If there’s one thing I’ve dreamed of since becoming a mum it’s having a cleaner.
We’ve never been able to afford one so instead I’ve been comforted with memes such as ‘my idea of a superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors’ while being secretly madly jealous and green with envy at those who have one.
The thing is memes like that are designed purely to make people like me feel better. Scrubbing a sodding floor is not a superpower. It’s just another job the kids like to ‘help’ with resulting in more water on the floor than in the bucket and me perilously close to having a mum meltdown. If I never scrub another floor again it will be too soon.
We still can’t really afford a cleaner, but we can’t afford for me to go insane either.
Prior to the arrival of baby number three I would do the main household clean on a Friday after I finished work and before Misery Guts got home from his, so we had a nice clean house for the weekend and chores wouldn’t impact on family time.
But since returning to work after Littlest B was born and now that we’re a family of five that clean has started taking longer and longer, creeping further and further into the evening to the point that it’s 8pm on a Friday night before I finally turn the vacuum cleaner off, absolutely shattered after a working week punctuated with the broken nights that come with breastfeeding a five-month-old baby.
I was buying BB and Little B a magazine each to try and keep them quiet and in one place while I cleaned (whoever said cleaning a house with children in it is like trying to eat an Oreo cookie while cleaning your teeth hit the nail right on the head) which is ridiculous when you consider the cost of them – two kids’ magazines is almost the equivalent of paying for an hours’ worth of cleaning.
Add to that the fact that me doing the lion’s share of the cleaning on top of a working week a) isn’t fair and b) is setting a terrible example to the kids that cleaning is a mum or woman’s job left us with two options:
1. Share the household cleaning at the weekend but sacrifice family time
2. Get a cleaner
So we’re finally getting a cleaner! That’s right, someone to come and help! And I’m just a teeny weeny bit excited!
The thing is I know nothing about cleaners. Should you find one privately or go through an agency? Is it better if it’s someone you know or someone you don’t? Should you be in or out when they come? And what happens if they don’t do something quite to your liking?
So I asked some fellow bloggers for their advice and this is what they said.
10 top tips for finding the perfect cleaner
1. Ask friends and family for personal recommendations. “You want someone who you know is reliable and trustworthy and word of mouth means a lot to me when choosing someone.” Beth at Twinderelmo
2. Expect to pay more for an agency. “We used to use an agency but we had the same cleaner for so long that eventually we sacked off the agency and now employ the same cleaner direct. The agency did nothing for their money and I would be reluctant to use one again.” Laura at Mum on a Mission
3. Ask to see paperwork. “My top tip is make sure you see their insurance certificates before they start.” Hollie at Thrifty Mum
4. Be clear about your expectations. “I write a list of jobs I would like doing and keep honest. We did try one cleaner who was awful once – I had to text to say please don’t come back. It was polite but you can’t pay for an awful standard.” Sarah at Run Jump Scrap
5. Not everyone has the same idea of ‘good’ as you. “I once had someone that came highly recommended by a neighbour and she was awful. I had to say we didn’t want to carry on with her and it is so awkward when I see her now! Friends aren’t good either as it’s harder to tell them if you’re not happy.” Louise at Pink Pear Bear
6. Speak out if there’s something you’re not happy with. “Any issues are dealt with via instant messaging which I find easier rather than face to face confrontation!” Hollie at Thrifty Mum
7. Fight the urge to help. “I was at home a couple of times and felt that I needed to help so made sure I went out and in the end changed her day so I was at work and couldn’t be here.” Carly at This Crazy Mamma
8. Consider what would happen if something went wrong. “When our cleaner left the shower trickling on the side of the bath and it leaked through into the kitchen our agency paid for the kitchen to be completely repainted and the ceiling fixed. I’m not sure if we’d have gone with someone private they would have been able to do that.” Sarah at Toby Goes Bananas
9. Be flexible. “The key for me is flexibility. I text my cleaner if I want her to come a little earlier and equally, if she needs to watch sports day she can easily arrange to come a little later. She also messages me before she comes and asks where I’d like her to focus on.” Samantha at North East Family Fun
10. Don’t forget to tip. “If our cleaner hasn’t finished everything she always stays an extra 10 minutes to get it finished so I have never had to moan about things being unfinished. I tend to add extra into the pay occasionally as a thank you.” Emma at Our Fairytale Adventure.
Do you employ a cleaner and do you have any top tips on making the arrangement run smoothly? I’d love to hear what they are!