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Mom Syndrome – Do You Have it?

Mom syndrome (could be dads too) is when mom meets the needs of others first. Mom syndrome is common among house cleaners and maids. 

Ask a house cleaner cleaning advice for maids who come home to a messy house. What about Mom? Mom needs a break too. 

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru Addresses Mom Syndrome. It’s not okay to take care of everyone else first. Moms priorities for self-care prevent overwhelm and make her a savvy cleaner. 

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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.

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I Know a Lot of House Cleaners with Mom Syndrome

Lots of them. And as I get to know them and become part of their lives, I find an odd commonality. Their houses are messy, cluttered, to full-on neglected.Soccer Mom License Plate

And here’s the weird thing, most of these house cleaners, (and I could be calling them cleaning technicians, maids, cleaning lady, cleaning service providers, etc.) are aware, tidy and immaculate people. When they show up at a client’s house, they don’t miss a spot. They are fantastic at what they do, and yet their own homes or apartments don’t reflect the same type of care.

 I’m too tired when I get home from cleaning to clean my own house. What is wrong with me?

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Answer: Mom Syndrome and House Cleaners

First of all, nothing is wrong with you. I call this “Mom Syndrome.” And I have heard from many house cleaners that have Mom Syndrome. They feel overwhelmed because their houses are messy.  

Now, I should also clarify that dads can have mom syndrome too. This is just what we call it. It got coined mom syndrome.

What? They clean houses for a living. How on earth can their own homes be messy? Well, here’s how. 

Mom Is the Engine of the Family

family eating breakfast, love my reasons whyMom is the first person that’s up every morning. She gets the kids off to school, and the husband off to work. She is the joy of the family.

She’s the guts, the glory, the engine that drives the family.

Once everybody is off on their business, mom changes clothes and she goes to work and she cleans houses. That’s how that works.

Shhh… Don’t tell, she’s not just a mom, she’s superwoman! I bet you know her.

Lots of House Cleaners Are Also Mom’s

Mom Syndrome - Busy Mom washing dishesThis attitude of “I’m going to take care of everybody else first” mentality spills over into her work.

She shows up at a client’s house to clean, tidy up, and do an endless list of not-so-pleasant chores.

She does an amazing job because she cares about her clients, she takes pride in her work and she gets paid to do it.

The payment for the house cleaning jobs pays her bills so she can take care of her own family.

It’s a win, win, and the client’s love her because, at their house, she’s also superwoman.

Back At Home

Then Mom house cleaner goes home, and her own dishes need washing, she has her own laundry. Dust comes to visit her as well, and there’s dog hair that needs vacuuming up. She’s exhausted physically and mentally, and she’s hungry. The worst part of Mom cleaning her own home is it’s a thankless job that nobody is going to pay her for. What’s the incentive?

Mom Syndrome

Now Mom has a choice, she can do the laundry so everybody has clothes to wear tomorrow. Or she can fix dinner, or maybe just throw some snacks in a tote to tie everybody over while they run out to swim practice. Don’t worry, she’ll figure out dinner somewhere along the way.

Forget about dusting the lampshades, or dusting the blinds in the bedroom. It’s not going to happen. Not a priority. Not today, not ever. Just doing the basics and “getting by” is asking a lot.

Mom Syndrome – What About Mom? 

She is taking care of us, but who is taking care of Mom?Mom Syndrome tired housecleaner

Mom Syndrome is all about a woman (or man) being responsible to their family. They give the best of their energy, time, resources and love even at the cost of their own well-being. A mom will make sure the kids get to their sporting events, but when does Mom work out?

Mom packs the lunches for the day, but when does Mom get lunch and who makes sure Mom is eating healthy?

While we are in watching TV or resting or at the computer, where is Mom? Who is taking over while Mom gets a break?

You get my point. Here’s where it gets crazy. What about mom?

Taking Care of Everyone Else First

She is just trying to stay afloat. Mom Syndrome to do list

Mom syndrome is, “Let me take care of everyone else first. If there’s any time left at the end of the day, I’ll do some of the things I need to do.”

Mom is the last person that goes to bed at night after everyone is in bed. 

There are all kinds of things that mom is doing at the expense of taking care of herself. 

It Can Happen to the Best House Cleaners

They’re like, “Huh, I can’t clean one more house today. I’m just beat.”

If you gave them a choice between a clean house and a 30-minute nap, they would choose the nap.

They feel tired, yes. But they also wish that someone would come in and show them the same love and care that they show their customers. 

 Yeah, that would be awesome. Please let that person come to my house.

Take Care of Yourself First

Take care of your self SavvyCleaner.comThe busier your work schedule, the less time and energy you have to take care of yourself, your own family and your own home. Don’t fall into that trap.

As a house cleaner myself, I believe that everybody deserves to live in a clean space. Cleanliness is welcoming, it’s calming and promotes wellness.

If you are a house cleaner I have a message for you:

Mom Syndrome Diet

Mom Syndrome donutHouse cleaners are busy and don’t have a lot of time to eat well-balanced meals.

They are racing to the next job and go through the drive-through for lunch. They are eating junk food for convenience. 

