It is entirely possible to be a neat freak AND be a Childminder. Sounds impossible doesn’t it? – unlikely in the very least – but it isn’t. My friends were all shocked when I told them I was leaving my job to become a Childminder. Me, who has to have everything ‘Monica clean’. Me who wipes over my hoover, hose and attachments after every use. Me who cleans my cleaning fluid bottles. Me who will only hang whites on the garden washing line and only with matching pegs. I even needed advice once when I couldn’t decide whether a white patterned dress counted as a white or a colour.
But kids like tidying up and sorting, well, most do so that keeps the mess and clutter down for starters. Some even like cleaning. Not that I have them mopping floors and scrubbing walls but you know how kids like to imitate the things we do, wiping the table after lunch and sweeping up crumbs. My own son did that and much, much more from a very young age – you know – me preparing him for being an adult. He’s got all the skills he needs for independent living: cooking, cleaning, shopping, ironing, managing a budget, DIY, maintaining a car. I’ve even managed to brainwash him into adding fruit or veg to every single meal he eats. Oh…I done good.
So how come he’s still grown into a teen who dodges everyday chores at every possibility? (Steve Biddulph – where did I go wrong???) I can’t even get him to do stuff for a fee these days. What’s a fiver for washing the car when he’s got his own 10% deposit in the bank for his first starter home? You know what I think though? I think his own home will be a little palace. I bet he throws a coaster down before my cup even leaves my lips and whisks my plate and cutlery away as soon as I’ve eaten my last morsel. (Coz he’ll invite us round for tea quite often, I know he will).
It’s all about the storage and the resources. Anybody visiting me at my home outside of childminding hours would never know that I’m a Childminder. Not one poster or window sticker or crammed bookcase in sight. I have to fake that lived-in look with fake clutter wallpaper.
And I have a box for everything. I have boxes for boxes me. I’ve got this out-of-sight-out-of-mind-work-life-balance thing totally down. And unlike Monica, I don’t have a ‘messy closet’ either. Nope, that’s what industrial storage containers are for. (Out of sight, out of mind, 5 minutes drive away. Absolutely noooo fear of clutter round here). So, I might clean the toilet seat, handle and floor with an antibacterial wipe every time a child uses the loo and spray all in one disinfectant on every surface en route but I’m completely at peace with buckets and sand and blocks all over the place. See, neat freaks like me really can be Childminders.