Author Topic: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'? ... :/ Update #19  (Read 15855 times)

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Martienne

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BG - I'm expecting twins, and I'll most likely be delivering sometime in the next 6 weeks. Before getting pregnant, I had dealt with about a year of bad back problems that kept me on virtual bed rest for weeks at a time. I'm up and about a bit better than I was then, since I had been able to join a gym and start exercising for about a month before I conceived. But generally, I'm not able to help out much with housework.

Consequently, my husband has been in charge of keeping things up around the house. When I had my back problems, it happened that he was unemployed, and he was just barely able to keep things decently caught up. Throughout my pregnancy, however, he has had a job, and though our four older children are all in school during the day, just making dinner every night and making sure they have clean clothes and do their homework is about the extent of what he manages on a daily basis. (I don't make excuses for him for being a man, to be clear. As an individual he's just really rather inept at housework, especially cooking.)

I've had some friends at church offer several times to come over and help with housework, but my husband has been embarrassed for anyone to see the condition things have fallen to. Recently, though, he's said he is okay with me arranging something as long as it's not when he's at home.

I called the friend who has brought it up most often and she is working on arranging something. I get the impression there are going to be 3-5 women who have offered to come. I've never had anything like this before and I'm not sure how much I should do that would fall under the category of hosting, since they're going to be at my place to clean it. I'm thinking I should provide lunch and drinks, but beyond that I don't know.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 05:54:51 PM by Martienne »

Mental Magpie

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2012, 03:12:14 AM »
BG - I'm expecting twins, and I'll most likely be delivering sometime in the next 6 weeks. Before getting pregnant, I had dealt with about a year of bad back problems that kept me on virtual bed rest for weeks at a time. I'm up and about a bit better than I was then, since I had been able to join a gym and start exercising for about a month before I conceived. But generally, I'm not able to help out much with housework.

Consequently, my husband has been in charge of keeping things up around the house. When I had my back problems, it happened that he was unemployed, and he was just barely able to keep things decently caught up. Throughout my pregnancy, however, he has had a job, and though our four older children are all in school during the day, just making dinner every night and making sure they have clean clothes and do their homework is about the extent of what he manages on a daily basis. (I don't make excuses for him for being a man, to be clear. As an individual he's just really rather inept at housework, especially cooking.)

I've had some friends at church offer several times to come over and help with housework, but my husband has been embarrassed for anyone to see the condition things have fallen to. Recently, though, he's said he is okay with me arranging something as long as it's not when he's at home.

I called the friend who has brought it up most often and she is working on arranging something. I get the impression there are going to be 3-5 women who have offered to come. I've never had anything like this before and I'm not sure how much I should do that would fall under the category of hosting, since they're going to be at my place to clean it. I'm thinking I should provide lunch and drinks, but beyond that I don't know.

That's probably the extent, but make sure you send them thank you cards after the deed is done.  I'm sure you appreciate their work greatly, so let them know it!  If you can afford a little gift for each of them (even just baking/buying cookies for them), I'd add that, too.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

lowspark

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2012, 10:16:39 AM »
That's probably the extent, but make sure you send them thank you cards after the deed is done.  I'm sure you appreciate their work greatly, so let them know it!  If you can afford a little gift for each of them (even just baking/buying cookies for them), I'd add that, too.

Yup, definitely lunch. I'd order in some chinese food or pizza or whatever everyone likes. Make sure to have plenty for everyone. And a nice nominal gift would be great. Fragrant soap or candles or a small pack of gourmet cookies, that kind of thing.

What a nice thing for them to do! I'd cook, I'd do laundry, I'd do grocery shopping. But cleaning house? Not me!  8)

O'Dell

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2012, 10:37:53 AM »
That's really sweet of them! I think you are fine with providing lunch and drinks for the duration. Music playing might be nice if you can all agree on a type. Tends to make the task go faster. And give each a big hug at the end if you and they are okay with it. I'm not big on gifts for this type of thing. I'd rather get a promise from you that you'll help out them or someone else in the future. That may just be me though.

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MrsCrazyPete

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2012, 11:31:14 AM »
POD to ordering in lunch or having sandwich stuff on hand. I like the idea of a thank you card, but not so much the gift idea. I think if these ladies are that close to you then they would know that you'd do the same for them in the future.

