Helga the Cleaning Nazi

Seventy-four days ago I decided to be a good steward, get rid of our bi-monthly housekeeper, and try to shave off some rather unnecessary expenses from the budget.  Seventy-four days ago I realized I have some big issues, and seventy-four days ago (I now acknowledge), I became Helga the cleaning Nazi.

I blame it on my step-mom, a darling German woman who believes tidiness is sacred and dirt is of the devil.  I grew up in one of those homes-the kind where the living room was off limits-and if the mere trace of an errant footprint was spotted on the carpet, somehow frau-mama knew who had done it.  I rarely saw her without a broom-seriously, I think she slept with it.

One time my best friend in high school climbed in through the window and had a small but secret soiree when our family was out-of-town.  My friend cleaned up so well, none of us could tell the house had been violated, but my step-mom knew instantly, like one of those canine narcotic bloodhounds, she could smell the perpetrator and discern that her vacuum strokes on the carpet were millimeters off the usual pattern.  It was CSI, Bourne Identity, and Murder She Wrote all wrapped up in her calculating sweep of an eye and I was in serious awe of her super-power cleaning prowess.

But now here I am, years later, with a home full of mess-makers (i.e. my husband and three kiddos) trying to maintain the elusive façade of cleaning Holiness that was modeled to me in my tender and formative years. 

I have to be über clean like frau-mama. Right?  It’s my step-birth-right; my pseudo German legacy.

My husband pointed out that lately I have been muttering under my breath ferocious threats to the dust balls as I stroll around our home fixated on destroying suspicious specks with a Clorox wipey.  He says my obsession makes him feel like he can’t relax in his own home, because he might actually (gulp) mess it up. 

And if I’m really honest, he’s right. Sometimes when he walks in the door I just look at him and get mad. When he appears, it feels like he immediately starts creating havoc.  His backpack winds up on the floor and clothes too, his keys are dropped somewhere where he will never find them, cords are everywhere from iPhones, iPods, laptops and techie gear, cabinets are opened and never shut, dishes are left out,

And the best part is-he doesn’t even notice. I don’t know how, I mean it’s right there-this ginormous mess, like “how could you not see this?”  But he doesn’t. It’s like he’s blind to it.

And my kids do the same thing-all three of them.  It’s me against the dirt of the world and I’m so tired and it’s utterly exhausting being the only soldier in this battle, and I really, really…really miss my housekeeper, because she was my ally and I love her and I need her.

Because I miss being able to see a fully clean house (not half clean) and release it with a happy heart to get dirty again, because in the back of my mind I know it will be clean again in two weeks.  And I can still clean myself in between and then it will be really really clean. And cleanliness is next to Godliness-right?

Does anyone share my pain?

And does anyone have the number of a good cheap housekeeper? Because if I don’t get some help soon, the therapy alone for my cleaning neurosis will be more than the money I saved on getting rid of the help.



  1. I’m reminded by the saying that in his old age, a dad never says, “I wish I spent more time at work….” and us mommies will never say, “Gee, I wish I spent more time cleaning my house!” Mess it up with your kids tonight… then call the housekeeper in the morning!

    • Yessssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are my mommy hero. Seriously, you are a great example of keeping the right things the right things. The right thing for me is bubbles and the park and “Baaaabeee”, as Kolby likes to say.

      I need the number of your darling cleaning lady. Please e-mail to me. Now.

      Love you my darling friend,

  2. so good to meet you last weekend!
    your latest post is classic – and that’s coming from another cleaning nazi! john thinks that i’m nutty. our wood floors squeak from cleanliness…all surfaces are spotless…every little secret nook is clean…but it leaves his feeling like he can’t breath. i had a dinner party last night and left the pile of unfolded laundry on the guest room bed – just because i needed to do it for myself – to prove that i can actually breath without everything being ‘just so’. funny thing is that the world kept turning even with that pile of laundry!

  3. Samantha, your entire post is great, but this sentence in particular made me laugh out loud:

    “Sometimes when he walks in the door I just look at him and get mad.”

    Hilarious – and right underneath that photo of Tim looking mostly innocent. : )

    Great stuff! Looking forward to exploring your blog. Thanks for sharing your humor and wit.

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for the affirmation. Tim says hi and he hopes you are doing great!
      My darling hubby got me a treat yesterday! “Juan” the new housekeeper will come once a month. Whoot Whoot! Clearly, he wants his sweet wife back, not the cleaning frou.
      Many Blessings!
      Samantha Keller


  1. […] dear friend Bruce sent me this story in response to my post Helga the Cleaning Nazi.  It was a great reminder to keep the main thing the main thing-namely the love of Christ working […]

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