Cleaning and me are unhappy bedfellows.
I will be entirely up front - I really, really, really don't like cleaning my house. Or my car.In fact - I hate cleaning. I will do anything to put it off, and even the things I do which are supposed to help me clean hinder me.
A regular method of mine is to gee myself along by blasting out a load of show tunes on Spotify once all my cleaning materials are lined up on the kitchen table.
All my cleaning materials are lined up on the kitchen table while I stand, throwing meaningful glances at my imagined audience, belting out anything and everything from Charlie Girl to Les Miserables.
I enjoy it, so all is not lost - but nothing gets cleaned.
Don't get me wrong, I love it when the homestead is clean (for the several minutes it lasts before everyone gets home). And I wouldn't want you to think we had cockroaches or a thriving rodent community. I do clean - just not very regularly, or very thoroughly it seems.
After reading a couple of blog posts lately I was left entirely slack-jawed. Some people's cleaning routines include wall-mopping and bi-weekly skirting board wiping!
I am in awe of them. Entirely. These things just wouldn't have occurred to me.
I realised I was a bit slack - but had no idea I was positively prolapsed.
These startling revelations made me think I should shake myself up a bit. How dreadful that my family were living in this sordid state. Oh me, oh my.
I beat myself up quite a bit, actually.
But, eventually, the little voice in the back of my mind grew until it was howling,
'BUT I REALLY DON'T LIKE CLEANING! PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME DO IT TOO OFTEN!'
|A broom . . . apparently|
Meanwhile, back at The Byre (my friend's delightful rental). . .
After we'd scrubbed sinks and bathrooms, and changed beds and towels, we made a drink and chatted for the rest of the evening.
As this whole cleaning methods/acceptable frequency debate was still raging in my head I asked my friend how often she cleaned at home. (Just one of the reasons I love this friend is for her honesty.) And, bless her sweet socks, she told me she doesn't always do 'a clean' once a week. (Although I must add that The Byre is regularly and thoroughly cleaned to a sparkle.)
Indeed, her Top Tip was to have someone come to stay once a month so you are at least forced to do a thorough clean then. Marvellous.
I was grateful for her candour and decided on the spot that I should embrace who I am and 'own it' - as the entertaining ladies on Real Housewives of New York City are wont to endorse.
My house is presentable most of the time, none of us is harbouring a dread disease or suffering any malady brought on by dust or lack of bleaching.
I checked - the kids had no idea what I was talking about and the Best Beloved is more concerned about my general happiness than he ever would be by dust bunnies.
So, there it is and all about it. I give myself permission to clean when I think it's necessary - and perhaps even the day after that if I'm feeling particularly bold.
And I guess I want to expose myself (as it were) on the World Wide Net in the hope that someone, somewhere - who may similarly be chastising themselves for their perceived slovenliness -might find my words and think,
'I am not alone. There is another who is a bit lax in the whole housework department. I shall sleep easy tonight'.
And, isn't it funny how cleaning somewhere with a friend isn't a chore?
(I feel like there should be some sort of theme music playing now as the credits roll).
* * * * * * * * *
The night was pitch black by the time we left The Byre and all the clouds that had gathered during the day had cleared. We stood for a moment and gazed up at the stars - so many more than we can see in our light-polluted town - and were quiet with wonder.
Thousands and thousands and thousands of shining stars all around us,
and I thought....
....I'm glad I don't have to clean them.