck

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