Some of you will be thinking everyone needs a cleaner whilst others will be thinking…why can’t she clean up herself?
My family were always comfortably off. Both my Grandmother and Mother have lived overseas in the past and had staff to deal with the chores. My Mother worked full time and we had a lady who came once a week and cleaned and ironed. She was a lovely old lady very sprightly and did a good job. Consequently no one ever really expected me to do much more than keep my bedroom tidy and put the odd load of washing in.
It was a tremendous shock when I left home and discovered that a) I couldn’t afford a cleaner and b) my then boyfriend expected me to do it. I’ve probably spent the last 30 years trying to find reasons not to clean things. I have tried all sorts including employing cleaning ladies and gardeners when I can afford it and even convincing an ex boyfriend that I was too small to clean……I claimed the Hoover was too heavy for me and despite his debilitating allergies he would put a face mask on a couple of times a week and Hoover the whole flat.
So here I am living in a country where women think they were put on this earth to clean. The first few months I was here I showed willing…..a new life and all that. But I soon realised that I would never be able to get up early enough to get my washing out first of my rugs freshly beaten and hanging over the balcony……hell my rug is so big I’m nearly unconscious by the time I have dragged it outside never mind beating the thing.
I’ve now sussed the washing…….I stay up really late and hang it out at 2am before I go to bed……I’d love to see the neighbours faces when they see mine out first but that would involve setting my alarm for the middle of the night. My husband…….yes there is one…….is very traditional and believes that housework is woman’s work………he expects a certain level of cleanliness and to be honest I don’t have the skills or the inclination to try and live up to those standards. Yes I mop and bleach and do the washing……but I don’t feel an overwhelming urge to sweep and wash my floors every day.
My lack of desire to clean is sometimes mentioned at family gatherings. Usually followed by a lot of tutting from the headscarves……. I was asked a few weeks ago why I don’t wash his pants and socks by hand……um…..we have a washing machine……….buzzzzzzzz fail……not the right answer….more tuts. Apparently in some cultures hand washing your husband smalls is considered a sign of your love……what’ll wrong with flowers? Or a massage? Even if we didn’t have a machine there is a laundrette a kilometre away……if the machine broke, the laundrette was closed and there really was no other option……I’d still be tempted to buy him some new ones before I washed anything by hand!
Anyway this week I have picked up some freelance work……quite a bit of it as it happens which is going to keep me at my computer for several hours each day for the foreseeable future. I initially turned it down as it was such a big commitment but have since realised that I haven’t earned much this year and this is probably too good an opportunity to miss. My husband was surprisingly all for it. Great……but now he has started checking that I will still be cooking his dinner and asking me whether I will be able to fit in all the cleaning etc.
The alarm bells are ringing. I love my work life balance……working several hours a day and still doing all the cooking and cleaning wasn’t quite what I had in mind……. So I have decided to use some of my hard earned to pay for a cleaner…..a nice little Turkish lady complete with scarf who will love cleaning because that’s how she has been programmed and who will also no doubt enjoy regaling her friends with tales from the foreign woman’s house. She can tell them what she likes as long as I don’t have to do it myself.