I haven’t got time to wipe skirting boards with a sock

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It’s an old men’s tale that if a woman gets a cleaner, then she has to do some cleaning before that person even gets through the door. As in she is not prepared to let a stranger see the real vile, disgusting, dusty mess that her house has become.

Yeah right, what do men know? This was, I am pretty sure, in an episode of either Terry and June or that rotten show with Hyacinth Bucket (also pronounced as Bouquet) in and now all women have to live with the joke. But it’s not true or funny.

I’ve now employed a cleaner to come in once a week as I reckon I’m simply too busy to keep the house looking like I think it should.

When I was a stay-at-home mum, it didn’t bother me so much. When taking a load of washing to the laundry bin, I’d happily wipe the skirting boards with someone’s dirty sock to get rid of some of the dust.

It wasn’t planned, just an as-and-when business. A wool scarf needs a wash? Well, I’ll just dust the mirrors with it first and get full value from my box of Surf powder.

Don’t try and deny that you’ve ever done this. We all have. But I digress.

You see, times have changed in the Compton household. Now I’m working full-time and in angry mother mode of an evening, I don’t even have the luxury of swanning around the house with a pair of scrawny pants.

The children – and indeed the husband – are all of an age when they can tidy up (to an extent) after themselves, while I try to get organised for the next day.

Batting away spiders’ webs with school trousers or mopping up the fluff that gathers in the corners of rooms with a towel that’s ready for the wash just doesn’t feature on my to-do list any more.

So a cleaner it is – and I would like to state here and now that women do TIDY for their cleaners, but not CLEAN. There’s a difference.

My reasoning is simple. Finding the skirting boards behind 16 pairs of wellies takes time away from polishing them.

Now, if I can capture and tame the kitchen poltergeist who spring-loads the cupboards with saucepans and sieves to jump out at me every time I open a door, I’ll be serene.