I’m not going to clean my children’s house!

I’m on my weekly trip to the city for work, and staying at my kids’ place again.

It always brings up mixed feelings when I’m here. I miss my kids now that I’ve moved out of home, and still feel a bit guilty for leaving them to fend for themselves. I’m sure a good mother would never have done that. I also miss being right next to the beach and near my friends. Now that I’ve moved out there’s no more calling on the spur of the moment and organising to meet at the beach or the pub.

On the other hand there are reasons I’m glad I moved – apart from being with Doc that is. I still hate Sydney traffic, crowds and noise.

And I don’t miss the mess of living with teenagers (although they’re all out of their teens now).

I never did the squalid student digs type of living. Even at 16 when I first moved out of home I liked my house to be clean and tidy. When I lived in a share house I made a deal where my flatmates paid more rent and I did the cleaning.

Yes, I know I’m anal. But I like clean, and I like things done properly (remember the washing powder incident?).

The kids place isn’t too bad – well except for the bathroom (always) and the kitchen (mostly). For kids on their own for the first time they’re doing all right. A lot better than some I’ve seen.

I used to be friends with a couple who prided themselves on putting their children and family time before housework. They always used to say “we want people to feel comfortable, not like they can’t touch anything or can’t relax”.

Except I never could relax.

I always wanted to get up and start cleaning – and I mean cleaning, not just tidying up.

Prioritising family is one thing, but when your guests want to vacuum the balls of dog and cat hair off the lounge and pick up all the old bits of food that’s made its way between the cushions before they sit down, then you might have a problem.

I’m sure one of the reasons I don’t get asked over there any more is that I always washed my cup before I had a cup of coffee. You can imagine what I was like in the bathroom!

But I’m getting better, at least at other people’s houses. Despite the temptations I don’t do the cleaning at my kids place. Not even the washing up.

I may be anal, but I’m not stupid!

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