I’m on a mission to get them to Mars

Romantic - Saddam Hussein

CLIVE SMITH: Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn about Valentine’s Day

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I’m ashamed to admit that before I moved in with my girlfriend Serena almost 10 years ago, when I had just said goodbye to my teenage years, I wasn’t the tidiest person in the world.

In fact I probably wasn’t the only form of life in my Copnor bedroom.

There were various types of mould and fungus growing at the bottom of several cups and bowls until I would finally get round to delivering them to the kitchen sink.

Disgusting I know. But then I met Serena, who can spot a particle of dust from a mile away and will make it her mission to blast it with some sort of cleaning substance to banish it from human contact forever.

Most days in the Hayden household will include that whirring sound 
of a vacuum cleaner and that fresh smell of polish with surfaces so shiny they wink at you as you walk past them.

The good thing is, over the years this obsession with cleanliness has rubbed off on me and Serena isn’t the only one who has a daily dance up and down the stairs with the Hoover.

So the chores in this house are split 50/50.

Okay, if I’m being totally honest maybe 70/30 might be more accurate – I’ll never reach Serena’s level of cleanliness.

But if you arrived at my house unannounced there’s a chance I’d be elbow deep in Fairy Liquid or I’d have my hands full with polish in one hand and a duster in the other.

Of course most of the time the mess has been created by the two little humans I call my daughters.

I seem to be cleaning up after them every single minute of the day, even long after they’ve been tucked up in bed and have arrived in the land of nod.

But apparently by letting myself loose on the laundry, I’m doing far more than just creating a tidy and clean environment to live in, I’m 
actually shaping my daughters’ futures.

Researchers recently found that fathers who performed household chores were more likely to have daughters who aspired to less traditionally feminine occupations, such as astronaut, marine biologist and geologist.

In contrast, fathers who believed in gender equality and yet left most of the housework to mothers had 
daughters who favoured more traditionally feminine careers, such as nurse, librarian and stay-at-home mum.

So it’s all down to me whether my daughters will be stamping out books in a library or stamping their space boots on Mars.

Personally, I quite fancy a trip to NASA Headquarters in Washington DC.

Anyway, I must stop writing, I’ve got housework to do.