There are many reasons I love Dickens – his word wizardry aside. Who could not love a writer who gave me this perfect antidote in my hour of need when I weigh up washing my dirty laundry in another spin cycle, versus airing my dirty laundry on another blog cycle. “Mrs Joe was a very clean housekeeper, but had an exquisite art of making her cleanliness more uncomfortable and unacceptable than dirt itself.” Bah Humbug says I, clearly cleanliness is highly overrated. We’ve all been in houses like that and it’s no place for a child.
But still, just to keep us in a technically clean and safe environment I used to clean the house constantly. Not constantly clean the house you understand – of course I ate and shopped and played with the girls. But in between that, I cleaned the house constantly because sadly time never stands still. Not even for a millisecond, so the moment I have finished hovering, I see a speck newly gleaming on the carpet, magically morphing before my very eyes from a clean spot to a now dirty spot. As soon as I’ve tidied up, the girls empty a container of farm animals and playdo on the kitchen floor. As soon as the laundry basket is empty, a rancid pair of socks appear. So the constant flow of housework constantly needs doing. When people look at my girls and say “Oh you must have your hands full,” little do they know that yes, they are full – of washing, ironing, shopping, food going into the fridge, food coming out of the fridge, nappies, toys, hairbands, pants, socks, dolls clothes, dolls dummies, dolls prams, dolls, window cleaner, cooker cleaner, toilet cleaner, dishcloths, drying cloths, face cloths….
So, what has happened to make me a dirty minx? I got a cleaner. Yep, now someone else has their hands full and I get to be hands on with my girls, and (let’s be honest) my computer. So is my house sparkling like my merry eyes? Is it hell. It’s a pit. A den of dereliction. A heap of hairy carpets, and piles of pants. Do I have a bad cleaner? No, not at all. She’s great – she even puts my washing machine on! I’ve never been so pampered. The problem? She comes once every two weeks. So the first Tuesday of the month, I come home from the school run and step into a palace, gleaming and sparkling and shiny. But the next Tuesday a funny thing happens. The gleam has dulled down, the sparkle has fizzled out and the shine has been replaced by stains. But can I step up to the (dirty) mark? No. I have a cleaner, and as such seem to have been struck down by a complete (and constant) inability to do any cleaning myself. It gets to Wednesday and I think… the upstairs needs hovered, but sure its only 6 days before the cleaner comes. The toilets are a bit grubby, but hey, I have a cleaner. They can wait. I’ve gone from wearing a dishcloth as an accessory to someone with beautiful hands.
So like everything in this world, be careful what your great expectations are. I wanted my house cleaned so we got a cleaner. It’s never been dirtier. Or worse still, I have a cleaner, but I still have to clean. As the great man said, Bah Humbug.