A couple from Wolverhampton are recommending that more parents try to convince their children to look after their home as if it wasn't their own, saying they are 'genuinely surprised' at the results.
Mick Tobin says that the experience was completely at odds with his expectations. 'Loads of my mates used to tell me these horror stories about their older kids treating their home like a hotel,' he said. 'When I mentioned it to the missus she pointed out that nobody we know treats a hotel like that.'
Cheryl Tobin is full of praise for her son, Gavin. 'It's been lovely living with him since the change in arrangements. He always comes down to breakfast showered, shaved and fully clothed for starters,' she said. 'He waits patiently whilst his food order is prepared and then always leaves quietly for college or an evening out. We've put up a large notice on the inside of the front door saying that it will be locked at 11pm sharp and so far he's not missed the curfew once.'
Cheryl has discovered the occasional downside to the arrangement. 'He did insist that he should have a double room with en suite, so we've had to give up the master bedroom which is a bit of a blow,' she said. 'Plus getting hold of enough of those little bottles of shampoo and shower gel can be awkward as he seems to use them up every day, though lord knows what he does with the empty bottles. We're burning through towels like nobody's business too. I know we're running things like a hotel but he really doesn't need to steal them so often -- his case must be bulging!'
'He also leaves weekly tips, which is nice of him,' she continued, 'but the little notes he leaves 'to the cleaner' are starting to get quite suggestive. The last one just said 'You like?' with a picture of him naked sellotaped to it, but I'm sure it's nothing.'
The couple believes other parents should consider trying out their hotel scheme, saying the benefits easily outweigh the problems. 'We really need to cut down on such a wide choice at breakfast as we have to throw away loads and loads of unused cereal after laying the selection out in silverware bowls each morning, and we've had to curtail any late-night visitors on both sides because it wouldn't be fair if we really were a hotel with other guests,' said Cheryl. 'Plus of course that's our marital bed and the mental images would be horrific,' interjected Mick, 'but the best bit is when he pays his weekly invoice, safe in the knowledge that we can decide to kick the little bugger out any time we like. It's great to get some payback after all these years.'