Tuesday 1 December 2009

Top Tips and bad man-management

Right. It's Top Tip Time.

Here's the first; if you have a small child about you and want to get completely, utterly and totally into the Christmas spirit, wait until they're at school / asleep / on a visit to loving grandparents and wrecking their tree rather than your own, and visit this post at Sticky Fingers. Then follow the links to create a real live video message from Santa Claus to your tiny tot, to show them at some suitably festive moment. It works, I promise. Hell, it had me believing in him (and even tearing up, if I'm honest) and I was the one who typed in the information to create it.

And here's the second tip. Are you super savvy when it comes to caring for your home and running your family? I bet you are. I bet you have loads of money saving tips to pass on and share. My top tip, which I've written about before, is to make a meal plan and a list before I go to the supermarket. Oh, and not to take the Boys down the cereal aisle where they can get seduced by the free toys. I know - I'm a horrible, controlling mother. Especially since designing, manufacturing and distributing those very same toys was the best job I ever had...

Other than Motherhood, obviously. (Cue sickly sweet smile as I pick leek and potato soup off my cardigan).

Still, if you're not feeling particularly super or savvy this cold December day, there's always the supersavvyme website for back-up. In the interests of full disclosure, they hosted a fantastic blogger's meet-up for the British Mummy Bloggers at London Zoo on Sunday, not only providing yummy sandwiches and somewhere to shelter from the freezing wet weather, but giving us the rare and very welcome chance to chat face to face, which is why they're top of mind for me right now. Check out A Modern Mother's blog for photographic evidence of the event and proof that we do, indeed, exist in the flesh...

Right now though, there is one area of my life which I'm not feeling either super or savvy about. No top tips here - just a sad tale of bad management on my part.

Not long ago I wrote about my inability to deal with 'the cleaner'. Reading it back, I decided enough was enough, I was paying her good money - more in fact than the our previous, better cleaner - and the next week (when she grudgingly turned up on time and as agreed) I spoke to her about understanding that she had been ill but that I needed to be able to rely on her. I explained that since we were moving soon and would be showing the flat to potential tenants, it was important the place was kept reasonably clean and that obviously she could help me with that.

You would think that would be the end of the matter, right? That she would either accept those terms or say 'thanks, but I don't think it's working out, you need to find yourself someone else'?

But no.

Since then, she has been when she said she would, that's true. She has done a just about OK job, also true. Not a great job, as I still find cobwebs and dust in blindingly obvious places, but I can live with that.

What I hadn't reckoned on, however, was that in retaliation for the unwelcome news that she was expected to start earning her wage, she would start helping herself to my toiletries.


Time for a new cleaner, I think.


  1. It's posts like this that keep me from having a cleaner myself. My husband thanks you. ;-)

  2. Nice looking blog you have here. And yes, when the cleaner becomes more bother than help - time for the boot!

  3. We had a real problem with our cleaner here, she was taking money from the tin. Problem is that my boys love her son, (they are at the same nursery) and she had become a bit of a friend and I knew how desperate she was for money. We ended up not firing her (I was only 95% certain that the money pilferer was her) but had to put in a safe box, screwed into the drawers and when she is here all money is hidden away.

    I was so disappointed though. I really felt that she had let me down and I've never been able to see her in the same light since.

  4. Fire her and tell the agency, thereƤs no excuse for bad attitude and pilfering.

  5. Mwa - don't show him the post. And most of the cleaners we've had have been great. Never say never!

    EPM, thanks! And yes, I'm screwing my courage up to fire her when she comes tomorrow. Not looking forward to it.

    Brit, I remember that post. And it is disappointing, isn't it?

    Claire, if only she WAS through an agency. Then I could just get them to deal with it, like the brave person I am.

  6. I'm available, for a small transfer fee... And I've got more than enough toiletries to last, thank you.

  7. Definitely time for her to go.

    If you don't want to confront her you could always just say that you're leaving the UK earlier than expected so it's her last week this week.....

  8. Well, thanks for the Santa link, Potty.

    I made a video for daughter, but then couldn't show it to her because she had a friend playing, who STILL BELIEVES, and daughter doesn't, so I thought that could be a tricky situation. And now, next morning, the link doesn't work. So having sat daughter at the computer before school with excitement and anticipation, all she got was "This link doesn't work", and then I had to get her ready for school and bundle her off. If she knew the words "pissed off", she'd have used them.

    Plus, older son was doing homework on the computer, and got very distracted, and ended up making 3 Santa videos for members of the family. All the while, I was saying things like "what about this email from your maths teacher, saying that you haven't quite caught up all the assignments you missed when we were on holiday?". I went out for the evening with my book club (evening out alert! evening out alert!), and when I came back, he was still struggling with his homework (since he'd done more Santa videoing than math while I'd been gone), so I then had to sit down and start googling "irrational numbers" and "integers" in order to help him do the last bit, mumbling things like "didn't they teach you this in class?" which rather took the shine off the Evening Out glow.

    So thanks, Potty. I'm holding you personally responsible for it all.

  9. I've had the cleaners from hell - one started to turn up at 7am I kid you not even though I could not pay her. I couldn't get rid of her it was awful. Everywhere I turned she was there then one day her husband turned up with a note saying she couldn't work for me anymore completely out of the blue just three days before I was due to give birth!
    Top tip - bye bye cleaner!

  10. TD, unfortunately I think we're outside your catchment area - but thanks for the offer, in any case!

    NVG, thankyou, EXCELLENT idea. I'll do that.

    Iota, I'm sorry. Would you like me to put a health warning on the new blog?

    TW, OK, so it could get worse. (7am? SEVEN AM?) But yes, bye bye cleaner...

  11. Oh my, how did it go? I've only had good luck with cleaners I'm happy to say...


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