Angel's blog: The toilet duck that broke the camels back!
When I returned to work after maternity leave, we decided to get a cleaner for our house. Today I will tell you how employing cleaners not only made me a better cleaner but changed my entire perspective on cleaning! And here's how it all happened (all cleaners names have been changed for privacy).
At the end of 2016, I returned to work after having my first son and I employed Anna. She was a quiet lady and she didn’t know much English so whilst we couldn’t communicate, she could clean so we worked it out. I used to give her regular gifts but I felt she soon started to take my kindness for weakness. She began to turn up late or not at all and sometimes she would leave before she had finished. She stopped dusting certain areas and even when I pointed it out she didn’t do anything. Also, her price kept rising every couple of months so I decided to let her go.
In 2017 I had Alex the machine. On her first day I was picking up a few toys when she arrived and she told me not to tidy a thing, she would do it all and she did. She would clean tidy up everything so neatly that when she did my kitchen sometimes I couldn’t even find my things. My bathroom would be so sparkling that I wouldn’t even want my family to use it. The house smelled good as she made her own products and the cleaning was so thorough she used to pick up my furniture to hoover underneath. Not a cobweb or speck of dust would remain. She did it all in two hours flat! I had the upmost respect for Alex, she was a single mum of twins and had worked hard to keep them fed, clothed etc. So, when she told me she was leaving as she got a permanent office job with hours that worked around school pick up and drop off I was delighted for her. By this time it was 2018 and I was pregnant again so I figured we would manage until it was time for me to return to work.
When I returned to work in 2019 we initially hired a cleaning company. They were excellent but unfortunately they couldn’t fit us in on the days I wanted, so we had to find someone else. This process was an absolute nightmare. The first lady forgot to show up, and the second lady forgot to actually clean, announcing that she needed four hours to do a proper clean not the two she was being paid for. She then went on to spend two hours hoovering and nothing else. The third sprayed Viakal limescale remover on every single surface in our home including the TV. Amazingly it wasn’t damaged (and my husband will only find out when he reads this blog)
Now we get to my final cleaner. When she came I heard cleaning type noises when she was upstairs but when I went into the bathroom, she hadn’t done a thing. Worst of all was her treatment of my Toilet Duck disks!. Instead of being stuck to the toilet so it would smell fresh when flushing, the packet, complete with disks crumpled up and looking sorry for themselves, was in the bin (which she didn’t empty). It annoyed me so much seeing the ripped open new packet in my still full bin and seeing my house still dirty that I announced to my bemused husband (after lots of ranting about toilet duck disks!) ‘NO MORE CLEANERS!’. From now on I’d be doing it myself.
So I went for it - and folks I went deep. I started researching cleaning online. I watched YouTube videos on ‘how to make my shower screen sparkle’ and visited well known cleaning Instagram pages to get tips on bed making with ‘hospital corners’ I lurked on cleaning groups on Facebook where they were, for some reason, putting shaving foam around their toilet and zooflora in their hoover (don’t do this, apparently it can cause a fire!). There are lots of well-known methods where your house can stay clean in only fifteen minutes a day. I tried it all, I read it all - What’s that you said? For a great smelling house dab essential oils behind the radiator? Or to clean your microwave use hot vinegar and water. Yep – I did it! If you would have come around to my house unexpectedly you would have been impressed. I washed all my curtains and nets. I even owned a cleaning caddy.
Then one day, I just couldn’t be bothered. I had a slight cold, my baby had a few rough nights and I came back from work realising there is more to life than this and my standards were just not realistic or sustainable. I reckoned we could probably get by with a slightly messier, slightly dustier house and still be ok. So yeah, if you come around unexpectedly now be prepared to stand on a bit of Lego that we didn’t put away. I might have to wash a cup for you to drink from as the dishwasher didn’t get put on last night but, ah well. From all this I have learnt that our home is for living in not for show. We eat, play, sleep and dance in our home and I would rather spend my precious time doing that with my family than scrubbing. Hit me up if you need any cleaning tips though!
Angel the Cleaning Expert works as an Executive Assistant in the City. She lives in Hertfordshire with her two boys aged 4 and 18 months.
Category: A Citymother's Diary