That prams and art are not mutually exclusive.

Lessons in being a grown up #1: oven cleaning

This week I cleaned the oven, inside and out. I have even replaced the bulb in the oven so we can check if dinner is burnt cooked without opening the door. I think that makes me eligible for some kind of award? An award with a shiny trophy and the right to never have to clean the oven ever again? Historically, I only clean the oven when I am nesting, during that hormonal pregnant frenzy where no surface of the house is safe from my sponge and me. I can guarantee you I’m not pregnant, therefore this crazy spring cleaning can only mean one thing: I am officially a Grown Up.

I moved out of home when I was 19 into a small, poorly insulated 3-bedroom brick veneer down the road from uni, shared with my then boyfriend and a male friend. The boyfriend at the time was a strong contender for The Laziest Man on Earth. When we ended our lease, cleaning the house for the final inspection became my responsibility. He would have happily forgone our bond to escape the chore of cleaning. (NB: while lazy, he was incredibly smart. In hindsight, he may have been on to something).

By this stage of living out of home, I had a handle on laundry, cooking and grocery shopping. I didn’t mind vacuuming, even occasional ironing for job interviews. But cleaning the oven: who does this? Could we just put it out on the curb as hard rubbish and buy a clean one? Who designs such a big, vital household appliance and then neglects to protect it from baked-on-muck anyway? Shouldn’t it be made of gunk repellant titanium or something? It seemed like poor design, if not downright irresponsible.

It took me 2 hours and several sponges to clean that thing, and I planned to avoid a repeat performance in the future. The plan involved lots of one-pot meals, and NO MORE OVENS.

Not so easy to avoid the oven with a family (yes, I tried). During the cooler months, our oven has a daily workout. The oven has often been my second-in-charge during dinner times where everyone is tired and hungry, and Mr Karen is not yet home.

My biggest beef with cleaning the oven, aside from fumes and protective gear, is that even if you start with some enthusiasm, after coating the inside with foam it then sits there overnight. And just as the thick foam thins out and loses its volume over the course of the night, so too does my interest in finishing the job. Let’s face it, spraying foam isn’t exactly rocket science. It’s actually quite fun, sanctioned grown up mess making. Once the foam is on, you can close the oven door and forget about it until tomorrow. This is my kind of job. I am very good at putting jobs off until tomorrow. Hooray for mess making and door closing.

But then tomorrow comes, and the dinner rush is approaching. You can’t just leave it for mum to finish it because … well, you are mum.

Several sponges and a soft tissue injury later, and the oven is sparkling. That’ll teach me to leave my spring-cleaning until February.

{Image credit}

What was your first (or worst) lesson in being a grown up? Are you a grown up, or just a kid with too many responsibilities?

15 Responses to “Lessons in being a grown up #1: oven cleaning”

  1. In The Meantime

    1. You deserve a very large shiny trophy
    2. I’m a ‘hard rubbish’ oven cleaner – aka: buy a new one
    3. Can so relate to the thrill of the decision, spraying the foam, close the door – and sleep on it until you decide to roast something and THEN remember the toxic chemicals that can no longer be forgotten (days might have passed and truly I’d forgotten – so had my enthusiasm)
    4. Self cleaning ovens are manufactured but when it comes to purchase time the damn thing has to fill a hole of a certain size, makes for few options if any. (so wrong!)
    5. Having a clean oven equals the delight of a freshly painted room. (almost)
    6. My mother paid us kids to clean the oven. Offer only taken because of monetary greed.
    7. Natural ‘green’ cleaners Do Not Work on point #2 ovens – too little too late. All that is achieved is a whole lot of baking soda and vinegar that needs wiping up, should have started with that toxic spray to save myself a step.
    8. Oven cleaning should be a man’s job – they take out the rubbish bins don’t they?
    Good girl, refer to point #1.

  2. Jodie at Mummy Mayhem

    You know, sometimes I still don’t feel very grown up.

    Complete, honest truth – on Tuesday arvo I was walking to swimming lessons, looking at my big boys walking in front of me, and I suddenly thought, ‘Wow. I’m a mum.’

    Took me almost 9 years for that to sink in. 😉

    As for the oven – I have a lovely man that comes once a year and gives it such a good clean, you’d think it was brand new. Really. It’s amazing! Expensive…but worth every penny! x

  3. Louisa

    I am not very happy with you writing this post. You’ve reminded me that I’ve had the oven cleaner stuff in the cupboard for almost 6 months and that it’s still upopened. *sigh*

    Seriously though, great post 🙂

  4. Bree DeRoche

    “Could we just put it out on the curb as hard rubbish and buy a clean one?” – ha ha ha. Once again, I totally identify. I haven’t cleaned my oven in 5 years. Don’t tell anyone. (Mind you, I use a drip trap at the bottom and go through hefty rolls of foil in order to catch all spillage and avoid cleaning the freakin thing.)

  5. Lucy

    We have moved so often I usually get the final exiti clean person to do the oven.

    But now we are settled.

    We renovated the kitchen 18 months ago, and replaced the oven.

    It scares me.

    My solution was to buy a Weber and let lovely hussband cook all oven type meals….

  6. Jodie

    My absolute worst chore is cleaning the oven too. I am lucky we had a new oven when our house was done 2 years ago, so it’s quite easy to keep it reasonably clean. My mum has always claimed there is a business opportunity in cleaning ovens (namely because it’s the one thing she hates to do too). Ironing is my next pet hate. I used to iron for money from the age of 15 to about 20. A few years back I found one of the loves of my life “Nick the Greek Ironing Man”, he picks up Monday morning and returns Tues mornings, all for $10 hour (cash of course). One of my girl friends uses him too and one day had to pick up from his address. She stumbled into a garage full of Greek Nonnas ironing and chatting away. What surprised me was I am informed they all used normal irons and not those quick steamy flat press style ones. As soon as I go back to work next month, I am re-aquainting myself with Nick. Oh how I have missed him. Funny how on maternity leave I have managed to only use cloths I can “press” flat with my hands. My iron has been out only one in over a year!

    • the rhythm method

      I should get Nick’s name, Mr Karen works near you and farms his ironing out too to some lady near the railway station.
      I haven’t ironed since I fell pregnant with Boy 3. Something had to give and Mr Karen was happy to pay someone to deal with his business shirts. Everything else pretty much gets pressed flat as its folded.

  7. Fearful Girl

    CLEAN my oven? Ha ha ha! A few months ago, I found a neglected eggplant dish in there, but only after I sniffed down the rotting animal smell for 3 days beforehand. Sad thing was, we hadn’t had eggplant in months …

    While it’s true that I’m a long, long way from growing up, I learned to live with no oven on the boat and rarely cook with one (or open it up to discover rotting eggplant, as you can tell). We still don’t have a microwave.

  8. Maxabella

    I never clean my oven. I think I’ve cleaned an oven once in the 22 years I’ve lived out of home. I’m dirty like that.* Obviously not very grown up!!!


    PS – not as bad as you’d think… have you heard of the Oven Fairy. I just pay them. x

  9. stellaorbit

    Last time our oven was cleaned, the cleaner did it. I had a pang of green guilt about the toxicity of the fumes emanating from it afterward but it was so bloody clean you could, well, cook your dinner in it.

    It is like your mother told you though, clean as you go. Longer it goes, tougher it is.
    Love the picture for this post – love how ‘stacked’ it all is!


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