Why My Cleaning Lady Enjoys Cleaning Houses

Why My Cleaning Lady Enjoys Cleaning Houses

I love my new cleaning lady. Not just cause she does a fantastic job cleaning my house, but because she’s a truly lovely person.

My cleaning lady is a single mother, and she cleans houses every day of the week. She cleans because she and her daughter need the income, but I’ve noticed something interesting. She also seems to enjoy cleaning, even my crowded, sisyphean-ly messy abode.

And I’ve wondering about that. What’s her secret? I can understand enjoying cleaning one’s own home–enjoying your newly cleaned kitchen floor, or your burnt-bean cholent pot scrubbed clean, or the newborn-baby’s clothing neatly folded in her drawers (awwww). But how is it possibly possible to enjoy cleaning other people’s homes?

But yesterday morning, when my cleaning lady was here, I think I might have discovered the answer.

My cleaning lady was standing at my sink washing a glass when, by accident, I knocked over a broom that fell hard onto the counter next to her. I watched as it landed with a loud boom. And I watched to see my cleaning lady’s reaction. And there, amazingly, was none.

She didn’t turn her head to see what had fallen. She didn’t even flinch. She was, I realized, so deeply focused on washing that glass in her hands that she didn’t notice the broom at all: she only noticed the feeling of the water and the soap suds on her fingers, and sound of the water falling from the faucet into the sink, and the sparkle of the glass from the lights overhead.

When I am cleaning, I usually distract myself somehow from the task at hand. I listen to a class. I call a friend. I turn on music.

But another way to enjoy doing the things we don’t naturally enjoy is, I have found, by doing the opposite–by being mindful. Focusing deeply, meditatively even, on the task at hand.

There are few things more pleasurable, I have found, than focussing deeply on something–anything. A pine cone, a child’s ear–spiralling around like the inside of a shell–or the 24th cup you’ve washed today after the one who drank from it it is (thankfully) sound asleep.

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3 comments

  1. I have been trying different strategies lately to get myself to clean more and enjoy it more. I will try this, too! hanks for sharing 🙂

  2. sheva lazaros

    hello. i too was touched by this moving video. what a unique way to show gratitude to Hashem for all the good He is doing for us. The best part was seeing the little baby with his parents. They should have lots of Yiddishe nachas from him and all the future babies.

    • sheva lazaros

      oops. sorry. that was my response to “birth of a tzaddik” on another page.

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