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The floors would be shinier if someone else cleaned them.

This week I will let a strange man into my house when my husband isn't home. I will greet him with heaps upon heaps of kisses and shouts of delight because he will be bearing gifts of mops and sponges and environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies. He is coming over to CLEAN MY HOUSE.

A few weeks ago, an old friend blasted an invitation to all of her Facebook contacts: her green cleaning service was in need of some fresh houses for training purposes. Was anyone interested in housecleaning at a wildly discounted rate? I just happened to spot this message when I was using Phillip's computer and it took me all of .002 seconds to draft a reply. It went something like, "YES PLEASE. HOW ABOUT THIS AFTERNOON?"

I've been toying with the idea of housecleaning for a few months now. "Toying" because, WOW, it costs a lot of money. I don't think I can really afford it, but that hasn't kept me from researching companies and even making a call or two. For a while I justified it to myself by saying, "Self? Your husband is going to GRAD SCHOOL. The potential number of ways to resent him is going to DOUBLE. Hiring a housecleaner would help SO MUCH with that." And sometimes I would say, "Self? You're going to be so busy with the KIDS! You need a housecleaner so you can be a BETTER MOM!" I was really really good at coming up with Ways to Rationalize Hiring Someone Else to Clean My Toilet.

But OH the GUILT. I wasn't lying -- we really can't afford it, not on a regular basis. And seriously, if I wasn't sitting here reading blogs I'd have PLENTY of time to clean the toilet. RIGHT?

I signed up to be a practice house for the housecleaner trainee, but we haven't decided if we'll continue with the service. Phillip and I had a somewhat tense conversation about it while driving to my parents' house the other day, a conversation in which I had to haul out my big *PAUSE* sign and explain a thing or two.

Maggie: Okay, so when you just totally blow off the idea of housecleaning, I am personally offended.

Phillip: Huh?

Maggie: And I know I shouldn't BE personally offended, but what you don't understand is that the state of our house is so closely linked with my IDENTITY.

Phillip: Wha?

Maggie: A dirty house means I am a Stay At Home Mom FAILURE! I can't keep up! It's overwhelming! So when you act like a ring around the bathtub is no big deal I feel like you don't get me AT ALL!

Phillip: Um…

Maggie: Housecleaning would fix everything! But I ALREADY feel guilty! So maybe not! I am not physically incapable of mopping! GAH!

Phillip: So, are you saying we should look at the budget and figure out how to make this work?

Maggie: Yes. But then I will need that money for therapy.

The encouraging thing is that my dishwasher, which has been broken for over a month, was finally fixed today. I don't really mind washing dishes, but I'd forgotten how much longer it takes to do by hand. Maybe THAT'S why I can't keep up! That must be it.

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