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A Housekeeper is Cheaper Than a Divorce: Why You Can Afford to Hire Help and How to Get It Paperback – Sep 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Life Tools Press (Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967963605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967963600
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,156,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 May 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a management manual for evaluating whether to get household help or not, deciding what sort of help you need, hiring the help, and managing the relationship successfully. Although the subject is getting your housework done, the book is as carefully developed as any book I have read on workplace management in recent years. We need more books like this about how to get our 'home' work done!
The average woman in the United States has a full-time job requiring more than 40 hours a week of effort and a commute. Then she comes home and does another 25-35 hours of housework. Her husband (if she has one) usually does a little, but rarely anything approximating half. That kind of a work week would be banned in the first job. Why do women suffer through it at home?
Ms. Sherman does a masterful job of describing all of the reasons why people do not hire household help, and then explains why those reasons are really based in stalled thinking.
For example, most people just want to save the money. Yet, if doing the housework makes your life miserable, what good is the money? If you are a man, your wife may grow to resent your not doing the housework so much that you'll have to do 20 hours a week also . . . and have an angry wife. Angry wives are a leading cause of divorce, and that is much more expensive than household help. Ms. Sherman also goes on to aid you in thinking through how you might economize in other areas, and also increase your income. One of my favorite stories from the book is the woman who does housecleaning who hires a housekeeper to do her own home! So more people can afford housekeepers on a part-time basis than think they can.
A lot of people don't want to bring this up with their spouse.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Face It: You Are Too Busy to Do Your Own Housework 20 Sept. 2000
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a management manual for evaluating whether to get household help or not, deciding what sort of help you need, hiring the help, and managing the relationship successfully. Although the subject is getting your housework done, the book is as carefully developed as any book I have read on workplace management in recent years. We need more books like this about how to get our 'home' work done!
The average woman in the United States has a full-time job requiring more than 40 hours a week of effort and a commute. Then she comes home and does another 25-35 hours of housework. Her husband (if she has one) usually does a little, but rarely anything approximating half. That kind of a work week would be banned in the first job. Why do women suffer through it at home?
Ms. Sherman does a masterful job of describing all of the reasons why people do not hire household help, and then explains why those reasons are really based in stalled thinking.
For example, most people just want to save the money. Yet, if doing the housework makes your life miserable, what good is the money? If you are a man, your wife may grow to resent your not doing the housework so much that you'll have to do 20 hours a week also . . . and have an angry wife. Angry wives are a leading cause of divorce, and that is much more expensive than household help. Ms. Sherman also goes on to aid you in thinking through how you might economize in other areas, and also increase your income. One of my favorite stories from the book is the woman who does housecleaning who hires a housekeeper to do her own home! So more people can afford housekeepers on a part-time basis than think they can.
A lot of people don't want to bring this up with their spouse. The book has some excellent suggestions for getting male cooperation and enthusiasm for adding a housekeeper.
Here is how the book is organized:
Part I -- Making the Decision to Hire a Housekeeper
1. Size of the housekeeping work and costs of not hiring it done.
2. Overcoming common misconceptions about why people avoid hiring housekeepers.
3. Create objectives for what you would use the increased time for, such as spending more time with your children and spouse.
4. Evaluate the issue like a manager would.
5. Plan what you need.
6. Calculate costs and benefits of alternative solutions.
Part II -- Hiring and Managing a Housekeeper
7. Create household systems to simplify the tasks.
8. Decide what benefits to offer the housekeeper.
9. Attracting and selecting the right person.
10. How to fulfill your legal obligations towards the government.
11. How to manage the relationship with your housekeeper.
12. Communicating with and replacing your housekeeper.
There is also an appendix with model instructions for a housekeeper, and another with recipes that are easy for a housekeeper to use. The author also offers resources on important subjects to supplement what she has in the book.
I also evaluated this book in terms of our experience with housekeepers. I think this book would have helped my wife and I realize that we needed a housekeeper sooner than we did. We probably hung on with employing nannies too long. The advice mirrors what we do with our housekeeper, and we have had a good experience. So it looks like good stuff to me.
An unexpected benefit is that the rest of the family will do more housework after you get a housekeeper. That happened in our home, too. Yes, I do more housework now, also.
After you have read this book, ask yourself where else you may have misconceptions about concerning how you spend your time. Could you get other services done for you, as well? Men might enjoy having someone shovel the snow or trim the hedges.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Helps you sort through emotion and logic 19 Sept. 2001
By Suzanne P. Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The thought of hiring someone to help in the house brought up a swirling mixture of emotions, making it hard to logically decide if household help was right for me. Besides covering all the how-to issues of placing ads, interviewing, training, and paying taxes, in her book Kathy helps readers sort out the emotional side of deciding to hire household help. In summation, if we are willing to buy a meal from a fast food chain that pays its workers a bit above minimum wage, why not pay someone to cook a meal for us in our own kitchen (at a higher hourly wage)? Ditto for paying for laundry services, a grocery store that picks out our food, or a babysitter to watch the kids while we do chores. Because I am a married woman without kids, I initially decided to hire a cleaning service to come once a month instead of hiring my own part-time employee. But when my husband ruptured his Achilles' tendon, leading to three successive casts and rehabilitation, my work activities as a self-employed writer and real estate investor came to a crashing halt. Much of my time was spent doing his share of the chores plus taking care of his new needs. I reread Kathy's book, placed an ad in the local college newspaper, and received three calls a day until I canceled the ad early (I decided it was worth it to offer $11 per hour to get the best applicants I could afford). The mature student I hired has worked in the past for a cleaning service, is more of a neatnik than I am, and is a talented cook! Even after my husband's leg heals, I suspect we are going to continue hiring part-time help. It is absolutely wonderful to leave my computer and walk upstairs into a clean house with fresh baked cookies cooling on the counter! For us, it is worth it to economize in other areas (our newest car is 8 years old) in order to afford household help. I'm glad Kathy wrote this book because it helped us make a decision that worked for us.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Considering Hiring Household Help? Youll Need This Book !! 1 Oct. 2000
By Irvin Goodman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This super 253 page, brand new book is a MUST if you think you need household help, (or even if you think you can get along without it). It'll give you all of the answers to the questions about this, to help you make an intelligent decision. You'll learn why hiring household help is no longer a luxury for the wealthy, but should be viewed as a time-management tool for busy folks. The volume is an easy read, loaded with important facts. You'll learn how to justify the cost and even how to sell the idea to your spouse !! There's a great appendix that provides a super schedule with day by day duties you can give to your helper so you can get the biggest bang for your buck. This schedule alone would take you much time and effort to prepare. There's even info on how to comply with the "nanny tax" laws. If you're just tired of complaining about your housework, and all of the daily chores that must be done, GET THIS BOOK. IT CAN REALLY HELP !!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Almost half of couples have fought about cleaning 27 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A Housekeeper is Cheaper Than a Divorce copyright 2000, Debbie Williams
It's confession time: as organized as I am (it comes with the job), this professional organizer hates housework! In fact, most of my organizational skills come from my desire to contain the clutter so that I don't have to clean as frequently. I just have the luxury of not having to clean before the maid comes that many of the "organizationally challenged" are lacking in their lives. Ms. Sherman's book, A Housekeeper is Cheaper Than a Divorce, not only provides the tools for finding and keeping a good housekeeper, but also helps us determine whether or not we need domestic help and at what level.
Many time management and family counselors argue that husbands and wives should share housework 50/50, but as Ms. Sherman points out in the introduction of her book, that still places the burden of another part-time job on our significant other. This just splits the load, taking you both away from other tasks you'd rather be doing, such as having more leisure time or starting a home business. And if we hire a babysitter to watch the kids while we catch up on our cleaning chores or complete a work-from-home project, aren't we missing the point of raising our kids and helping them grow?
As a work-at-home mom, I see the pitfalls of trying to be Super Parent and do it all: work, home, kids, spouse, self. (Usually self doesn't even rate, because we're just too tired to pamper ourselves.) So it's not surprising to read that one survey found that "almost half of couples have fought about cleaning, and 1 in 10 has separated over housework disagreements." Wow, I guess we're not all by ourselves in this struggle, are we?
This book helps you weigh the pros and cons of hiring a housekeeper, maid service, or choosing the DIY (do it yourself) route and enlisting the help of your family. It's methodical, practical, and very thorough. Far from dry reading, however, this book provides you with checklists, planning guides, comparison charts, and other tools you need to effectively decide for yourself whether or not hiring domestic help is the right move for you and your family.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This housekeeper does not approve of this book. 24 April 2011
By Melissa Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I bought this book as a professional business owner in the field of housekeeping. I was reading along, agreeing with her stance that people's time is usually much better spent doing work or spending time with loved ones instead of household work. I've never judged someone for hiring me. I work for successful, ambitious people who realize that changing sheets or cleaning a bathtub is time that can be, and is more productively, spent otherwise. When I'm a busy mother and business owner, I hope to be able to employ house help to do basics like dusting and vacuuming.

