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The Best Relationship I've Ever Paid For

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Dear Woman Who Cleans My House,

I came home last Tuesday to find that, on top of cleaning every surface of my home, you had left fresh cut flowers in both the kitchen and dining room. It's not at all uncommon for you to do things like this. Sometimes I'll come home to find a loaf of banana bread sitting on the counter. Or a plate of homemade cookies. Or just an area you clearly paid extra special attention to cleaning. But looking at those flowers, I stood back and thought, "This is the most fulfilling relationship I've ever been in."

Yes, my dear, sweet, cleaning lady, you give me more than any relationship before you ever did.

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You may think I'm exaggerating, but hear me out. It's not just the thoughtful trinkets that are in no way a part of your job description (though, those are certainly appreciated). It's that you come into my home and help in just about the most incredible way.

You clean up after me and my unruly toddler, so that I can focus on other aspects of our life—like singlehandedly raising that toddler and working to put food on our plates.

It's not that I'm incapable of cleaning, because before you, my home was always (mostly) in order and (basically) clean. I can mop and dust and vacuum with the best of them. I've been living on my own since I was 18 years old (so we'll just say a little over a decade). And I'm fully capable of cleaning up after myself and even after my toddler.

But the fact that you do it for me? It's like this sense of relief I can't even fully describe.

Sure, it's just me and the kid. And our home is pretty gosh darn small. There are plenty of people who would probably scoff at my relationship with you and finger point in such a way as to presume I don't actually need you. But don't ever listen to them, cleaning lady. Because without you, I'm afraid our whole world just might fall apart.

You see, because I can count on you to keep our home clean, I have an extra two hours a week to play with my kiddo. Now, two hours might not seem like much to most people, but when she spends the greater part of her waking hours at daycare during the week, those extra hours on the weekend are everything. They mean that instead of sitting her in front of a movie while I embark upon cleaning our house myself, I can sit and watch that movie with her.

I'm kidding. (Mostly).

We can live our lives, without me being shadowed by the guilt of an unscrubbed toilet.

No, the removal of that burden means that I can fully commit my weekends to adventures with my girl. We can go spend the weekend at a cabin, or road trip to the fair, or just explore down by the creek in front of our house. We can live our lives, without me being shadowed by the guilt of an unscrubbed toilet.

Plus, that girl of mine? She's kind of a menace. She drops food on the floor and lets her finger paints spread on the table. She spills milk in the kitchen, and somehow gets half her bathwater out of the tub. And if I were the one cleaning, I would probably feel the stress of each and every one of those messes that much more. Because they would be happening on the floor I just mopped. Or the table I just scrubbed. Or the kitchen I just de-sanitized. And even though I absolutely address those messes as they come now, there is just something about knowing I'm not the one who committed two hours to cleaning the house just days before that makes them easier to face.

So thank you.

Even beyond all that, I've come to realize that you do far more when it comes to cleaning this house than I ever would. Like, did you actually clean out my oven last month? I didn't even realize that was a thing I was supposed to do. (Clearly, June Cleaver I am not.) And do you really vacuum the AstroTurf on our deck? I had no idea how dusty that had gotten until I saw what it looked like clean. I would certainly never have thought to vacuum it myself. Ain't no mama got time for that. But you do it. Because you're amazing.

So basically, cleaning lady, you complete me. And I cannot thank you enough for all you do. For the sense of relief I feel when I come home every other Tuesday and smell the scent of … clean. In fact, to be honest, that check I write you doesn't seem like nearly enough. Because the freedom and stress relief you provide me goes above and beyond anything money could ever really match.

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If only you would agree to cook for us, too, I might actually propose.

Seriously, though, you're the best investment I've made in our family sanity. Thank you for all you do. And please … don't ever leave me.


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