The title of this probably sounds a bit weird. After all, I've always been my own housecleaner. Nobody else wants to do it. This story started earlier in the week when I found a flyer in our letterbox. It said, "Do you run out of time to clean your house? Let me do it for you." And the writer went on to say that she was a hardworking Thai mum who would charge just $10/hour for all sorts of cleaning and ironing.
The price was the first thing that leaped out at me. $10.00 per hour! I know that professional housecleaners from agencies charge anything from $50.00 to $80.00 per hour. This lady sounded incredibly cheap and I had to admit I was interested. I'm not one of those cosy, good old-fashioned housewives who don't mind cleaning and tidying the house. They sound a bit mythical to me. To be quite honest, I find it a real drag. So I showed the flyer to my dh and talked it over with him. He agreed that her price was brilliant and said, "Well, if you want to give her a call, I don't mind."
I was on the verge of doing it. I even jotted down a little list, figuring out that if she came for 2 hours a fortnight to help with some mopping, dusting, bathroom, kitchen and laundry cleaning, it'd be a great help and only set us back only $40.00 per month. I had the phone in my hand but something held me back from dialling her number.
I figured out what it was. I've never paid anyone for help with housework in my life. If I was going to pay anybody for doing it, I'd prefer to pay my own kids! They are always wanting to earn money for different reasons. Logan is trying to save up for a PS3 and Emma likes a bit of money in her purse at all times for things that strike her fancy in the shops. So I put it to them that if they'd like to take an even more active role in the housework, I'd pay them the money I'd considered paying the cleaning lady. (At present, we encourage them to keep their rooms tidy, unload the dishwasher and hang and unhang the occasional load of washing.)
I didn't get much interest. They both said that although they wanted money, they'd rather not scrub laundry tubs, mop floors and wash windows on a regular basis. And when I told Andrew, he commented that it proves how serious Logan really is about saving for his Play Station. I couldn't help agreeing. That's when I came up with my good idea.
I'm always trying to earn money for Apple Leaf Books. We keep this account separate from normal living expenses. Theoretically, selling books should be the bulk of it, but during slower periods, I still need a cash flow. My editor has just emailed that she recently finished work on my m/s, so that'll be coming out of Apple Leaf Books. We'll be needing work done on cover design soon too, so funds will dwindle. I'd love to see the balance creep up again. That's when I thought that I ought to keep doing the housework as I've always done, and then extract the $10/hour that I was going to pay the cleaning lady to put into Apple Leaf Books! It might sound simple but I felt that it was a brainwave. So did Andrew, when I told him, and he said, "Hopefully it'll make you more motivated."
Time will tell! I can't imagine that anything will ever help me like housework, but thinking about this new way of doing things, I'm actually looking forward to turning on the steam mop shortly. After all, housewives do work hard enough to deserve a pay check.