It happened again today. I was called downstairs around 9pm and shown some juice stains on the floor. "I know it's late and that this is a bit anal, but I pay a cleaner and I don't want to come home to a dirty kitchen," said my employer. "You have GOT to make sure that the place is spic and span after the kids' tea time."
I admit, I was caught off-guard. I thought of the countless number of times I have cleaned up in the past 3 months, both on weekdays..... and many weekend mornings too, when I am not paid to do it, just because I wanted to make their weekends a little easy. I thought how the kids would always ask me to make their tea and breakfast even during weekends, when I'm not working and how I gladly obliged them.
I thought of the way I spend a pound every week to get sweeties for them because they always ask me what I have got for them when I come home from a sunday outing. I thought of the times I went without dinner because her husband would come in from work just when I was about to eat and express interest in the food and I would have no choice but to offer my share.
Lastly, I thought of how my legs would ache after I run around every day, making dinner for three hungry kids and tidying up the kitchen as much as I could possibly do while helping them do their homework.
And I have to confess that I almost lost my temper.
But if my employer was anal about cleanliness, I'm anal about confrontations. I just gritted my teeth, smiled and told her, "Sure, I will clean it up tomorrow."
I realise now that what I should have said is, "I always tidy up everyday after tea time EVERY SINGLE DAY, but if the kids make a mess in the kitchen AFTER I retire to my room, there isn't much I can do."
Well, I will save it for another day. I really don't understand... How can a juice stain on the floor on the DINING ROOM mean a dirty kitchen? How can any one hope for a spic and span kitchen all the time when there are 3 children in the house?
And - this is a same-side goal, I know - WHY is it that one doesn't find any pleasure in routine compliments but gets upset on an occasional criticism? Yes, my employers have told me frequently that I'm doing a great job with the kids, and till now, all their (polite) complaints have been on the housekeeping part of mine.
But this is the best I can do! Seriously! I have never cleaned up so religiously in my entire life!