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Must Be Nice…

I get my house cleaned by a maid service every two weeks. Can I afford to do it? The real question should be: Can I afford not to?

“Remind me that I need to give Marshall $40,” I told my sister-in-law, Teresa. “I paid him to put together some shelves for the basement, and he washed the check I gave him along with his blue jeans.”

“Oh, you’re one of those people: who pay for people to do things for you,” she said jokingly.

You’re damn right, I am. At least, I’ve become one. It’s the only way I can cope with the mess and the stress of parenting a kid with ADHD.

I know what people think when they find out I have my house cleaned every two weeks, even though I only work part time: Must be nice to be able to afford (fill in the blank with the service of your choice). I thought the same thing about Oprah: If I could afford to hire a personal trainer and a live-in chef, I’d lose weight too!

Well, I’ve got news for you: I’m not Oprah. I drive a 2001 Toyota Corolla — not even a Camry. We qualify for George’s economic stimulus check. We live in an 1800 square foot house — no spare bedroom, no office, no family room. We’re in debt to the very limit of what our credit union will allow.

How people spend is all about priorities. I pay people to do things for me so I can cope, and I focus not on the cost, but on the payoff: a more peaceful home, more time with friends, the energy to enjoy my kids.

In the long run, I’m saving money. It’s either get help, or get therapy. Household help is cheaper. (And most therapists don’t do windows.)

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