As a single mummy I spend a lot of time tidying things. Not cleaning so much – I don’t really like chores that involve getting my hands wet – but that general sorting and moving piles of things around the house.
It drives me absolutely mad.
It’s not that I don’t like tidying, or even than I have a low tolerance for mess, it’s just that I can’t bear picking up other people’s stuff, over and over and over again. I could have a room full of my own crap and then Belle will leave a nail varnish on the table and I want to scream.
Things I cannot bear:
- Clothes left on the bathroom floor
- Empty cups left anywhere at all
- Things generally got out, played with, and then just left wherever they are
- Fruit yo-yo wrappers left on the sofa when the bin is right there for Christ’s sake
As you can see, the theme is generally stuff left places.
I don’t even think it’s the stuff itself, as my own gubbins doesn’t bother me so much, it’s the expectation that stuff left will just miraculously be tidied up by some sort of housefairy with nothing better to do that flutter around the house tidying up after people.
It’s not even that I haven’t made my feelings clear. “This isn’t some sort of bloody cafe,” I will spit harshly at Belle as she wanders away from yet another empty cereal bowl, yet my bitter remonstrations appear to fall on deaf ears.
“These Sylvanians need to go up to your bedroom,” I ask, calmly.
A day will pass. A pale brown bear in a beekeeper’s outfit stares mockingly at me from the kitchen counter, surrounded by miniature jars of honey.
“These Sylvanians are still here.” 24 more hours tick round the clock. I could take them upstairs myself, but then Belle will win.
“Please can you take these Sylvanians upstairs,” I ask again, a slightly manic edge in my voice.
“Yes!” Belle will reply. “You don’t need to go on about it.”
Another day passes and the beekeeper continues to stare. I know he is laughing inside his plastic, furry body. In my head it’s the beekeeper’s fault when I snap.
“TAKE THESE BLOODY SYLVANIANS UPSTAIRS BEFORE I TAKE THIS BEEKEEPER OUTSIDE AND INTRODUCE HIM TO SOME ACTUAL BEES!”
“God,” says Belle, stomping up the stairs with the beekeeper as loudly as is physically possible, “you only had to ask.”