Let Someone Else Clean your Toilet

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Truth Byte #17: It’s time to re-set.

Yesterday, I hired a house cleaner.  After years of complaining about dirty toilets, I finally figured out I could simply pay someone else to solve that one for me.

Let’s back-track a minute. 

I come from an immigrant family.  Sure, we speak English fluently and we know how to barbeque and sometimes people call me and my siblings coconuts (you know, brown on the outside, white on the inside..?) but the truth is, my family’s transition from “back home” to “the West” has left deep imprints on our family psyche.  And one of the things that children of immigrant parents quickly learn is that there are certain things that we are willing to pay for, and other things that we would rather do ourselves to save a few dollars.

One example of this is taking a taxi.  Taxis have always been a huge indulgence for our family.  Why pay someone to drive you when you can just walk (for hours, but who is counting?), take the bus (with all the stressors and missed connections that involves), or get a ride from someone (back in the days when we had huge in-person social networks and very few families in our circle owned a car).  The taxi-driver friends of ours had never actually used a taxi themselves, they saw it as an unnecessary indulgence.  Unless, of course, they were driving their family members somewhere, and the meter was turned off!

Another example of unnecessary spending was having a cleaner.  I remember Sunday mornings as a mixture of dread, achievement, and exhaustion. We would sleep in as late as we could, only to be woken by my tired mother who had been up for hours already and would get us to help her clean the house.  We would tidy and scrub and disinfect and replace until finally, around 6 pm, my siblings and I would fall on the couches exhausted.  Our reward was always a made-for-TV movie, often with pizza.  You see, my mom could justify spending money on pizza (feeding her children), but not on hiring someone to do a job she felt completely capable of doing (with her army of helpers, that is!) And I don’t blame her.  I know many single moms on welfare that make that same decision every week, as did my mom, a woman doing her utmost to give her kids everything she could while living on a government-supported shoestring.

So we grew up poor, and we grew up pretending not to be poor.

Today is my re-set.

Today is the day where I say it’s actually more profitable for me to hire a cleaner than do it myself.  Today is the day I can say I can spend my time much more productively doing things other than disinfecting.  Today I can choose to snuggle up with my husband for some TV reward time rather than falling into bed exhausted from a day of cleaning a house.  Today, I go from being the daughter of an immigrant mom who had to work damn hard for every dollar she earned, to becoming even more deeply Canadian, raised to believe I can have whatever I am willing to work for, and help others benefit from my success by giving them a job.  (Not to say all Canadians have cleaners! But really, you should think about getting one…)

Today is my re-set.

And maybe it’s time you had a re-set.  There may be some old values that you are holding on to just because they have always been around in your family, like “why pay for something when you can do it yourself?”, or “how can I get a deal on that?”, or “struggle builds character”.  What if today, you actually challenged those old stories, and lived the life that you were really supposed to be living?  That new life has been whispering your name for months, and you keep stalling.  Today is the day to actually own your life, and introduce new, more powerful values that free you up to do what you always dreamed you would be doing.  What I am teaching my kids through hiring a cleaner is this: “Some things can be done by other people, and that makes us all more relaxed”.

What is your re-set going to be?

Join me at www.talktosaira.com to start figuring out your old stories, and begin telling a new one.  Your life depends on it.

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