I’ve got a confession to make and it’s a really embarrassing one. Are you ready? Okay.
*takes deep breath*
I’ve got a cleaner.
Ugh. Just typing it out makes me feel grubby, and not in a ‘ooh my kitchen worktops are a bit grimy’ kind of way (although they really
are were). Having a cleaner is not something you do when you’re a right-on woolly liberal lefty who believes everyone’s absolutely equal, see. Pay someone to clean up behind me, are you fucking kidding? Raise kids who think it’s okay to make a mess so long as someone else is paid to sort it out afterwards? Fuck that shit.
Only it’s not that simple. Never one for doing housework when there’s puppies to play with/books to read/napping to do, my house has always erred on the side of sticky. Every now and again I’d have a complete shit fit and scream until people picked up some of the crap, but it never lasted.
Given that I’m the (very proud, actually) owner of a skanky Teen plus an autistic Smaller who needs constant supervision, plus working freelance on numerous different projects, something had to give. And although I hate housework, I do love a clean house (this might surprise you if you’ve actually been inside my house at any point in the last decade). So when I gave a friend a lift home recently and went into her living room to discover that her cleaner had been and oh my god the sparkle the cleanliness the fragrant smell of fresh linen and Domestos, I decided that the time had come.
I’m telling you right now, there is nothing more terrifying than having a complete stranger walk round your house with a clipboard, writing notes about which bits are the most midden-like. A FUCKING CLIPBOARD, GODDAMMIT. I was on the verge of collapsing at her feet and wailing “I know I’m awful please don’t hate me I’ll try harder I promise don’t leave me…” when she took a right turn and walked into the Teen’s bedroom.
That was it – she was going to walk straight out of my house and never return. How could I in any good conscious expect anyone to deal with that, for heaven’s sake?
But I’d underestimated her. Teen himself was lounging on his bed surrounded by his nest, which he builds daily from laptops, xbox controllers and crisp packets. She carefully looked round the room before fixing him with a beady eye as he shrank back into the pillows.
“You’ve got until Friday, love.”
I’ve never seen an expression like it on his face before – a mixture of fear, admiration and knowledge that he’d met his match. And when she’d been for the first time and he came home from college to a tidy house and a freshly made bed (and a hoovered path around said bed ignoring the tsunami of junk at the end of the room because he still hasn’t cleared all the crap and even Superwoman has her limits), he declared that having a cleaner was the Best Idea EVER.
So now I have time to actually work and actually earn money, which I was struggling with before. Which can only be a good thing for me, my sanity and my kids’ eardrums because I’m no longer yelling at them constantly. And it turns out that everyone – kids included – keeps things tidier when someone else is making it tidy in the first place (not to mention the fact that you suddenly learn to value cleanliness when you’re actually paying for it). Everything is nicer, everyone is happier.
I still feel grubby. But at least I’m clean.