Tag Archives: cleaning

New Year’s Resolutions

I am crap at domesticity. I hate cleaning, I’m massively inefficient at organising my home, I can just about scrape together a meal and anything with ‘homemade’ or ‘craft’ in the title makes my skin crawl. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to be better at being a traditional homemaker (sort of), I just can’t do it.

Yet even though I know this and accept it, a part of me keeps trying. I guess it’s an attempt to be a good parent. My house should at the very least be clean and tidy, we should always have enough clothes in the drawers (not dumped on the sofa which is where ours seem to spend most of their time) and I should be able to cobble together a reasonably nutritious home cooked meal every night. It’s not too much to ask. Then there’s all the parent admin which no one tells you about before you have kids (because it’s bloody boring) like paying for school meals, applying for school places, coordinating donations for the nursery toy sale (failed – sorry nursery!) and such like. I’m mega-organised at work, but somehow it all falls to pieces at home where organisation counts as keeping paperwork in one big box to be rifled through in a panic any time something important happens.

I keep trying. And I keep failing. And I get fed up and think ‘what’s the point?’ and stop trying. Then it gets worse so I try again. And fail. Repeat ad infinitum.

So this year I made possibly the best and most achievable New Year’s Resolution I’ve ever come up with: to care less about the state of the house and spend more time playing!

Bloody genius.

I bet I am the only person on the planet who has stuck to their New Year’s Resolution this far into January. I am on a losing streak with Snakes and Ladders, me and the three year old are currently at a draw with the Ladybird Game and yesterday I invented two new verses of Old Macdonald involving both my sons’ names which made the baby belly chuckle repeatedly for the first time.

Unfortunately it does mean my house looks like it’s been ransacked, I haven’t vacuumed properly in weeks (yuk, that’s actually quite disgusting – might have to rectify that one) and my post-Christmas clean-up is so poor that I’ve only just discovered a Toblerone from someone’s stocking hiding underneath the sofa bed (finders keepers!). I’m also not sure how much my husband will appreciate it when he discovers the mound of ironing he spent 3 hours doing last night after a full day’s work is still sitting on the sofa waiting to be put away.

Ah well. Nothing to be done about that. It was a resolution, so I have to stick to it!

 

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The Eternal Suffering of the Spotless House

If cleanliness really is next to Godliness, my family are stuck permanently in purgatory.

While we are a long way from the horrors of student days – when my husband tells me a girl was once sent screaming from his flat after noticing a distinct rustling in the pile of takeaway boxes which had become a permanent fixture next to their kitchen bin – I’m hardly a domestic goddess. If you were to turn up at my house uninvited, or even invited, you’re far more likely to be greeted by a mound of un-ironed shirts and half-read newspapers than a freshly brewed pot of tea and a slice of homemade cake.

I am not a domesticated person. I eat cake, I don’t bake it. I buy clothes, I don’t iron them. I can cope with cooking up and – more importantly – eating a family meal, but don’t expect me to wash up as well. That’s just ridiculous.

I hate housework; I hate it.

Housework is a necessary but mind-numbingly boring evil. A task approached with begrudging acceptance and minimal satisfaction on completion.

Sadly, housework when you have a baby moves from an occasional inconvenience to an eternal occupation: cleaning and sterilising bottles; washing dirty clothes; picking up half-eaten food from the floor; scrubbing baby sick off the sofa; picking up half-eaten food off the floor; washing more dirty clothes; drenching every surface with anti-bacterial spray when someone who visited turns out to have a stomach bug; picking more half-eaten food off the floor; putting away toys; hanging out washing; ironing; picking up yet more half-eaten food off the floor then sweeping and mopping it before collapsing, exhausted and miserable in front of ‘Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners, ‘The Great British Bake Off’, ‘Great British Sewing Bee’ or some other prime time reality show designed to highlight how crap you are as a homemaker compared to these inane, grinning buffoons, who periodically fawn over a particularly well-constructed cross-stitch or sobb over a rogue macaroon which isn’t quite the same shape and size as the rest. Oh for God’s sake, grow up and get a real life!

I hate housework and homemaking; I hate it!

King Sisyphus angered the gods through his trickery and deceit, and so was condemned to spend eternity pushing a boulder up a hill, only to see it fall straight back down and have to start again. In the first few years of our courtship, I lied continuously and pretended to be interested in my husband’s crappy football team. Perhaps that deceit is why I seem to have been sentenced to a lifetime of mopping the kitchen floor, only to slip on a sludgy piece of brown banana ten minutes after I finish and start all over again.

I really hate housework; I HATE IT!

Throughout my pregnancy, there was a constant stream of doomsayers, desperate to tell me how shit my life would be once I became a mum. Gems such as “Ooh, enjoy sleep while you can. You won’t get much once the baby arrives!” or young single people gloating “We won’t see you down the pub again soon” or women who already have a brood of children taking pleasure in telling me, in detail, all the ways in which my body would fall apart and begin to resemble that of an ogre after the ‘joys of childbirth’. But no one told me that I’d be perpetually chained to the kitchen sink and essentially have to superglue marigolds to my hands just to get through the day.

My biggest concern when going off on maternity leave was that I’d be bored away from work. “Oh you won’t have time to be bored” chimed the doomsayers. Well, they were half right. I don’t have time, but forgive me if I don’t find dusting that stimulating.

I hate housework; I REALLY HATE IT!

Like most people, as a child I went through numerous phases of wanting to be all sorts of things: a lawyer, an actress, an astronomer, a singer, a fashion journalist – once in middle school I even did an art project about wanting to be a dentist! I didn’t really know what I wanted to be, but I always wanted to work and, to quote the great feminist thinker Beyonce, I wanted to be an ‘independent woman’.

I have always worked, ever since I got a part time job at the age of 15. For most of the time my husband and I have been together, I have been the greater earner (not by much, but still!). The idea of being at home and being reliant on someone else, of having to go cap in hand to ask for cash to go shopping whilst on maternity leave was galling. It’s something I’ve never gotten used to. Many people would say I’m doing a valuable job by staying at home to raise our son, and I’m sure that’s true. But when raising him on some days consists of going to some cutesy named playgroup to sing nursery rhymes, then round to a friend’s for lunch and a coffee, I do feel a bit guilty.  So I feel it’s only fair that I take on the lion’s share of the housework. The problem being, just in case you’ve missed it, I HATE HOUSEWORK. I HATE IT!

So, in two weeks, I’m heading back to work. Full time. I thought this was the norm but chatting at the local children’s centre tells me this often isn’t so. Everyone else is sorting out flexible working arrangements, cutting down their hours or giving up altogether. It’ll definitely be hard to leave the little one, but, oh to engage my brain again! To talk about something other than nappies and weaning. But most of all, to escape the housework: the wiping, the mopping, the sweeping. What’s that you say? It’ll still be there to do when I get home? No it won’t. I’m getting a cleaner! Yes, sod the expense – I’ll dye my hair at home and we’ll eat more beans on toast. Sod the middle class guilt – I’ll get over it when I see how shiny the sink is. Sod what other people think – it’s money well spent if I can pick the baby up from the childminder and head down to the park rather than picking up the duster and heading to the living room furniture.

So take that Sisyphus. If only you’d thought to hire help and sneak off back to work, perhaps eternity wouldn’t have seemed so torturous.