Are you feeling guilty for not cleaning house because you’re a maid? Do you experience overwhelming guilt and anxiety for taking a break when you get home?
The physical and emotional burnout of house cleaning is real. So, take moment to rest and relax right now and check out today’s advice on self-care and compassion.
Listen: Feeling Guilty for Not Cleaning House
Watch: Feeling Guilty for Not Cleaning House
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Feeling Guilty for Not Cleaning Your Own House
I received a YouTube comment where someone said they felt guilty after cleaning houses all day for someone else that they didn’t clean their own house when they got home. And it broke my heart.
House cleaners spend all day, every day, blessing the lives of other people, and cleaning their homes, and leaving the world a cleaner place.
Then they come home, and their own home is not clean and tidy. And they say, “I feel so guilty. Why don’t I clean my own house?” Well, the truth is, lots of house cleaners don’t. When you go home after a really long day of cleaning for everyone else, it’s a very thankless job, and you don’t get paid, and your kids don’t say, “Oh mom, thank you so much. I sure appreciate you cleaning up the house for me, or fixing dinner, or doing laundry, or all the things that parents do.”
It’s a very thankless job. It’s easy to say, “You know what? I’m too tired. I’ll do it tomorrow.” And then those guilt feelings come rushing back.
We are the Biggest Asset in Business
But one of the things to focus on is, we are our biggest asset in business. And so, we are the physical person that we are. We are the biggest tool. We go out and we physically clean all day. So, if we had a vacuum, and the vacuum got something stuck in the hose, the suction wouldn’t work right.
You’d have to stop what you’re doing, and you’d have to get something and either push on one end or the other and get the blockage out. You’d have to get the blockage out in order for the vacuum to work again. The same is true for us. When we have blockages, we stop. We can still work, but we’re not very efficient and we’re not effective. And so, as our biggest asset of the business, we being the tool, we have to make sure that we are operating correctly.
I Felt Broken for a While After I Got Married
Now, it’s sad and heartbreaking to me, but right after I got married, I realized there was something broken with me. And what’s broken is, here I am cleaning houses, and we play these tapes all day in our heads which can help or hurt us.
And for me, it was a hurtful period because I was playing broken tapes in my head. And they were tapes of manipulation and guilt from my husband’s family. Now, in a perfect world when you get married you hope that your parents in law, brothers, sisters, cousins, everyone will love you, and they will be happy that you’re in the family and all these things.
Well, that was not the case with this family. This particular family loves theatrics and drama and problems, and I’m a problem solver. And so, erroneously, I thought, well, if they have problems, I can fix them. And they would say, “Here’s a problem.” And I would say, “Here’s a solution.”
Life Isn’t Better Solving Other People’s Problems
And so, back and forth, back and forth it went for about five years. Then I came to the sad realization one day, they kept creating new problems and I kept solving them but there was no resolve. It’s not like life is any better for me having solved any of their problems. They just create new problems because they love problems and we’re not a good fit for each other.
And it wasn’t just that we were not a good fit of my own decision, it’s that I was made to feel on an ongoing basis that I was not good enough for the man that I married. And then I start thinking to myself, “Well, how does that work?”
I was playing these broken tapes over and over and over again in my head. Now in-house cleaning here’s the problem we do. We play tapes in our head.
Most of the Time We Don’t See Our Customers
And most of the time we don’t see our customers because our customers are gone while we’re cleaning. And we only hear from our customers when something is wrong. And so, there’s all this negativity, doubt, anxiety and frustration. Then we go home, and we have guilt, because our own family deserves better.
We deserve better. And yet we don’t give it to them because we’re too tired and we’ve put up with all this other crap all day. And so, we get home and we’re just exhausted. And we just want an outlet. And so, watching TV or something instead of cleaning our own house is the solution.
My Husband’s Family Made Me Very Unhappy
Well, for me, with this particular scenario, I realized I was unhappy, but I wasn’t just unhappy, I was obsessively unhappy. I would spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week focused on why am I not good enough for Pat, Pat is my husband. Why am I not good enough for him? I did all of these things. Why am I not good enough? It makes no sense. Then I started thinking, in a healthy, happy world, what would you want for your relative?
You would want them to be successful, happy, loved, healthy and financially stable and all these things. But as I looked at my husband, we were all of those things. Is that not good enough? And I realized it will never be good enough.
And it was like this realization where I had to stop myself and I had to say, “Angela, just stop right now. You have to stop and end this right now. Because you will never be good enough, and you will never get the approval that you’re hoping for from this particular group of people. Are you okay with that?”
