If you’ve got small children, whatever the concoction, you’ll have heard this spoken of yourself. That and “you’ve got your hands full!” So I’m about to blow the lid on the truth. Demystify the whole affair, and pass on some words to the wise for those feeling like All This Stuff is getting out of hand. It’s my guide to cleaning and cleanliness, or how to fake it whilst you’re not making it.
1) The Children.
Look at them. No not ahhhh. Look at them, scrutinise them. Then mentally divide them into 16ths (I believe tattoos on the under 16s are illegal. Shame, they’d always grow with them). Now, here’s the scale;
2/16ths dirty: Barely noticeable. Baby wipes for the noticeable bits (low hanging snot, brown sleeves). Febreeze if there’s an accompanying smell.
4/16ths dirty: Get in there with a baby wipe. Squint your eyes- still noticeable? Is there any way of removing offending piece of clothing (most commonly vest) with least impact? Johnny Ball and a tablecloth affair? Remember: vests can come off both ways, surprisingly without a shoulder dislocation. Febreeze anyway, just in case.
8/16ths dirty: Turn up the heating. You’re now nudists. Or the kids are anyway. Baby wipes for your hands. Febreeze any surface they come into contact with.
2) The Bathroom.
Bleach, bleach and more bleach (ensuring naked children are running around in non neighbouring vicinity). Bleach until you can’t feel your eyes and you hallucinate about David Hasselhoff riding a unicorn. Then, given that you have a five minute window on the assumption that the children are otherwise engaged and if you haven’t yet passed out from the fumes, take a shower and rinse as you go.
As for personal care, take a similar approach to mopping the kitchen floors. Quick once over and don’t look down.
Given that you spend approximately 80% of your day on your knees, physically and metaphorically, a lot of surfaces are on your eyeline. The ones that aren’t are for adults and so are probably just dusty. Just blow the dust off as you walk past briefly later. As for the ones you can see follow the steps below (you’ll notice some similarities to the way you address cleaning your children- see, this is easy to pick up too. Win Win)
a) Lick your finger. Give the mark a rub. Has it come off? Good to go.
b) Have you a baby wipe to hand? Stupid question. Go and find one of your offspring who will have undoubtedly eschewed all other choice of available toys for a packet of baby wipes (see also; anything dangerous). Give it another go. If you are in the midst of a nappy change when you encounter such a mark, skip point a. Finger licking is reserved then for buckets of chicken, too risky. You’ll have baby wipes to hand, hopefully. Just remember to fold them before trying the other mark. Has it gone? If not,
c) Put a coaster on it. If whilst moving the coaster you discover a previous mark, judge which one is less offensive using the same squinting eye technique in point 1. Of course, a squirt of febreeze won’t do any harm.
4) The Kitchen.
Put into play a lot of what you have already learned about marks on surfaces. Try and eat dropped food from highchairs off the floors in 30 seconds. Any longer is gross, just keep quiet about it. Ensure less whiffy bins and bin juice by creating a tea bag depository for them to dry out in. Cut down on your five a day, or feed all scrunts to the birds by chucking out the window. Same with toast crusts.
As said before with mopping the floors. Quick once over, don’t look down. Ovens are good hiding places, until you have to preheat them later. Dishes are a necessary evil, so just do them and be miserable about it by making A LOT of noise. That’s good fun.
Ignore it. Blow it as if you’ve discovered an ancient book. Whilst drying your hair disperse bedroom dust with your hairdryer. Avoid strong sunlight.
6) Washing. Laundry.
Got to be done, like the dishes. Put on high heat to dispose of as many nasties as possible. Always add scoop of Vanish, no questions asked. Live life in synthetics. Discover the flap and hang technique to avoid creases early on. Don’t let a man fold them, I don’t care if this is sexist, it’s just genetically missing from their make up. Pretend the iron is broken, encourage a wear to work out the creases ethic in your family. If there’s an odd unidentifiable smell in your house (when isn’t there??) put a wash on as free air freshening.
Don’t forget, Febreeze is first line of defence.
Use mopping and personal care technique. Don’t look down. If you ‘accidentally’ break the plastic monstrosity that plays “Hello Baby” on repeat, who’s to know? Shame Early Centre don’t do them anymore isn’t it? Feign disappointment.
8) Out and About.
One of your offspring will still have babywipes on their person, that’s a given. Although may have to remove the one from their mouth when venturing out into public. Here’s the thing, even if you’re just popping out for five minutes, if you don’t have a spare nappy, one or all of your children will poo like their life depends on it. Popeye face and everything. So now, right now, go and put a nappy in your handbag. Don’t worry about the size. By the time it is required it will undoubtedly not fit anyway and you’ll be 50 miles from the nearest place to get anymore. So let it become a recepticle for all gunk in the bottom of your handbag. Think of it as advance payback.
Shame they don’t do miniature cans of Febreeze isn’t it.
So there you have it. Enlightening, no?
Wolf doesn’t think we need a cleaner, I must stop trying so hard.