Mondays are lovely. I know that goes against popular views, but in my world Mondays are fab. Because on Monday the cleaner comes. Yes, I have a cleaner. I will give up many, many things in life if it means that once a week someone can spend three hours cleaning the house. (Given we rarely go out to eat and I don't own fashionable clothes or shoes or even knickers without holes in them, I feel justified in this one little extravagance.)
It's not that I hate cleaning (although admittedly it's not high on my list of extra-fun things to do) because it can give you a small sense of satsifaction when you've got the place gleaming. What I hate, however, is how quickly the house goes from sparkling to filth in a matter of seconds, courtesy of two small boys who seem to carry sand in their shoes and cornflakes in their pockets. It's the sheer groundhog-day-repetition of it all that does my head in.
Which is why I don't do it. I have a lovely Romanian lady called Erika who comes along on a Monday and calmly sweeps up a week's worth of congealed noodles, cereal and squashed peas out from under the kids table. She gets the kitchen surfaces to gleam like only she and my husband are able to do (he's part Polish so maybe getting granite to glisten is an Eastern European special skill). She even manages to get the limescale marks off the shower door - using nothing but lemon juice I might add. She and I have interesting conversations where she tries to explain what she needs me to buy and I try to guess and use overly large hand movements in a bid to demonstrate dettol wipes.
But what poor Erika doesn't know is that a few short hours after she's left the house smelling lovely, two small boys return home from nursery dragging with them tons of glitter-covered art, a quiver of assorted sticks, several small stones and sand. Always sand.
And then, like today, we have to whip up a lemon drizzle cake for the school sports day tomorrow, so that involves full body contact baking, resulting in flour, castor sugar and butter strewn across all kitchen surfaces, so that their irridescent gleam is but a distant memory.
I will spend the next week grimacing as things stick to the bottom of my feet and may have to get the hoover out mid-week for an emergency clean - usually once a bowl of cereal has been upturned on the sofa - but then Monday rolls around again and for a few short hours, I live in a sanitary environment.
Anyway, I'm off to make more mess in the kitchen while I whip up my dinner.
P.S. As mentioned, tomorrow is sports day and leaver's ceremony at the pre-school. That means I will have to somehow convince child number 1 that he should take part even though there will be many people watching and that when they call his name out to get his certificate, he won't actually spontaneously combust if he has to stand up and go get it with all eyes on him. I fear I'm not going to be successful.