For the past few weekends we’ve settled into a cleaning routine. Natalie takes A to the gym for swimming and I get on with the cleaning. I’m usually pretty good at this and time exactly what needs to be done to finish by the time they return. The aim is to mop and let the floor dry before they walk through the door. We had an unfortunate incident a few months ago with A skating across a wet floor and I don’t want to repeat that again.
Occasionally the house needs a deeper clean.
By deep clean, I mean that I have to lift the microwave to get at the crumbs underneath, and move the sofa to vacuum around the back. The thing that usually precipitates this is an impending visit from a relative or, more recently, a burst of nesting instinct (not on my part) as we prepare for a new baby. A deep clean inevitably takes longer and the gym can only contain them for so long.
And so every now and then the unenviable task arises of cleaning the house with a child in it.
This is not easy, as many parents can testify. Children need attention and when you’re not giving it to them they go looking for distractions. Cleaning a kitchen is difficult when your child’s up to something in the other room; it’s hard to go check on them every couple of minutes. Vacuuming seems to be impossible. Either they get cross because they can’t hear the television that you put on to occupy them or they clamber all over you.
I’m seriously considering getting the cleaner back.
About three years ago we found a professional cleaner who came every two weeks to go around the house. All we had to do was tidy and the cleaners would do the rest. We would come home to a blissfully clean house smelling… well, very clean. They would accomplish all this in a morning when everyone was out of the house and probably did it much more efficiently than we could ever hope to. The reason we got a cleaner was because things were getting hard to manage. I was working a lot and Natalie had just gone back to a new job and things were getting on top of us. It all worked out perfectly.
For some reason whenever I spoke to friends I always hid the fact we had cleaners.
Did I want people to think I had been doing all the cleaning? No. Was I worried people would think I was too “posh”? Perhaps. Was I quietly smug that I’d found this simple solution and didn’t want to give away my secret? Definitely.
We had the cleaners for a while but in the end decided to go back to doing it ourselves when things began to get easier. Getting rid of them was one of the worst household decisions we’ve made. They made our lives so much easier and allowed us to focus on the things that truly mattered.
My weekends are precious. Do I really want to spend them cleaning the house?
The most important aim of any parent should be to spend time with their children. Of course, there are other things that get in the way. But if we find a solution where we can do less of the dull stuff and more of the important stuff we should pursue it. The cleaners allowed me to focus on family time and be guilt free about keeping on top of the household chores. Now I found myself spending every Saturday morning doing housework while my family are away having fun without me.
The reason I stopped the cleaning was partly because of cost. I thought I could put those extra few pounds towards something more meaningful. But what is meaningful if not spending time with family? Not spending money on cleaners has become a false economy. But not delegating the cleaning to someone else, I’m robbing our family of one of our most important commodities, time.
It’s time to dig out that phone number of the cleaners we used. The Millennial Dad movement, i.e. modern fatherhood, dictates that fathers today need to work smarter and not harder. If we can outsource this basic task we can free up so much more. Of course, it’s still fun every now and then to vacuum the carpet while being ridden as a pony by a toddler dressed as a cowgirl.