"Will Hiring a Cleaning Service/Maid Send My Kiddos a Bad Message?"
God, NO. Not only that, but it becomes VERY simple to turn it into a teaching moment: No single person can do everything on their own. We all need help.
((BTW... kudos to you! I haven't had a maid since before my son was born. I MISS having a cleaning service, and would sign up in a heartbeat -and intend to at the first available opportunity))
Also, hate to burst your MIL's bubble... but unless you are hiring someone to live in house with you and work every day EVERYONE still has to clean. Not only picking up after themselves, but also the daily chores of living. A cleaning service just takes care of several hours worth of deep cleaning that lets you stay on top of things.
My only word of caution: kids who come from homes where they have a maid and don't spend all day in it (because of school & daycare) TEND to get obnoxious about other people's homes who are much messier. Not out of malice, but out of the simple fact that whatever the child's life, they view that as "normal". It's why young children get all excited about people with different color skin, or kids get "shocked" about a family that does something very differently (like has a grandparent that lives with them, or goes to bed later/earlier, or whether or not they're in daycare, etc. So just as we all get mortified by announcements that "That man is BALD! Look at how FAT she is! etc." expect that with your newly clean house, you kids will start commenting that "Your house is messy" to their friends, unless you talk to them ahead of time.
And here're 2 poems for you MIL
Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
For children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.
- (attributed to several sources, the web seems to say Ruth Hamilton due to a 1938 ladies home journal submission, but it's been found embroidered on things from before she was born, although a few lines are either missing or added in this particular version from the older ones, but I *like* the kanga and roo line, amongst some others, so this is the version I'm posting)
version ii (my favorite short version, note the differences? I like them as well :)
I hope my child looks back on today
and remembers a Mum who had time to play
There will be years for cleaning and cooking
But children grow up when we are not looking
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
Cos babies grow fast, we learn to our sorrow
So settle down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
I'm cuddling my baby, and babies don't keep