Great Expectations

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 The gleam has dulled down, the sparkle has fizzled out and the shine has been replaced by stains.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.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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3 Responses to Great Expectations

  1. cath c says:

    this is why i don't have a cleaner and why i can now look past the pet hair collecting at the baseboards, and the piles of spilled books in my path, and the arrangement of glasses with milky film that begin to multiply like amoeba as soon as the first boy arrives home from school…if i pretend it's not there it isn't, and it will still be there until i or hopefully someone else gets fed up.

    i could never spend my life in cleaning minutae, no matter how much potential it has to drive me crazy. as long as no one messes my drawers, i'm fine. who cares that the majority of clothes are piled on the dresser 😉


  2. I know the feeling. It does seem endless at times, doesn't it? My mum used to clean before the cleaner came so as not to give a bad impression, which defeats the purpose really!


  3. Mummy mania says:

    I know! I spend half an hour tidying before she comes!


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