If you have children, when do you clean your house? Just curious how everyone else manages to balance the chore. I'm not sure "balance" is the right word in our house right now--it's more like patching a leaky dam with duct tape and chewing gum.
For almost two years, we hired someone to come once a month to clean. She scrubbed toilets, cleaned the oven, dusted the lightbulbs, and made the whole place smell like Pine Sol. Yummy. And, once a month, we had incentive to declutter the place--uncovering the carpet and the kitchen counters and filing all of our financial statements away to at least make snooping a challenge, were she so inclined.
The last couple of months that we used her services, things got a little iffy--she kept requesting to be paid in cash (which we never have on hand, and which makes me raise eyebrows). She would "schedule" our next cleaning, on say, Tuesday the 17th, except that Tuesday would be the 19th. That led to a guessing game of which day she would show. She occasionally would leave a bottle of cleaning liquid behind in a room--an easy mistake, but a dangerous one when the room is the kids' bathroom. Anywho, after a couple of additional scheduling snafus, we no longer have a maid.
Since then, I've been trying to keep up the place myself. Well, ourselves, because my husband really does almost half of the indoor work and more than half of the outdoor stuff. I only work 4 days a week, but my 5th weekday is usually spent running errands or attending doctor appointments (with or without the kids). With one child, it was feasible to clean while she was awake. With two--or rather, with Trystan whose nickname is Trouble--it's nearly impossible to do any cleaning while they're awake.
I like for Trystan to see us cleaning--he loves to get out washclothes (emphasis on the plural), to take items out of the dishwasher (even when they're not clean), to throw things away, and to attempt to sweep or swiffer. We have a toy vacuum that is a miniature of our full-size one, and it frustrates the heck out of him--it's still taller than he is, and he can't manipulate it the way we do the big vacuum. And he's trying to figure out electrical outlets, flushing toilets, tearing paper, and removing twist-off-caps (something the books claim that he shouldn't master until 2-3 years old...hah!)
Cleaning after bedtime doesn't work that well most nights. First off, Char won't fall asleep until nearly 10 some nights, and loud noises (like vacuums) distract her. I am incapable of consciousness after about 11pm, and really, incapable of being vertical after about 9:30-10. Late nights aren't an option. Second, once in a while my husband and I want a little time to do something else. Something like watch a movie (or, with my nocturnal habits, half a movie), read a book, do anything on the computer unaccompanied by cheerful music and animated figures, etc. Maybe even exercise.
I don't think I really have a good point here, more of a whine. I am curious how everyone else handles this. I need to look into other options for a cleaning person/service. Something like what we had before, but hopefully with fewer scheduling issues and better payment options. If you have any leads, feel free to email me :)