Tuesday, 4 May 2010

You just can't get (away from) the staff

I read with interest about Victoria Beckham's army of staff, but rather than feel scorn for poor Posh Spice, I actually feel sorry for her. You see I also employ staff to help me run my busy life. OK, rather less than 10 people and I have no need for security, but I still employ a part time nanny, a cleaner and a gardener. Does that make me a spoilt madam? Or just a busy working mum who hasn't the time or, I will admit it, the inclination, to spend my down time scrubbing the loo or mowing the lawn.

My nanny is a necessity as anyone who has ever tried to work from home without one will tell you. There is no way I could do my job without someone to care for the boys while I do it. We could argue the pros and cons of working mums, but if you do work you need childcare, and if you have twins, plus two older boys, a nanny is actually the most cost effective care you can get.

So now that I have got my chippy justifications out of the way, I will move onto the crux of my post, which is the fact that feel sorry for VB as her house must be constantly teeming with staff. If she is anything like me, while she may rely on their help to allow her to care for her children and pursue a career, but she may also resent their constant presence in her home. My nanny is lovely, but she is also always in my house. I will disappear upstairs to eat a sandwich at my desk, rather than invade her space. She has the run of my house, while I am locked up in my study.

The reason I tolerate this is because it is better for my boys this way. If I were to constantly be around and yet unavailable, they would become disturbed and upset. But if I am out of sight, out of mind, they are happier and bond better with their nanny. I have learned this over many years of working from home with children.

My cleaner comes twice a week and turns the house upside down. If by some miracle all the boys and the nanny are out, then you can guarantee that the cleaner will be in. She has a special skill of managing to be in every room of the house at once. I can't sit in peace in my living room, as she will soon bustle in with a hoover and start lifting up the furniture. Of course I would far rather this than have to do the cleaning myself, but I do feel displaced by her presence and once again find myself ensconced in my little office with all escape routes barred.

The only day I have alone with my children is Friday, when I don't work. I tend to find that I spend much of it catching up on those household chores that I don't pay someone else to do, but I cannot tell you how much I savour the hour or so during the twins' nap when the house is silent, and effectively empty, and I am on my own, alone, with no one else in my space.

So this is why I pity poor Posh, for she must never have that solitary moment of silence, when her home is her castle, when there is no PA or florist bustling around her, when her kitchen is free from its chefs and bottlewashers. I am sure that just like me she wouldn't prefer to do all her dirty work herself, after all why would she when she can afford to get someone else to do it for her? But sometimes I suspect that she too might long for a few moments of precious alone time and that is why I can find a shred of sympathy in my heart for the privileged Posh.


  1. I would hate to have a live in nanny; I feel slightly on edge even when the babysitter comes round! My cleaner though is a different matter - I am so grateful for her that she could dance on the dining room table with a rose between her teeth and I probably wouldn't mind. As long as I don't have to scrub any loos or do the ironing.

  2. I had a cleaner when we had the cash and it was wonderful, she was great and I was free to spend time with my boys. I hate cleaning, but I hate a dirty house more

  3. I don't think it makes you spoilt at all! I would definitely have a cleaner if I could afford one, and a nanny too, although with not-so-small children anymore I don't think a nanny would be really justified :-)

  4. NVG, yes I do love my cleaner, but I still get annoyed when she manages to be halfway through cleaning every room in the house. She used to come when the boys were out, but now they are never out so she has to clean around them which I think is part of the problem.

    TMH - Oh yes, if I didn't have a cleaner I would spend ages cleaning the house, which is why I always say that she would be the last thing to go if money got tight.

    SSM - Thank you for the voice of support. I do sometimes think, God what a lazy cow I am, but then as a friend said to me today "You work virtually full time and have four kids, don't worry about it". Perhaps I should take her advice.

  5. i do admire you, putting your boys first and sacrificing your house, and personal space to someone else. even when i worked full time i just couldn't entertain the thught of having someone else in my house. i am such a private person, and covet my time on my own.


  6. But I imagine Posh has a house considerably bigger than yours (making lots of assumptions here...). She can probably hide out in the west wing, in her own personal "don't disturb" suite, while the rest of the house hums with activity.

    Ha ha ha, the word verification was holacres (whole acres, geddit? geddit?)