Dear Working Mother,

While chatting with other working mothers recently, it occurred to me that while it may be possible for working mothers to have it all, once we define what “having it all” means to us… it doesn’t mean we have to do it all. In addition to being a mother and holding down a a part-time or full-time job, or running our own business, many of us also feel we need to live up to some archaic image of a domestic goddess.

I would much rather spend my time at home doing something more fun and enjoyable or personally  fulfilling, than washing the floor or cleaning the toilets… to be honest those tasks were always the most hated of all household duties, and something my other half rarely did, if ever. And now, two kids later with limited free time, we choose to outsource those jobs to a cleaner who comes once a week for two hours.

The best €20 ever spent. In the words of another working mother I came across on a Facebook Group, “I would rather eat beans on toast, than get rid of my cleaner”. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there are definitely a lot of things I would sacrifice before I get rid of our cleaner… like Sky Sports to mention one.

Just like we no longer live in an era when women are expected to stay at home to keep house and look after the children, gone are the days of a cleaner being a luxury, only for the privileged. And yes, men should and can share the domestic duties, but having a cleaner means that not only is the house given a good clean once a week, but, if you are anything like me, there are less arguments, and that alone is worth €20.

If you and your other half work full-time, or even part-time, consider this. You may not have the power to reduce your hours or get the flexible working arrangement you want right now, but if you can afford it, employing a cleaner will mean more quality time off for you… quality time that can be spent with your kids… or with your partner… on building a side business or looking for a better job… or it can simply be spent on a little relaxation for yourself, reducing stress and ultimately making you a better mother, partner and employee.

I’ve talked to other working mothers who admit to having a cleaner, but the statement is often made with a guilty look or in hushed tones… as if all the women of generations past are listening in and judging us for not living up to our womanly duties. Well, I think it’s time we let go of those judgements, along with our guilt, and embrace the role of a cleaner in our working mother lives.


Elaine Lawless