A home clean as my conscience


I've always been one of those who believe if you want a job done well, do it yourself. A type-A personality who struggles to delegate, I suspect even as a baby I was swatting away my mother's hand and insisting on pinning up my own nappies in the interests of ensuring they were done up right.

I have been a control freak devoid of any ability to share responsibilities since I was born and set my nap times. As a child this quality was admired and school reports waxed lyrical about my independence and ability to lead.

It all started unravelling at about 17. Director of my school's Young Enterprise team, I fired the entire board, convinced no one could do anything quite so well as I could, and consequently I spent a bitter fortnight mixing and bagging compost (our product) in between writing annual reports, developing a marketing strategy and being chief of an extremely busy sales and distribution team comprising me, myself and I.

The compost didn't work so well: It didn't win me many friends and certainly didn't earn me my first million, but there was one seed planted then that has grown and flourished into one of my most valuable personal lessons: You can't do everything on your own, and sometimes others can even do things better.

Cleaning my house is one of them.

As a wedding photographer I spend the better half of every year in a state of chaos, and as a result so does my house.

Dust swirls around the polished wood floors and if I squint I swear sometimes I can even see tumbleweed rolling slowly down the hallway on the odd occasion when I am there to observe it.

I spend most of my rare days off work wearing rubber gloves and poking a duster into dark, forgotten corners.

People have told me repeatedly that I need to get a cleaner but my inability to delegate combined with the white middle-class guilt of employing someone else to clean my toilet and fold my clothes simply wouldn't wear it. Till now.

Last week my new cleaner arrived and I swear to me it was like the second coming of Christ.

She arrived with a mop, a bucket, a 100-watt smile and projecting all sorts of mixed metaphors and synonyms from knight in shining armour, to my saviour, my Prince Charming and without doubt, my hero.

Despite having had a busy half-hour cleaning up the place prior to her arrival (first impressions are everything, right?), I still couldn't plug the apologies that kept coming out as I showed her around and noticed for the first time how badly I needed her help.

I left her wielding a vacuum with intent while I scurried to work wracked with guilt and overwhelmed with anxiety about letting someone else do a job I've always done myself.

But like the weeks' worth of filth, this was washed away the moment I walked through the door and had a sensory overload, taking in the sights and smells of my sparkling home.

I had an epiphany: I take photos. That's what I'm good at. That's what I do. And from now on, that's all I do. Everything else can be out-sourced.

The guilt of getting someone else to clean my home was far outweighed by the knowledge that I could now, quite possibly, eat my dinner off the floor of it. Except that would require cooking, which I'm not so good at. Which got me thinking ... there's always delivery.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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