The only other thing I'd suggest is to make sure to have a list on hand of what needs done, like a list of priorities. That way you don't have to keep thinking of what should be done next.
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Mental Magpie

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2012, 11:33:40 AM »
POD to ordering in lunch or having sandwich stuff on hand. I like the idea of a thank you card, but not so much the gift idea. I think if these ladies are that close to you then they would know that you'd do the same for them in the future.

The only other thing I'd suggest is to make sure to have a list on hand of what needs done, like a list of priorities. That way you don't have to keep thinking of what should be done next.

The reason I think the gift idea is a good one is because what if the opportunity doesn't come up in the future?  I personally would like to take care of things now in case the future doesn't happen (I don't mean in a death way, more in an opportunity doesn't arise kind of way).
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

MrsJWine

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2012, 11:42:53 AM »
I would approach it the way most people do when friends come to help them move. Provide drinks and order a pizza, but don't worry yourself about a big meal; the point is that they're helping you get things done, and I very much doubt they're expecting a full sit-down meal, which would create even more mess for everyone to clean up.


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Utah

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2012, 11:44:28 AM »
I would be sure to have plenty of drinks available (a pitcher of ice water and glasses on the counter, and offer to brew some coffee or tea or provide another cold beverage from the fridge).  But I'm going to disagree with generally providing lunch...their goal is to reduce your household burden, not add to it.

That doesn't mean you can't have a nice bowl of whole fruit or plate of cookies sitting out, and your trusted delivery menus and a credit card handy if they work a long time or over a meal time.  But I would feel - if I were coming over to help - that your making lunch was counterproductive to having you rest, KWIM?

I love Mrs.CrazyPete's idea of having a written list of some options.  I'd probably have a category of 'things that are driving me nuts' and one of 'things I'd love to have done.'

Best wishes on your health and growing family.

O'Dell

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2012, 11:50:30 AM »
POD to ordering in lunch or having sandwich stuff on hand. I like the idea of a thank you card, but not so much the gift idea. I think if these ladies are that close to you then they would know that you'd do the same for them in the future.

The only other thing I'd suggest is to make sure to have a list on hand of what needs done, like a list of priorities. That way you don't have to keep thinking of what should be done next.

The reason I think the gift idea is a good one is because what if the opportunity doesn't come up in the future?  I personally would like to take care of things now in case the future doesn't happen (I don't mean in a death way, more in an opportunity doesn't arise kind of way).

So what if the opportunity doesn't come up in the future? Does it really matter? People that are willing to do this sort of favor aren't generally keeping score, in my experience. If you never have the chance to do them a favor, then you help someone else out. I see it as more a "pay it forward" situation or building good karma. They feel good about it and letting them feel good about it is a far better thank you than a material gift.
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Mental Magpie

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2012, 11:53:43 AM »
Why not have both?  A thoughtful gift for a thoughtful deed that made you (general) feel good.  I don't think it's necessary, I just think it would be nice.
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MrsJWine

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2012, 11:55:41 AM »
POD to ordering in lunch or having sandwich stuff on hand. I like the idea of a thank you card, but not so much the gift idea. I think if these ladies are that close to you then they would know that you'd do the same for them in the future.

The only other thing I'd suggest is to make sure to have a list on hand of what needs done, like a list of priorities. That way you don't have to keep thinking of what should be done next.

The reason I think the gift idea is a good one is because what if the opportunity doesn't come up in the future?  I personally would like to take care of things now in case the future doesn't happen (I don't mean in a death way, more in an opportunity doesn't arise kind of way).

So what if the opportunity doesn't come up in the future? Does it really matter? People that are willing to do this sort of favor aren't generally keeping score, in my experience. If you never have the chance to do them a favor, then you help someone else out. I see it as more a "pay it forward" situation or building good karma. They feel good about it and letting them feel good about it is a far better thank you than a material gift.

I don't think a gift is necessary, either. Reciprocation doesn't mean you have to do the exact same thing for someone else somewhere down the line. Maybe one of these people will have a baby someday, and the OP can make a meal or two for the new parents. Or maybe one of them will move someday, and the OP can help with that. Or she can babysit. It doesn't really matter.

