“mama’s goin’ to work”

A not uncommon phrase-

but sounding very, very odd in my own ears last night.

Its 7:30 at night and we just finished chapter 8 of The Gumm Street Girls.  PJs on and teeth brushed all four sprawl out on our living room couch, blond hair and scratched legs all a-tangle.  Chapter concluded, they get to stay up to watch Flubber {the one from the ’90s with Robin Williams, gotta love Netflix}.

“Give me a kiss Mama’s goin’ to work”.

It strikes me then, how I have never uttered that exact phrase before.

Rosie the Riveter, that’s me!

Though my new found employment does not exactly scream “liberated”.

I leave my family in sweatpants and a tank and hoodie to do what I always do:


Oh yeah, night shift cleaning lady, that’s me baby!

It was one of those things that just dropped on me unexpected. My good friend’s family owns a cleaning/landscaping business.  They really need a new evening team for a couple of Dentist and Insurance offices.  Three nights a week, with really good pay and my good friend is doing it with me. I just can’t turn that down.  Social stigma of “cleaner” and late nights doing what I kinda complain about doing during the daytime, aside.

Really it’s a great blessing for us.

We are a middle class-single income-family of six.

You know what that means:

We pay our bills, buy good quality food for our family,(and never eat out), drive 2 used cars, have a nice house in a good neighborhood, but things are tight, despite the ruthlessly cutting out of things we don’t need from out monthly budget, and buying nearly everything we can second hand. Still the  cost of “extras” feel like a 30pound backpack of stress cinched our back.

Mr.MS feels bad.  His wife leaving at night to scrub Doctor’s toilets and dust receptionist’s desks and computers.

But, counting his commute he is gone usually a little over ten hours a day.  Being in the IT field its mentally and sometimes physically demanding.   I feel like I would be the one who should feel ashamed if I was too embarrassed to “be a cleaner” while my husband worked 14-15 hours days.

This gig is actually pretty perfect.  I could not make what I am making anywhere else {yeah, I dropped out of college to save money and get married, knowing the I would be popping out babies probably a year or two into marriage…I was right}. I don’t leave till the girls are snuggled in and cleaned up for the night, and I love working with Kaylyn.  She’s so much like me.  {A stay at home mom, loves the simple life of home and food and family, from a big loud family, someone who one moment is tearing up talking about Jesus and hurting children, and the next dropping the f-bomb because we banged our hand on the stupid mop bucket again}!

Last night was our first night after, of course, a very hectic and draining day of the kids being off from school and doing a ministry at church.  {Not a typical day}. We were  both kinda excited as we chug our Starbucks energy drinks {hey we may be cleaning ladies, but we still got good taste and like our over-priced coffee}. The first job is some sort of community center comprised completely of open modern offices, posh artistic foyers, and immaculate shiny conference rooms. It was actually fun.  We turned up XM radio and wiped and vacuumed and gabbed to Adele,Cold Play, and hits from the 90s.

Second building: an orthodontist. No XM radio, and its passed 10pm now.  Not as clean and posh, and the horrible white paste to make dental molds is everywhere.  It takes us two and half hours! OK this is not good.  We pull into the final building.  It’s now midnight.  We are tired, we are sweaty. Novelty has worn off. We pulled into the parking lot and just stared at this huge, old, two-story dentist office and erupted into that half tired, half giddy laughter that sounds a little like a crazy person.

“I cannot  believe we have to clean another office”

  is all we can say. We burst out laughing again, shaking our heads, in disbelief that this is actually our life right now! Trying to move faster than a slug we punch the right codes, turn the right keys and flick on lights in the dead of night at an office I have never seen before in my life, but will soon be going over every square inch of. This place is dull- yellow -florescent -lighting- brown- on- brown- butt- ugly -1970s.  Last crew did a pretty terrible job cleaning this place and her husband is going to take over ownership of the business soon and wants to keep this account,  so we power clean.  We keep telling each other as we pass bleary eyed,  shuffling, rag in hand, “its not gonna take this long next time.  It can’t!”

I was dropped off a little after 2am.  I had got up at 6am that morning.  It was a very unusual feeling to be wide awake mentally, exhausted physically  standing in my kitchen stripping off my sweaty socks,  dirty sweat pants, and my hoodie, to then eat two bowls in a row of cheerios with blueberries and coconut milk, cross-legged, half dressed, on the kitchen counter.

The cat was really confused.

Of course I had to shower.

Of course the first step, first step, as I crossed the thresh hold into our upstairs bathroom off our bedroom, was some nasty sticky substance all over the floor.  I am in a dazed stupor at the absurdity and unusual cruelness to have to be scrubbing a bathroom floor again.

Mr.MS claims he woke up to me scrubbing the floor and swearing, but I don’t remember doing it.

To say I am sore today would be an understatement.

To say I am tired today would be an epic understatement.

I keep holding my mug of coffee, refusing to let it go, even while rooting in the attic, in the dark, for some stuff animals for the babe.  As if by keeping a continued grip on my porcelain mug the caffeine will seep into my body by osmosis.

There was some weird reddish- colored liquid all over the plastic container of spinach in the back of the fridge this morning.

I licked it to see what it was.

Let me write that again:

I. Licked. It. To. See. What. It. Was.

It was raw chicken goo.

If I never post a thing ever again, you now know I died of semolina.

My Dad always said,

“there is no such thing as making easy money”.




4 thoughts on ““mama’s goin’ to work”

  1. I admire your spunk. I appreciate that you appreciate Mr.MS. I love how you can laugh at life. And now I’ll worry that you’ll exhaust yourself. And all the above is something I would have done …. hugs for you


  2. Oh my, Leah! I am so surprised that you have taken a night shift cleaning offices, but it does seem like it was from God. Try to make the best of it (sounds like you guys already are) and know that nothing lasts forever!


  3. Ha ha aha, oh Leah, I take it you meant Salmonella. Congrats on your new job and commiserations on your aches. Loved this post, felt like I was tagging along.


    • oh yeah Salmonella…just caught that! Week two was much easier…actually have a new schedule where I clean only one office a nite for 5 nites which means I leave after dinner and home for bedtime books for $600+ a month…really a wonderful blessing. I am finding i actually enjoy the peace and solitude for those 2 or so hours a night! And the daughter time in the evening with girl is good for Tim and the girls too.


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