by Jenny Smedra
I moved home about nine months ago to offer support to my parents as they began grappling with declining health and raising my nieces. While I love being part of a big family, it seems that some days my world has been turned upside down. I have the feeling that I have adjusted well to my new professional and family responsibilities. But I never thought how demanding it is to manage the schedules and responsibilities of an entire household. In addition to the weekly doctor’s appointments, tutoring sessions, transportation and meal preparation, there seems to be an endless list of chores that are never done. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always kept a clean home with no professional housekeeping services, but cleaning up after you is completely different from the whole family.
Even though I knew my life was going to change drastically, I never expected to spend half the day cleaning. It seems that there are always more waiting times, no matter how many dishes I wash or how much laundry I have finished. And I have to be honest, most days I feel like I’m drowning. Even if I tick off the to-do list, I never get anywhere and at the end of the day I’m still completely exhausted. Every bowl in the sink and every wet towel on the floor makes me stop trying. Because of this, I’ve given serious thought to whether we have room in our budget to hire outside help.
Delegate cleaning responsibility
After doing most of the cleaning duties, I had enough and wanted some accountability. In my eyes the obvious questions were 1) Who is making the mess? and 2) how do everyone else contribute? When I asked everyone what they were doing to help each week, my parents quickly pointed their fingers at the children. However, my nieces were the ones who kept doing the little daily chores.
Since no one wanted to take the blame, we decided to start with a clean blackboard. So we made a task chart and delegated jobs to every family member who could physically help. My parents, nieces, and I heartily agreed to our chosen responsibilities, and I slept soundly thinking we had solved the problem.
As you probably guessed, the to-do table worked for about a week. Then the stacks of dirty clothes and dishes reappeared. Tired of playing maid, I stopped cleaning to get my answers. The truth was a lot more complicated than I expected.
Get to the root of the problem
Since then, purification has always been a source of conflict in our family I was a child. My father expected the house to be clean at all times. In the meantime, my mother used the same standards at home as she did in her cleaning business. While my brothers and I did our best to keep things in order, we still had arguments at least once a week. Now that I’ve grown up, I see the cycle continue with my nieces.
As I watched household dynamics, I noticed patterns that undermined the ideal home my parents wanted to maintain. Although light cleaning was done regularly, it was an uphill struggle to contain the mountains of clutter from my father’s projects that occupy every shelf and closet. His hoarding tendencies were counterproductive and made it impossible to keep things clean for very long. Also, it was hard for him to understand that if he kept filling all the storage rooms with trash, he would have unrealistic expectations.
In response to my father’s request for a clean home, my mother kept moving things into drawers to reveal the closet and give the impression that everything was pristine. Not only did this result in many things being lost, but it also created even greater problems in more compact areas. Also, my nieces and I got deeply angry that we were doing our part of cleaning here and still being held responsible for all the mess.
Once I was able to identify the problem, I had the much more difficult task of getting my father to clean up clutter and dealing with resentment about the uneven distribution of chores. Slowly but surely we move forward as we sort through years of mess and unspoken anger. However, it still doesn’t interfere with the housework that needs to be done.
Weighing the benefits of a professional cleaning service
Since the adults share the financial responsibility, we have all agreed to discuss additional household expenses before taking on any further burdens. As I write this, I am also preparing my argument as to why my family should use cleaning services. I think the biggest benefit of hiring a professional is that it avoids added stress and conflict. With so many personalities under one roof, anything that can reduce tension or friction is welcome.
For me, the immediate value means saving time on daily tasks so that I can focus on other priorities. With more free time, I can do the heavy lifting and deep cleaning that have been ignored for the past 20 years. It also makes it easier to manage the debugging process when I don’t have to do the daily cleaning tasks too. In my opinion, it pays to regain my freedom by eliminating time-consuming tasks.
The cost of a cleaning service
After doing a little research, I found that the average cost of a professional housekeeping service in the Omaha area is around $ 168 per month. However, the total price could range from $ 116 to $ 235. The estimates depend on a few factors, such as the location, size of your home, and the type of housework. This price quote reflected light cleaning tasks like vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, dusting, and general tidying up. Anything beyond that counts as “deep cleansing” and costs extra.
As I spoke to more companies, I also learned that each company has different prices. Some base their prices on the area of your home, the number of bedrooms, or even the number of bathrooms. Others charge hourly or flat rates for their services. I received three separate offers for standard cleaning services, all of which were on the high end of the scale. For our house, local services would cost about $ 200 per month while independent contractors would cost about $ 150.
While I see the benefits of hiring a professional cleaning service, it will be difficult to convince the other adults that this is a necessary expense. In the worst case, I’m the one who pays the costs. However, I think it is an expense that is well justified. This will greatly reduce the pressure on me and the rest of the budget. This type of pressure creates a tremendous mental burden. And let’s face it, you can’t put a price on mental health.