My friends and I all have different needs and activities. We can have a give-and-take relationship without doing all the exact same things for each other. I don't need a gift for helping my friend with her garage sale just because I don't plan on ever having a garage sale. She does other things for me that I really appreciate. I always love a gift, of course, but I don't think it's something most people expect when they help out a friend.


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Utah

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2012, 12:12:11 PM »
That is so nice of them! Is anyone else reminded of the "Minnies" group from the movie "One True Thing" with Meryl Streep?
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Lynn2000

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2012, 12:45:11 PM »
Definitely plenty of drinks and easy snacks, but a meal may not be necessary depending on what time they'll be there. If you want to provide lunch, I would stick with take-out/delivery of some kind, because yeah, it's silly for you to go to more work if they're coming to reduce your work.

Have some task lists ready--think about not just priorities for you, but things that can be done by different "types" of people, which things can be done at the same time, etc.. That will help things to be more organized and more will get done.

It might feel awkward to just sit there while they work, but on the other hand you don't want to get in their way or make them spend more time worrying about you doing stuff, so maybe have some quiet, sit-down tasks you can be doing (assuming you are able to work at all). If you don't need to be resting undisturbed, be available to answer their questions about things. Will they be bringing their own cleaning supplies or will you need to provide anything special? You might want to find that out ahead of time so you can stock up.

Also, be prepared for stuff to not get done exactly the way you want it to. :) It sounds like that won't bother you too much, but I just thought I would mention it.

A thank-you note to each afterward is necessary, I think. I don't see anything wrong with a small gift as well if it won't put you out too much to buy/make it (like if you were going to bake or do a craft anyway, make a little something for each lady). It really depends on the personalities/relationships of all involved--if you're the type to feel the burden of reciprocation keenly, the "extra" of the gift might alleviate that and allow you to feel that you are no longer obligated to them.

Also, and I apologize if I'm overstepping or suggesting something obvious here, but... if you are looking for ways to get your husband and older children (all school-age, right?) to help with chores more and with greater efficiency, I'm sure a lot of people here would have good ideas. If your finances allow it you could also look into hiring an individual to help out, perhaps a college student available during the day for a few hours.
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NotTheNarcissist

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2012, 02:33:56 PM »
First congrats on your twins! Woo hoo!

I just wanted to clarify that you are not paying the ladies to clean right?

I also have back problems. There is a young lady in college who lives near me that I pay to assist me with house cleaning. Because she is also an acquaintance though, she gets lunch and pool time in addition to pay.

If you are not paying them, then I would plan a lunch, such as a choice of tuna or chicken sandwiches, fruit and chips, and a dessert. Water and/or tea. Very simple. A food such as pizza would put me to sleep; speaking only for myself here but I could not do pizza at all and expect to accomplish anything productive after that.

You may have already done this, but after several times of mistakes, I have learned what works best for me and accomplishes the most cleaning-wise: I type a listing per room of every item that needs to be done in that room in order for it to be considered 'done.'

For ex:
Office
-dust shelves
-dust bookcase
-dust fan
-dust desk
-vacuum

That may be too much for people who are volunteering. However if I pay someone, I will have this checklist taped to every door to a room that needs to be cleaned for quick reference for my helper.

You may have already done this too....I also have every conceivable cleaning product out and ready the day before my help comes. This helps me in case I am low on something (I can run to the store & re-supply.)

As already mentioned, a thank you card sent to each helper would be appropriate when this endeavor is finished.  I must agree with PP's that you have some amazing friends!

Martienne

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Re: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'?
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2012, 09:55:30 AM »
Thanks everyone for the comments. Our church family is very good about helping members in need and I'm grateful for that.

I think I will make up some shredded chicken sandwich filling in a crock pot and some fruit salad, and have some drinks on hand. That way it is a good lunch without being tons of preparation for me to do. I'll make sure to fill out some thank you cards afterward as well.

As far as making a list so that I don't forget what needs done, or so that people don't need to ask... Oh, believe me, there's plenty to do without even trying to find it. One of the friends is going to help me come up with an organizing system since currently the way I deal with papers is to lay them in one of about twenty towering piles somewhere in the dining room. Dusting will be easy, though! Just move the piles of papers!