When I got to page 61, I laughed so loudly that my husband heard me in the other room. Allow me to impart Mrs. Sherman's wisdom:

"There are many reasons someone chooses to work as a housekeeper. She may be a college student looking for a part-time job that dovetails well with her studies. He might be between careers, taking a breather while he plans his next move. She could be working to finance a not-so-lucrative career in the arts. As a career housekeeper, she might be satisfied with the amount of income brought in by her not-so-stressful line of work or be working in the highest-paid field for which she is qualified, using her earnings to help her children achieve something more."

Hahaha! I've never been simultaneously amused and insulted. First of all, I am a "career housekeeper" because I realized while "in between jobs" that this was more lucrative than any boring, tedious office job I'd had. I work less hours than I ever did at an office. I am my boss. I make my own hours. I decide my rates. I advertise my business. I meet personally with clients. That sounds like a kickass job to me, not some kind of fallback loser career. Second, housekeeping is far from a "not-so-stressful" job. In one chapter, the author manages to say that housekeeping is difficult, physically demanding work, and then says that a person may choose that line of work because it's not so stressful. Ummm, what? Third, I have a bachelor's degree, so I'm well qualified to do many things; this is what I CHOOSE to do. And finally: "using her earnings to help her children achieve something more"? I don't have children yet, but I can guarantee you that I would be proud for them to know that I own my own business and have enough personal responsibility and ambition to drive myself in my own trade. THOSE are goals that I hope they achieve, and whatever job they choose to do to achieve happiness would be great. There's nothing "more" to life than being personally fulfilled, being successful in something you're talented at and enjoy, and taking care of your family.

The book pretty much gets more insulting from there; Mrs. Sherman goes on to talk about "house help" like housekeepers are bumbling fools without the good sense to be careful around your fine china or run out the door with pockets full of jewelry. I imagine these monkeys hooting and yowling and hanging from chandeliers, holding cans of Pledge and Scrubbing Bubbles. I realize that some housekeepers are the fly-by-night, untrustworthy type, but don't all trades have some questionable contingent? Hiring someone to work in your home is not rocket science. If you don't have enough common sense to check around, verify resources, get a background check if necessary, etc. then maybe you shouldn't be in control of managing ANYTHING.
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