I do. I really do. I do it – because I hate living in a mess – but I hate housework.

“Get a cleaner”, a few have said. I’m torn. Is that money well spent? In my case, I’m not so sure. $50 dollars a week amounts to $2500 a year. That’s a modest family holiday.

But something far more fundamental comes to mind. The house is a communal space. We all have to share it, respect it, and look after it. Together. We all have to take responsibility.

Obviously there is the first and foremost expectation of any household – if you make a mess, clean it up. Granted.

However, helping one another out may not come so naturally and it is my duty to teach my children – as a family, this is how we interact. If the kitchen table needs wiping, then wipe it. I don’t want to hear “I didn’t make all the mess”. That may be true but it’s beside the point. If everyone in the household pitched in and helped out then keeping tabs and scorecards on who made what mess where and who cleaned it up won’t be necessary. Is that unreasonable?

Having said that, the proper question is not where it is reasonable or not, but whether it is feasible or not?

If I had a cleaner, then I worry that the kids will become accustomed to having someone else come in and clean their mess. I would hate it if they thought ‘well if I leave it there long enough….’ That screams selfish brat to me.

I know I’ve paid my dues when it comes to housekeeping. I know what it takes to keep a clean house and clean clothes surely I can be afforded some respite. Maybe I can. But my kids can’t. I haven’t taught them yet. Or more to the point – they haven’t learnt yet.

Whether or not I’ve paid my dues became irrelevant the day I became a parent. Parenting is full of sacrifice and this is just another one.

My kids are going to grow up and move out. Most probably share a house with a few friends before they settle down into their own homes. They need to learn how to live in a house with other people and not be consumed with just themselves and their universe.

And before anyone says to me, housework is not that important. I beg to differ.
It’s not so much the housework per se, but what you learn about living together with other people that’s important. It’s not uncommon for friendships to suffer because of a dirty dish and a wet towel.

And yes, perhaps this is a life lesson my children will have to learn through trial and error, but why not try to teach our kids these things before they leave home. Isn’t that our job; to try and prepare them as best we can for the big bad world?

So no, I can’t have a cleaner. I need to teach my kids and what better learning ground than home.

This post was first published on my other Mum’s Word blog “I Hate Housework”

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