So, what I have done with my day so far…… cleaned!

House work I conclude is a bit like being caught in a revolving door!  A very evil revolving door that keeps smacking you in the face! 

It’s a boring, tedious and repetitive process we all must do, whether it's spring cleaning or just your regular unloading-the-dishwasher-for-the-third-time-today type of cleaning. 

But why is it no matter how often we do it, it’s a never-ending war with dirty floors, dust mites, grubby walls and unplumped pillows?

It is tempting to request your cleaning P45 and become redundant from being a domestic goddess and bring all proceedings to halt. Simply switch off the washing machine and bring the laundry to a standstill, only recommencing when there is nothing left to wear. Put down that polish and burn all the brushes, enough is enough!

A bit extreme even by my standards!  Perhaps a more realistic option is only do a chore a day or make it half an hour of housework power rather than putting yourself through an exhausting cleaning marathon. 

I appreciate sometimes this is easier said than done, as mentally the dirt divide becomes problematic when the dust bunnies multiply out of control literally breeding like rabbits.  Mixed with a combination of crumbs and dog hairs, from a distance such a furry formation could easily be mistaken for a small animal in residence. 

And why is it that it doesn’t seem to matter how many times and in a loud and scary voice you tell the dust to leave your home as it is both unwanted and unloved, it never listens?  Even when it does disappear, it returns the very next day bringing with it evidence of a further dusty community who all take up residence.

But however annoying is its presence, it does serve an alternative purpose; as a protective coating for furniture. Didn’t you know that?  This is one I have used in the past when feeling lazy or downtrodden by domestic duties!

If you didnt know that, you are probably not aware of the following; women will spend 12,896 hours, equivalent to a year and six months in a lifetime cleaning the home whilst men only spend a mere 6,448 hours. 

Approximately 18 hours a week, or 2.6 a day are spent by womenfolk on housework including cleaning, grocery shopping and cooking, as opposed to fifty years ago when the average time spent was a whopping 44 hours.  Suddenly I feel better about the whole situation!   But this is shortlived!

In the 1930s a woman's life was devoted to the house and keeping it in order would take all week!  This was partly due to expectations as there was a formal marriage bar in professions such as law, the civil service and teaching bringing with it a lot more elbow wax.   It wasn't until the 1960s with the huge spread of vacuum cleaners and washing machines that life got easier and standards started to slip. Mass production brought prices down, women no longer had time and the whole concept of cleaning became very different!   More options were explored and grew. 

In principle there has always been 3 major solutions if you don’t wish to go it alone in your tidying up tasks; Outsource it (get a cleaner), Share it (introduce household rules & regs & cleaning rota) or just simply Embrace it (stop complaining & ‘Nike’ (just do it!).

I never used to understand people who hired cleaners taking the view they must either be lazy, snobs or lazy snobs or just have far too much disposable cash. 

Why would anyone wish to reject the opportunity to clean up after themselves and expect someone else to do it and usually for a pittance?  Who would want some stranger with their industrial marigolds to remove shit stains from the toilet (a very personal thing saying a lot about the individual – bit like reading tea leaves, but with faecal matter!) and potentially going through your drawers in your absence and having the odd cheeky tipple from your gin collection? 

Fact - most people that pay for cleaners normally clean up before they arrive!  What is that all about?  It’s a bit like giving yourself a short, back and sides before visiting the hairdressers!

However, this particular opinion changed very soon after I had children as cleaning your house while they were growing was like wearing flipflops in the snow – absolutely pointless! 

But cleaning when they are all grown up is still verging on an act of insanity and frustration! 

If you waited for your messy minors to clean, you may as well draw your pension and order some very fetching nipple high pants! 

The teenage dwelling without your cleaning contribution very soon turns into 'off limits' and becomes a 'no-go' zone. It’s a hair raising and common occurrence when taking a sneaky peek around their bedroom doors and is enough to make you want to drink your homemade cleaning products (a combination of lemon, water, and gin - not a G&T - the latter is of course a well-known stain remover!).

Dirty clothes are discarded messily all over the floor in the hope they will become so smelly they will walk to the washing machine and jump in.  Chargers and cords are all a health and safety nightmare snaking uncontrollably around the room.  Empty glasses are everywhere and cups growing bacteria looking as though experiments for future science have been performed as they cover every surface. The tops of furniture are sticky to the touch and there is evidence of snot-hardened tissues discarded around other unidentified fixtures and fittings all buried under mountains of crap. 

It is at times like these I wish I did invest in a cleaner!

Most men too are as useless as an ejection seat on a helicopter where it comes to doing their bit and getting stuck in and understanding that a feather duster is used for practicality and not just to tickle people with. 

In the main they are a bunch of shameless skivers, some acting as though housework is demeaning pining for a lost world where women bustled around in pinnies and matching bobby socks, while they did naff all, just loitered around the periphery of j cloths and cleaning products. 

Like incompetent giant children, they pretend to not understand how the hoover works or waste time and bitch about the marigolds being too tight before they strop off to console themselves in sport!

And when they do get down and dirty, watch out for that knock on the door as it won’t be long before the reporters are bustling to get that all important front-page story! 

You would be forgiven to have thought they had walked on the moon rather than just ironed their shirts for the week (and only their shirts!).

Ironing what a joy!  My second favourite household chore, with the first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I pass out!  

Interestingly it is noted that men on lower incomes do tend to muck in much more than those on higher incomes.  Middle class men who work all day are more likely to suggest to or get a cleaner and then complain about the quality of the clean! (typical!).  

But did you ever consider that changing attitudes and greater involvement in keeping the house amongst men helps to strengthen marriages?  Please take a moment as it is fact - men doing more chores can  help protect against divorce!

The big question is; is getting a cleaner the solution?  Unless they come in every day, it really won’t help and that’s before you address all the non-cleaning things that need to be done in a home!

As the majority of women now have jobs it means housework doesn’t come with a gender anymore and to keep any relationship healthy, it’s best to share it equally as without a shadow of a doubt it take team work to create and maintain a clean house.

So why do we get so caught up with this cleaning malarkey in the first place?  Surely, we should try and relax a bit more, prioritise our time and invest it more wisely? 

What is the worst-case scenario in getting that work/life/clean balance?  Are we more worried about what other people think?  If your house is really a mess and a visitor come to the door then simply greet them with, "Who could have done this? We have no enemies." It works everytime!

On the up-side cleaning does have a few positives as well as an uncluttered house providing an uncluttered mind.  We should embrace it for its healthy properties as its great exercise! No need to join that expensive gym or work up a sweat on the treadmill, instead some simple activities like raking leaves or scrubbing the bath could burn off up to 200 calories! 

So, have a heart as doing half an hour putting the hoover through its paces or cleaning the windows until they shine can do the trick!

On rare occasions I admit I do have an attack of undertaking a whole house clean like a military operation as it just feels right but is normally more of a nesting approach in the changing seasons (spring clean or getting ready for winter) a battening down of hatches perhaps....

But at times trying to keep a tidy house could drive you mad and to dementia.

Life is far too short to be placing unnecessary pressure and worrying about what other people think.  If everyone pitches in then the rewards of unclutter can be achieved.

After all, have you ever seen beloved wife, mum and most fabulous cleaner engraved on any gravestone?

Happy cleaning!