Would you be uncomfortable with this?

sweebyFebruary 18, 2010

First off, let me say that I absolutely adore my husband. He is a kind man with a good heart. But there are times when he seems utterly clueless. I think this is one of those times...

We both work from home, so this morning when the phone rang and I saw it was his daughter (29), I let him answer it, knowing the call was for him. A little while later, he calls me (we have two phone lines) to give me the great news --

He starts off with how the lady who comes every other week to clean our house uses too many chemicals and is rough with his beloved vacuum cleaner, leaving dings in the walls and baseboards. True. Then he reminds me that SD sometimes cleans houses for extra money and what a great job she does. Also true. (You know where this is going, right?...) Well, the "great news" is that he's decided to fire our cleaning lady and has already arranged for SD to take her place -- Great news! Thud.

Me: "Uh, Honey -- You mean this is already arranged and you didn't consult me first?"

Him: "You know what a great job she does..."

Me: "Absolutely. But I'm not comfortable having your daughter work for us as a cleaning lady."

Him: "Oh. Uh. I get the feeling you're not happy about this. Now I feel bad."

Me: "Don't feel bad -- But I need you to understand. You've never once been happy with any of the cleaning ladies we've had. How would our relationship be affected if you weren't happy with her work? Plus, I want her to be a guest and family member here -- not an employee. And I'm not really comfortable having her clean up our messes, and that's *why* we hire someone to help clean. It's not that I don't like her or trust her -- you know that I do. I'm just not comfortable with this and don't think it's a good idea."

Him: "That makes sense. I'll call her back."

So he does. And he explains how I feel about it. (She's mature and rational -- she gets it, no problem.) He ends the conversation with how happy he is that they've been able to discuss these issues, and how since they've been discussed, he knows they won't be a problem. She starts next week.

So am I being over-sensitive about this?

Or do I get the lamp?

For the new members, the lamp is used to whack errant husbands over the head with.

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caphillsm

Wow, this is a tough one! On one hand, if one of my steps needed extra $, I would prefer they DID something for it (like wash DH's car or walk the dog or whatever). It would feel better than a hand out.

On the other hand, cleaning someones house is a bit of a personal thing. I wouldnt want my steps cleaning my bedroom! That is better left for a business relationship.

Here is what I would do: think of something ELSE she could do for some extra $. Some other project, like painting, or touching up those baseboards! ha ha. Pay her for that, rather than the regular cleaning that your service does. Dont let DH fire your person. Just create a legitimate project for SD.

Glad to hear she is mature and rational....that helps!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 1:40PM
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sweeby

Thanks for your suggestion Caphillsm --

Their financial situation is 'modest' not desperate, and cleaning houses is something she does for extras, not to make ends meet. Finding another project for her to do probably would feel like 'make work in lieu of handouts' because that is what we have done in the past.

The 'personal thing' is definitely part of it for me -- But I'm OK with it on a 'one time' or 'short term' basis. It's the 'making her our regular cleaning lady' part that I'm really not right with.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 2:48PM
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caphillsm

Well, if its not to pay the rent or buy food, then I think your position gets a lot stronger.

Maybe have your cleaning lady come half as often, and have your SD fill in for a while. But I would get DH to agree that it ends in a couple months.

I assume you trust her. You might even begin to feel ok about it over time....

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 3:49PM
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mom2emall

I am handing you the lamp! You told your husband how you felt and he agreed. Then he talked to his daughter and continued to go against your wishes. GRRR....

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 5:59PM
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finedreams

famous lamp comes your way...

i would be very uncomfortable, plus he ignored your wishes. it is OK to hire your kids to do some home improvement but not regular cleaning, like bedroom? laundry? closets? no privacy...

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:01PM
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justnotmartha

Who last had the lamp . . . time to send it to Sweeby?!

I was recently in the same boat - DH's parents owe us a chunk of money, so it was brought up that my MIL could clean the house weekly as repayment. When she is here she usually runs some laundry or picks up kid stuff which doesn't bother me, but the thought of her truly CLEANING didn't sit well, for all the reasons you listed, Sweeby. Not at all a trust issue, I just didn't want our relationship to be on that level. Consequently, that idea never quite panned out.

The fact that DH knew you weren't on board, called SD to to explain why, and then went a head with it anyway is completely deserving of the lamp. And a good chewing out for being so dense.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:27PM
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sweeby

Thank you! If only he wasn't so darned nice...

He's really sorry he ticked me off, but he just doesn't get why I'm annoyed. After all, she does do this as a sideline business, she's cleaned here a few times before, she does a really good job... All true -- And I genuinely like and respect her. I'm just not comfortable with her inthat role.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 10:36PM
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mom2emall

I agree. I would not want any relative or even friend cleaning my home. It seems funny to say it, but it is just too personal of a job to have someone close to you do! I would be more comfortable with a stranger.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 10:47PM
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terinick

Since your husband explained to his daughter how YOU feel and the daughter "gets it" ... shouldn't she have backed down even when Dad gave her the green light?

I would speak with her personally and be upfront. I would even ask her how she would feel if you came to her house weekly to clean up.
If she truly is "rational and gets it" then you're back to the old housekeeper.

If she goes back to Daddy crying - you need to use the lamp on BOTH of them!

Loved this one ... "rough with his beloved vacuum cleaner" - LoL! What's with the attachment?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 11:22PM
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sweeby

"Loved this one ... "rough with his beloved vacuum cleaner" - LoL! What's with the attachment?"

I've wondered about that Terinick! ;-)
It borders on the creepy...

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 9:43AM
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ashley1979

Hey, Sweeby....if you're not going to use her, would you send her up my way? Thanks!