As superwoman (or superman), you deserve healthy food at regular intervals. This will keep your sugar levels in sync. You will get more and long lasting energy from a spinach smoothie than you will a Krispy Kreme donut.

I know this by experience, I’m ashamed to say.

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I have created a series of my favorite smoothie recipes. Smoothies are amazing for house cleaners. Here is a free download: Angela Brown’s Favorite Energy Boosting Smoothie Recipes

You’re on the go, racing from point A to point B, trying to fill in all the gaps and trying to be everything to everybody. 

While all this is happening, you can still keep up your energy and your health.


Mom Syndrome working outNow, this sounds counterintuitive but because you’re the first person up in the morning. I understand you don’t feel like getting up an hour early to do exercise.

But you deserve the endorphin high that comes with a cardio workout. Staying in shape and keeping your joints flexible will be the awesome sauce that your cleaning business needs. Exercise each day for your health, for your family, and for your clients.

If possible, you could bump your cleaning schedule so that it doesn’t start until an hour later in the day.  And you take that hour and you work out.

Because as a mom or a dad, you must take care of yourself before you can take care of others. 

You Are a Machine

I’m  serious about this. You are a machine and you are in action every single day. You are like an automobile.Mom Syndrome oil change

If you drive a car every single day, the miles add up.

Your car will need regular overhauls and tune-ups. You need to fill up with gas and get an oil change on a regular basis. You also need to keep the tires so that they have enough tread on them to go.

The car needs to be maintained in a particular fashion so that it just doesn’t break down on the side of the road.

You’re the same way as a person. You need regular maintenance, care and an overhaul from time to time, which in this case might be a vacation.

Can I Hire a House Cleaner For My Home?

Mom Syndrome high maintenance customerEvery day I have house cleaners that ask me this.  “Is it wrong for me to want to hire another house cleaner to come clean my house?”

No. By all means, do it. This would be great for a few reasons. It will show you a variety of different ways that house cleaner works.

And you will find out how it is to be a customer on the other end of the house cleaning job.

You will also find out what kind of a customer you are. Are you a high maintenance customer or an easygoing customer? Are you a customer that doesn’t like confrontation? And you don’t communicate what you need? Are you a customer that gives honest answers to help them grow? What kind of customer are you?

It comes back to mom syndrome. Moms work so hard and dads too, that by the time it comes time for them, there’s nothing left.

Be Your Own Customer

Mom Syndrome woman vacuumingFor example, if your house is a mess, one of the customers on your list needs to be you. I’ve done this for years. I’ve cleaned my own house but here’s the catch. My name was on my schedule and I would show up at my house just like I did for another job.

I did not go outside and then come back in because that would just be weird. But I did stay in my same house cleaning clothes.

So if you don’t pay someone to come in, you need to clean your own house. 

Benefits of Being My Own Customer

In the event that I have a client who needs to cancel and reschedule, I can give them my slot and I can take their slot. So now that spot has not gone to waste. 

My client’s house still gets cleaned, and my house still gets cleaned. It is a win-win. 

I did a “professional clean” in my own home at least every two weeks – because I deserve it. My family deserves it. You do too.

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Looking at Your House Through a House Cleaner’s Eyes

This is an amazing opportunity. Because now, I’m looking at my house from the house cleaner’s perspective. When it’s your own house, it’s so easy to say, “Well, if I do this right now, I can be rotating the laundry. Well, I could put stuff in the crockpot.”

 You get sidetracked doing all these other things and your house doesn’t get cleaned. But it is different from a house cleaner point of view. If you come in and treat your house as a customer’s house, you have a set amount of time. You also have a set amount of tasks and you fill out a worksheet as normal. At the end, you know how long it takes to clean your house. 

If later down the road you decide to hire someone, you know how long it should take. If they say, “Well, that’s going to take me six hours,” and you take two and a half hours, there is a discrepancy. You can tell the house cleaner that you did the job yourself. I’m not saying challenge the house cleaner you hire but at least you will know.

You Deserve The Good Life

Mom Syndrome easygoing customerTaking care of yourself is not about celebrating you one day a year on Mother’s Day. Taking care of yourself is celebrating you every day. This is your life we are talking about  – and it’s not a practice life, this is the real thing.

When you work for yourself, you get to decide your own schedule. So, create a schedule that allows you to take care of yourself first. Then you can take better care of your family and your clients.

Alrighty, that’s my two cents for today and until we meet again. Leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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About the Show

Learn how the show came to be, interesting facts about the show host, and other frequently asked questions about the show.

Resources For This Episode

Angela Brown’s Energy Boosting Smoothie Recopies –

How to Overcome Super Mom Syndrome –

Are You a Victim of Super Mom Syndrome?

Busy Mom Syndrome –

Mommy Time: 90 Devotions for New Moms –

An Invitation to Self-Care: Why Learning to Nurture Yourself is the Key to the Life You’ve Always Wanted –

The Smart Girl’s Guide to Self-Care –

From Coping to Thriving: How to Turn Self-care into a Way of Life –

The Self-Love Experiment: Fifteen Principles for Becoming More Kind, Compassionate, and Accepting of Yourself –

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself –

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