Don’t Feel Guilty Because Some People Don’t Like You
And I had to walk myself through the logistics of it. There are seven and a half billion people on the planet. There are a few of them that don’t like me. Am I okay with that? Yeah. I’m okay. So, what does that mean?
Well, what that means is, I have a choice. I can stay in the marriage or I can leave the marriage. And I decided I wanted to stay. With all this chaos and all this drama, there was a piece of it that was the most important thing to me, and that was my husband. And on the worst day that we’ve had, it was better than any day without him.
And so, I fight every day. I want him to be in my life. The rest of this can go take a hike because it has its own issues. But I want to be part of this marriage. I want it to work.
Don’t Allow Yourself to Feel the Guilt
And so, I had to decide that for me, I have to stop right now, like you stop smoking and you go cold turkey. I’m going to have to stop right now. And I’m going to have to stop with the emotional manipulation and guilt. It no longer fits into my life. Super unhealthy. I’ve never been unhealthier. I’ve never been more stressed out.
I mean, there would just be a flood of cuss words cascading through my head all the time like a waterfall. I was angry. And I realized to myself this is not a good way to live. And so, right now I’m going to stop. I’m going to stop with the emotional manipulation and guilt.
So, I started saying to myself every day, “I am immune to manipulation and guilt. I am immune. It doesn’t affect me anymore.” Like Teflon. It just bounces off.
I Decided to Not Get Involved With His Family
It wasn’t my life because I decided I was not going to get involved between my husband and his family. I didn’t want to pull him away from his family. He has a good relationship with his family. I did not. And so, I didn’t want to be the bad guy that comes between him and his family, which means for me, I spend the holidays alone.
So, he goes to his family. And then, because I have a lot of work. In the house cleaning business you do a lot of work around the holidays that doesn’t let you jump on a plane and disappear for a few weeks. You have to be there for your clients, and your customers, and last-minute stuff and employees.
And that was heartbreaking. It was so sad. But I had to realize it was a trade-off. I can be healthy 364 days a year. And on the holiday, I can go do something meditative for myself that doesn’t include all this chaos and all this drama.
People Always Try to Place Guilt On You
It was a trade-off for me, and I was willing to do it. And so, the reason I’m sharing this with you is there is guilt. There’s a lot of guilt, and it comes from our families, our parents, our spouse’s parents, relatives, neighbors and friends.
People that think, act, insinuate or suggest that we are not good enough. And the reality is, we are good enough. And I love to discuss this for the fact that, while we’re working all day, while we’re playing the tapes, if the tape is not working, I want to give you permission to reach out and stop the tape.
Stop the tape and say, “This tape is broken. It has bad information on it. It’s not working for me. It’s causing me a whole bunch of stress, a whole bunch of anxiety. I don’t like this tape anymore. And I’m not going to listen to it.”
Create a New Tape in Your Head
And then I want you to create a new tape in your head. And for me, the new tape was, I’m healthy and I’m happy. And I’ve moved on from this scenario that caused me so much hate, anxiety and, frustration. And I quit the cussing in my head.
I quit all of those things because it was consuming me, and it was consuming my sleep, my health, and all the things that are the person I am when I go clean. And so, I had to stop.
And say, “You know what? Not working for me anymore.” The reason for sharing this is that I want you to know you’re not alone. This is a really tough industry to be in by yourself all day, every day.
It’s Tough To Be a House Cleaner During the Holidays
It’s tough to go through the holidays as house cleaners, because there are so many disconnects and there is so much frustration, that every year I just get bombarded with the saddest stories, and you’re not alone. You’re not alone. We’re going through this together. So, I just want to discuss this so that you can be immune to manipulation and guilt.
Just because you get home from a really busy day and you blessed the life of a whole bunch of people, doesn’t mean that your life is horrible because you came home and you were so tired all you had time for was to heat up a bowl of soup and sit in front of the TV for a couple of hours.
You’re still a good person. You still deserve an amazing life. You’re still an amazing person just because you were exhausted at the end of the day from giving to everyone else.
You Deserve the Best for Yourself
But now I have to leave this with you. You do deserve the best for yourself. And so, as you move forward, as you stop the tape, as you make a new tape, I want you to start creating time for yourself, whatever that looks like.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s cleaning your house, spending time for yourself, exercising or just changing your diet. It doesn’t matter what it is.
What matters is that you start respecting yourself, the same way that you respect your clients, customers, your children, your spouse and all of the people around you. I want you to start respecting yourself because as you go through this life, there is one person you have to live with 24/7, seven days a week, every week, every year for the rest of your life, and that is you. I want you to respect you because you deserve the very best.
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