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Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

Author: toni

~ 01/07/11



MOM #1: Want to go for a cup of coffee after drop-off?

MOM #2: Can’t. Got to get home and clean. My cleaning lady is coming today.


Bizarre but true. Most women I know who have someone come and clean their home feel compelled to actually CLEAN before the cleaning person comes. Why you ask?

Well, after talking to many moms and doing a little much-needed soul searching, I have found that there is more than one reason for this.  And sometimes, these reasons work in tandem to create this bizarre and, yes I’ll say it, ridiculous behavior.


1) We’re hard-wired to please.

2) We don’t want the cleaning person to think we’re dirty.

3) We have to get rid of the mess on top of the dirt so they can actually get to the dirt to clean it.

4) We don’t want to seem rude.

5) We live in mortal fear that they will discuss our personal dirt with one of our neighbors for whom they also do housework.


This strange pre-cleaning cleaning is not only exhibited in stay-at-home moms who, arguably, have a more flexible schedule that allows them to more easily engage in this baffling ritual. Nope, it is also a common phenomenon displayed in even the most haggard, overly-booked and stretched beyond her limits working mother who barely has time to shave her legs in the shower let alone pick up for someone whom she is specifically paying to pick up.

Even I, a working mom who works out of my home, have been guilty of this. Because it mortifies me to think that, while I am typing away at my computer, my cleaning person  is in the bathroom next to my office quietly judging the condition of my toilet. Or that she shares the details of my family’s personal hygiene with friends over margaritas. Ew.

I mean, how can I look her in the eye knowing that behind  her smile she is secretly replused by the little hair clippings I may have neglected to brush out of the corner of my countertop last time I got too impatient to wait for my next hair appointment and took my dull scissors to my bangs. (Sorry Patrice, but yes, you’re going to have to fix those….AGAIN.)

I don’t know what the solution is. Meditation. Xanax. Growing out my bangs.

Until I figure it out, I will continue my pre-cleaning cleaning compulsion. And continue to wish that the complusion manifested itself WITHOUT the impending visit from my cleaning person. It’d sure save me a few bucks. Sigh.

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  1. Here’s what I do. I go out for the morning when my cleaning lady is here. It helps LOADS when I don’t have to look her in the eye. Same goes for my bank manager – email contact only. If you don’t see the judgement, you can delude yourself that it’s not there!

    Comment by Claire Gustchow — February 2, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  2. This may be true for women, but I can tell you from much experience that men do the same thing, but for a different reason. WE clean up before the cleaning lady arrives, because we know very well that if ANYONE ELSE but us touches our stuff, they’ll mess EVERYTHING up, and suddenly we won’t be able to find anything! The woman who cleans my house is so perfect and so ideal and so wonderful, she’ll leave out three pennies from where she found them. But still, if I left a pile of papers that included the deed to my house, my marriage license, and my will, on my desk, I’d be sure to come home and find that all three had DISAPPEARED! Oh sure, the pennies would be there. Nothing that could serve her any use at all would be taken. But those invaluable papers, that mean nothing to her — gone with the @&@^&! wind baby!

    So don’t feel bad about pre-cleaning. She has enough to do, cleaning up your dust and grime. Save her from having to contend with your whole life too!

    Comment by Duggy — February 24, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

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