Darling columnist Kate Greenhalgh always has the last say.
One of the good things to come out of lockdown has been many parents’ chance to spend time with their older children. Normally, they’d be away at university, or out with friends, or backpacking in South America, or all those other things they come up with to avoid being at home with us boring old farts. Instead, we’ve had week after week of each other’s company. A golden opportunity for much wisdom to be imparted, which would otherwise have been lost. Thanks to lockdown, I am now fully woke about things I needed to be more woke about: eg the climate, inequality, veganism and Trump. Hand on heart, our children are quite right on all these issues and have triggered the necessary convulsions and clutching of pearl necklaces in us Boomers, as a catalyst for change.
After this latest humiliating period of reflection, our generation is coming to realise that being fine with women’s rights, gay rights, animal rights, and a complacent sense of racism not being as bad as it used to be, is just not good enough. We got there in 1990. Even the Daily Mail got there eventually. This is 2020. Another shove on is needed. And of course, statues of flabby blokes in knickerbockers who commissioned unspeakable cruelties on millions of fellow human beings should be helped swiftly off their pedestals. If not now, when? How about next Thursday, latest?
And so, wrapping my dignity around me like a slightly too-small bath towel, here is one thing I would say back. Go and clean your rooms. When did it happen that cleaning and tidying is infra-dig? Nearly every parent I speak to after lockdown is traumatised by how messy, mucky and un-houseproud their adult kids are, whilst also being snotty about their parents’ decision to employ a cleaner. It’s ok to self-privilege with Ubers and Deliveroos, but having that much-appreciated relationship with a cleaner is embarrassing. While we managed on our own, like we have during this of course, the house got dirtier and dirtier, the laundry and ironing piled up, there was a funny smell, and we struggled to keep up. (As for dusting!) It’s important, time-consuming, difficult work. But if you loftily disapprove of help, at least do it yourself and not leave 50 mouldy coffee cups, trails of crumbs, an unmade bed and a dirty bog-bowl in your wake, as you head off on a march. You are ruddy lucky to have a nice home. Respect it. (Actually, my own daughter who locked down with us is pretty clean and tidy, but that undermines my point.)
So – truce. Shall we all agree to clean up our acts?
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