My mum will be going on holiday for a whole 5 weeks on Saturday. With her gone, as the eldest child, I will essentially be the ruler of the house. My sister – three years my junior – is more housekeeping-responsible. She knows when it’s the right time to have dinner (not when you’re simply hungry), when the little ones need to get to bed (apparently not when they’re sleepy) and how often to clean the bathroom (when it looks dirty should be replaced with a wipe down every night and a more thorough clean every week). So when my mum last went on holiday, the house was still standing and – more importantly to my mum – clean. This time, my sister is going with her, so it’s time for me to step up.
Now, this doesn’t sound like that hard a task. I am 23 years old, I have lived out for a few months here and there and travel around (the UK – not the world as I would wish) a lot. So I know how to look after myself. Unfortunately, looking after oneself isn’t the same as looking after a house.
I can cope with little tasks that I already do now – doing the dishes, ironing, making my bed. But as my mum and sister rolled off chore after chore I would not be responsible for, I realised I am not quite cut out to be a domestic queen.
For one thing, I can barely cook. Don’t get me wrong – I can cook. I can make pasta, and sardines, and bake ready made pizzas in the oven. But I can’t cook curries (I only tried to make chicken for the first time 2 weeks ago). And that, to my mum and all my aunties, means I can’t cook.
Hoovering gives me back pain. Seriously! Our hoover weighs a tonne and whilst lugging it around I need to take regular breaks. Now you’re probably thinking I live in a mansion or have a super old model. No our model is one of the best – the strong suction is what makes it worse, and we live in a tiny one-floored flat. I don’t think I have the build required for it.
I don’t know where things are stored in the freezers (yes we, like many bengali families own 2 freezers), I’ve never used the washing machine, and I didn’t know just how many tasks mum does before she leaves the house every morning.
Still, I see this as an opportunity to build myself. I just hope the house is still standing – and clean – when mum gets back.