Cleaning guilt


My husband does a lot of cleaning…I do not.

This is the pattern our relationship has pretty much followed, and although it drives him crazy, and sometimes he nags and nags at me to help out, which is fair enough although I maintain that we split chores pretty much equally in other ways.

Anyway the point of my tale is not our own domestic arrangements, but the peril of staying with your inlaws.  There’s no secret where the Turk gets his cleaning habits from, Mummy Turk  has been a housewife since around the age of 16 and between raising four kids spends the other hours in the day cleaning.  I’m limiting it to cleaning because I feel the Turks and me disagree on what tidying is (it’s actually putting stuff away not simply piling it all into a heap in a corner and then telling me that this is my pile to sort through…it’s definitely not tidying).

Mummy Turk cleans all the floors in their flat (on her hands and knees) every week, vacuuming is daily, windows at least once a week, curtains every month and all carpets are removable so that they can be sent to be cleaned twice a year (and after visitors).  It’s not just the family Turk, I think it’s all Turks….

Everything is ironed…everything (towels – why – it stops them being fluffy).  All white washing is bleached to ensure it stays white so that the neighbours are impressed when you hang them out of the window to dry (I’m not joking, this is the actual reason I was given).

Again I digress.  We always frequently stay with family when in Turkey and this leaves me with a dilemma, technically when we go to Turkey we are on our only ever holiday.  So, do I help with the cleaning?  Part of me feels I should – but she’d be cleaning anyway…

I guess we do cause more cleaning by the very nature of being there, but it is my HOLIDAY…

Just something I think about every so often!

Hooverman and the hiding of the stuff…


I don’t recall whether I’ve mentioned this before but I’m rather messy…

The Turk is a bit of a clean freak…

It’s an interesting combination.

Actually we’re a bit Jack Sprat-esque when it comes to cleaning, we don’t overlap in any area.  This all started when we first began living together, I was a student and often home during the day but out in the evening.  The Turk worked shifts at a coffee shop in Hampstead, let’s call it “Big [tax shame] Bucks” so would usually be out during the early morning/afternoon and back by evening.  I would do washing and clean our flat, vacuum etc and leave it as it was…usually with a pile of clothes on a chair somewhere.  I would frequently return from a friendly drink in a nearby tavern to find the Turk mid-hoover with a guilty look on his face…

Me: I hoovered today

The Turk: oh well it didn’t look like it had been done…

Me: Well I did it so there’s no point you doing it again.

The Turk: Well I’ll just finish shall I.

Me: Where’s my [insert very important item]?  I left it right here on the coffee table.

The Turk: I haven’t seen it.

Me: …did you hoover the coffee table?

The Turk: Yes, but I didn’t see it.

Around a week later I’d find my [insert name of important item] in a pile of everything that had been loose around the flat, somewhere random, ‘tidied away’.  You see our approach to cleaning is quite different:

  • I feel that the only thing that should be vacuumed is the floor, possibly the sofa if it’s very bad; the Turk vacuums everywhere;
  • To me tidying involves putting things back where they belong; the Turk thinks it’s just about putting them out of sight;
  • As long as it looks clean, I’m pretty happy; the Turk likes to clean then bleach just to be sure;
  • I like to sort laundry then wash it on an appropriate cycle; the Turk likes to put it all in in one go, on as high a temperature as possible, because it’s cleaner;
  • I’d rather do something else; the Turk would always prefer to be cleaning.

It’s a challenge, we rub along pretty well but cleaning is definitely a flash point giving rise to many arguments.  We reach a fairly even compromise by allocating roles, I do baby care, food and laundry.  The Turk does cleaning, washing up and vacuuming, I still nag about the length of time his tasks take, but his explaination is that this is simply because he does it ‘properly’.  However his lengthy sojourns with the Dyson did lead one of my friends to start using the nickname Hooverman, so I don’t think I’m completely unreasonable when I tell him to put the vacuum down and do something else.