LOL! J/k....kinda...it sure would be nice to have a housekeeper. I'm just glad my house is small. I can't imagine what I would do if I had a whole 'nother floor to clean! EEEK!

Seriously, though, you're correct about being uncomfortable with her cleaning your house, but I like your reasons WAY nicer than mine. LOL!

My main reason for being uncomfortable is that my SD expects that no one gets privacy, except her. So I'm thinking of my own SD's personality and how she would probably be looking for information, sharing private things with BM, or just general nosing around.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 3:13PM
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lonepiper

Sweeby, would you feel uncomfortable if it was your son who was volunteering to be your housekeeper? I'm only asking because if I had a stepdaughter who did NOT live with me full time, then I'd probably feel uncomfortable with her in that role, however, my full time stepdaughters regularly clean our house (for a small nominal fee, of course!!!) and I don't feel uncomfortable in the least. Actually, I feel very comfortable because they know exactly how I like things and they well remember bare walls and unvacuumed carpets when it was just them and their dad so they take great pride in our home decor and subsequent cleanliness!!!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:48PM
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mom_of_4

hand over the lamp... I wouldnt want my kids cleaning my house ... professionally that is... they clean in the sense that they do chores..but I really would not want my grown kid to be cleaning my house as part of her job.. I would end up feeling guilty and cleaning things I wouldnt have or not nitpicking things that really do bother me and would have been brought up with an outside company but not with my kids. Then I would just be blowing the whole point of having the cleaning lady in the first place

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 11:41PM
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lonepiper

Point taken - I didn't think of that aspect!!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 11:50PM
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sweeby

"Sweeby, would you feel uncomfortable if it was your son who was volunteering to be your housekeeper?"

Good question -- and one I have thought of. And I guess you're right. However if it was my older son, I'd worry that he'd lost his mind, because that is SO unlike him! My younger son already cleans and does yardwork -- (He's the one you want Ashley ;-)

"I would end up feeling guilty and cleaning things I wouldnt have or not nitpicking things that really do bother me and would have been brought up with an outside company but not with my kids. Then I would just be blowing the whole point of having the cleaning lady in the first place."

Exactly! That's precisely it.
But the delicious part is this -- I'm much less picky about it than Hubby is. So HE'S the one that's going to pre-clean and re-clean and bite his tongue. Me? I just have to do a quick spiff-up, which I should probably do anyway...

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 12:30PM
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lamom

sweeby,

Yep, he deserves the lamp!! You said, no thanks hun and he went on and hired her anyway. Hmm...maybe you can handle it this way, tell her and him that you are OK with SD helping out for the big, deep spring clean. That's a one or two day affair vs every other week, helping you organize, purge and so on. Definitely privacy issues with regular cleaning, in your drawers, your closet, changing your sheets, your papers since you work at home, knowing when you entertain, how well you personally clean the tubs and toilets, knowing what's in the fridge when she cleans it, counting the wineglasses and how many times they've been used when there are ashes in the fireplace etc etc etc Eeeeewwwie! It is strictly business with my cleaning lady and I like it like that. Not to mention whatever judgement she might be having on the interim cleaning that goes on when she's not there!

I know my cleaning lady has opinions on my housekeeping which thankfully, she mostly doesn't share with me. Mostly because she HAS shared her thoughts a couple of times like when the dog was vomiting, and what's up with the carpet and boy was I embarrassed. Another conversation about the state of the tile. And now you are talking family?! You are lucky and blessed that your SD understands. Take advantage of that.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 9:52PM
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gerina

I agree that I would be uncomfortable to have a someone (SD) who I would normally want to feel as a family member and guest in my house as my house cleaner. Honestly, I would feel very badly, just terrible, having a holiday or family dinner, that she attends, knowing that SD was going to be cleaning the house prior to the event, as well as afterward. It seems so Cinderella.

Beyond the lamp, do you have any friends or neighbors that may need her services? Do you have any one time large projects that she can help you complete?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 1:37AM
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sweeby

"It seems so Cinderella."

LOL!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 12:50PM
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lamom

Gerina,

Cinderella! Perfect, that is funny and on point.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 6:21PM
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ashley1979

Yeah....it kinda does sound like Cinderella!

So how's it going so far?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 2:05PM
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sweeby

Cinderella is hard at work right now (and doing a great job). I hope she decides to charge more, because for what she's doing (more than our other lady did, and more carefully also), she's being underpaid.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 2:51PM
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sweeby

Well - Hubby also agreed that the value of the work she did was worth much more than the agreed-upon amount. (She even cleaned our ceiling fan blades and 'Lime-Away'ed' Hubby's shower door.) This gal *cleans!* -- clearly his daughter! ;-)

So Hubby did tell her she did too much work for the money and that she should spend no more than 5 hours here. She said 'no problem', that she enjoyed visiting with us throughout the day while she worked, and that it took longer because it was her first time cleaning here.

We'll play it by ear...

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 11:44AM
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justnotmartha

does she travel . . . great distances?? My lady has NEVER done the fan blades!!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 12:39PM
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catlettuce

Ummm, I need her here! Will pay!
Actually, I think even though initially it may have been uncomfortable for your stated reasons, it may end up being great for all involved :0)

Glad it's working out!
~Cat

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 1:25PM
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sweeby

Oh! I forgot! She also did some windows! ;-)

This may work out after all...
(Guess I could do some pre-cleaning.)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 1:37PM
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imamommy

"does she travel . . . great distances?? My lady has NEVER done the fan blades!!"

I don't even have a lady... I gotta clean the blades myself! Send her out West... the shower door alone is enough reason to pay extra!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 8:44PM
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