Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Where’s My Alice?

My house has kind of gone down the tubes lately. I’ve been working more, traveling for work, and with the kids home all day for summer break, we’ve reached a level of grody that the house hasn’t seen in many a month. It kind of got me thinking about the work that women do, especially mothers. 70% of mothers are in the labor force*, which, if you’re too exhausted to do the math, is a majority of mothers.

Turns out I’m not alone: 68% of women “very feel guilty” that their houses aren’t clean enough.** I could give a college course lecture on women’s work, paid and unpaid labor, socio-economic levels, immigrant labor, domestic racial breakdowns, and What It All Means, but I’m not going to. Instead I’m going to remind you of something.



Do you remember Alice? The Brady’s housekeeper Alice? Where’s my Alice?

Maybe it’s only in the weeks right before my mom comes to visit, or during times when I’m stretched so thin I could burst, but the idea of having some help around the house is both so impossible-sounding and yet totally an indulgent fantasy. Imagine coming home to a house that is spic-and-span? Where the doorways and baseboards are clean! A world where no one is afraid at what’s hiding in or under the fridge! A weekend spent having…fun is it called?..with my kids instead of scrubbing and laundry.

I’ve been known to save my pennies for the occasional deep clean from a housekeeper, usually right before my mother-in-law comes to stay (because I turn into an angry person trying to scrub everything in the house from top to bottom and not sleeping.)  Her last visit was three years ago. Last year, when I had a baby, a friend sent me a two-visit gift of a maid (best.present.ever.) I literally dream of being able to afford a housekeeper, don’t you?

When it comes to getting help around the house, couldn’t you use an Alice? What would you have Alice do? Would she clean, do laundry, or cook? Talk to me…about your imaginary (OR REAL) housekeeper.


*70% of Moms in labor force souce stat 

**Working Mother Clean House Survey


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Comments (5)

  1. Meredith 08/08/2012 at 12:28 pm

    My husband asked me the same thing. I told him he gets an Alice when I die and he marries a woman with three girls, to go with our three boys. Fortunately, he decided he’d rather keep me.

  2. Michal 08/08/2012 at 12:11 pm

    What about the guilt factor? I work and have a long commute. Husband works and we have a sitter who watches the kids. I usually clean on the weekends… scrub, laundry, etc. But, if I have someone to come in clean doesn’t anybody feel ‘guilty’ about having someone else clean your mess? I do. Plus, how do I go about getting someone reliable besides getting licensed and bonded and being home the first time they come in? So many factors and one of the primary ones is cost, then comes guilt.

  3. Amy 08/06/2012 at 2:46 pm

    DH [doing chores on Saturday] Wow… I’ve never seen the house this dirty before. It’s gross.
    Me [pretending I was really out of town for work, but still actually in the room] Oh, is it Saturday? Must be summer.. y’know, the obvious cause of an extremely dirty house.

  4. Melissa 08/02/2012 at 6:08 pm

    I used to have maids. They cleaned the baseboards with Murphy’s Oil soap. Cutting coupons cut my grocery bill dramatically enough to afford the maids. With the economy such that it is, being a stay at home mother, and my husband being self-employed, a maid isn’t in the budget anymore. But a girl can dream. And wish upon a star. And throw pennies in every fountain she passes. Someday…

  5. Christy 07/30/2012 at 10:17 am

    Sorry, lost in a daydream, can’t actually comment.