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

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A really practical handbook on how to bring together those who want to serve and those who want to be served. -- Ann B. Davis, actress, played Alice on The Brady Bunch

An important concept, often overlooked. Not taking this advice may be more expensive than you think. -- Richard Carlson, author of Dont Sweat the Small Stuff

Hiring a housekeeper...allows time for women to explore new opportunities. -- ForeWord Magazine, September 2000

This book offers important guidelines for getting additional support in the home. -- John Gray, Ph.D., author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

About the Author

Kathy Fitzgerald Sherman has employed household help of various kinds for nearly 20 years, successfully using management skills she developed during a high-tech career in Silicon Valley. Like millions of mothers everywhere, Kathy struggles to balance career, childrearing, and homemaking. She finds that delegating housework to a paid employee is the only workable solution to this challenge.

After earning a bachelors degree in computer science and mathematics in 1978, Kathy worked in the computer industry, holding positions in engineering, sales, and management. In 1986, she formed Results Unlimited, a motivational speaking and seminar business specializing in personal effectiveness. She teaches others to define goals consistent with their values, interests, and priorities and to use their skills and resources to achieve those goals.

Taking her own advice, Kathy changed the form of her business after her first child was born in 1988. Instead of leading seminars on personal effectiveness, she began writing about the topic from home. But her plan to have it all wasnt workingthere simply werent enough hours in the day to meet all of her responsibilities, and her husband wasnt interested in pitching in. After an epiphany in which she noticed her teenage babysitter playing with her kids while she folded laundry, she swapped her once-a-week cleaning service and occasional babysitter for a twenty-hour-a-week housekeeper. The life transformation that followed inspired her to write A Housekeeper Is Cheaper Than a Divorce.

An award-winning writer and speaker, Kathy has been published in newspapers including The Christian Science Monitor, parenting magazines including Bay Area Parent and Big Apple Parent, and business and computer magazines. She also moderates several on-line discussion groups for parents.

Kathy grew up in Utica, New York, and graduated from the University of Scranton, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children, ages 9 and 11.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Life Tools Pr (May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967963605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967963600
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,317,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 19, 2000
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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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne P. Thomas on September 19, 2001
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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Harris on April 24, 2011
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.
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