Disillusioned Parents: The Myth About Tidy Children
Do you fit into the above category? Have you also experienced the abject filth that your once cherubic son or daughter finds acceptable to live in? Well I definitely have!
Am I to blame? Did I do too much? Clearly, I did. Like many parents, there are mixed feelings when the children finally fly the nest and head off to university, college, or maybe their first job. The first experience of living alone or in a shared rented flat. All very exciting, although generally rather costly for the parents.
Oh, it was lovely when my eldest son left home and moved into a flat in Glasgow. I thought I had brought him up quite well and that he would understand the basic concept of cleaning and removing rubbish. The notion of heating and ventilating a flat, particularly a bedroom where our supposed grownups spend the majority of their time, is a totally alien concept. Spending money on heating would affect the beer supply money after all!
So, as you can imagine it was with some trepidation that I climbed the stairs to my son’s five bedroom shared flat for coffee. Let me be clear this happened once and once only. Thereafter Costa, and any other coffee shops available, became the desired meeting place.
Where do I begin to describe the issues that I was met with? Everything that I had taught him and all advice given over the years had fallen on deaf ears. Yes, I was that disappointed parent.
So, in order to try and obtain some semblance of order in the flat, I emailed the following advice to him. I was more than happy for this to be shared with his four flatmates too. Here is an edited version that hopefully will be helpful to young people moving into their first flat (shared or otherwise) and their parents. The original version was not quite as polite.
General rules: Little and often
- The dishes will not wash themselves and the longer you leave them, the longer it will take.
- The smell in the fridge is generally due to an out of date food item. Best removed.
- The smoke billowing from the oven and setting off the smoke detectors when heating your pizza, is probably due to the copious amount of burnt food lying on the base of the oven.
- Jamming the bin full to the brim will generally result in the bag bursting open on removal. Storing the rubbish in bags in the kitchen for days or weeks on end is the cause of the bugs crawling around.
- Towels do not dry on the floor.
- Towels need washed.
- Toilets need cleaned. Bleach is cheap and does the job.
- The mould on the sealant and tiles is because a cleaning product has not been near them for six months.
- The window or fan is there for a reason. Use them.
- Clothes need to be gathered at least once a week and transported to the washing machine. Top tips: once machine has completed cycle, remove, shake and hang up. Cuts down on the ironing. Do not leave wet washing in the machine for days on end. You will need to start again.
- When drying clothes, do not hang them directly over radiators. Not only is this a potential fire hazard but creates condensation. The room needs ventilated. The damp Scottish climate requires heat and ventilation. Open the windows now and again. Allow the air to circulate. If you follow this advice you will not be complaining of mould on the walls etc.
- Remove dirty dishes and food stuffs. This is one of the reasons the room stinks.
The above advice is a very basic guide to living however it covers the main issues.
My eldest son has improved, however he generally reverts to form on his visits home. Don’t even start me on my youngest son…