Housework – swings and roundabouts.
We have had electricians through our house every day for the past 2-3 weeks and asbestos removers for the few weeks before that.
At first I was like Shit, we need to clean up when the workmen get here cos you, know, mess.
And at first I did; made sure the loo was pristine in case they needed to use it, cleared and wiped the dining table after every meal, made sure the laundry door was closed because you know, mess, religiously did the dishes after every meal, tidied up toys every mofo day and generally tried to make the house look like nobody lived here. Well, nobody with 2 children, a working husband and a part time job.
Until last week when they were scheduled to arrive at 0700. What does the O stand for? Oh My God, its early! (RIP Robin Williams)
I decided fuck it. I haven’t even had coffee at that hour. Who are they to judge the way we live when we are happy living this way?
The clutter on the lounge room floor says yesterday we spent time in there as a family; playing, reading the paper, surfing the net, laughing with the kids and watching TV the night before with a glass of wine and the kids leftover easter eggs. The cat brush you see on the coffee table was used for a bindi ridden cat and will most likely be used again tomorrow; the towel draped over the ironing board was left there by Mr Point Five who will come get it after his shower tomorrow, leaving wet prints throughout the house only to leave it there again for the morning after; the coffee cup on the bookcase will be cleared and substituted for another later in the day and the skylanders on the floor? They are used day in and day out so really? If I clean it now, it will be there again tomorrow. It doesn’t mean I am a slob , it just means I enjoy having a “lived in” home. When it gets too cluttered and becomes an OHS case-study I tidy and scale it back to acceptable. It gets vacuumed weekly, dusted when I see words on the TV cabinet and the wine glass
mostly gets moved to the kitchen daily or simply topped up again the next night from where it was the night before.
The pile of clean clothes in our laundry is formidable, but you know what? The dirty washing pile is non-existent and my kids go to school in clean clothes every day; that’s nothing to be ashamed of even if their floordrobe in the laundry is not pretty and IKEA-brochure-worthy.
The stuff on my kitchen bench and the dishes in the sink says I cooked my family dinner last night, or a birthday cake or afternoon tea or an experimental bread loaf. The staple ingredients left there will most likely get used again this week so I feel no need to put them away in the pantry. The dishes will get done in the time frame that I want to do them. If I do them to impress the workmen, there will still be mess there after I get the kids breakfast and race out the door to work so its just a trade off and a charade really isn’t it, when I can do the whole bloody lot when I get home at lunchtime. The kitchen is a revolving mess, one gets cleaned and another is made; it really just depends on what time of day you jag your visit as to whether I meet your standards. I am no showpony nor do I have OCD. I do not have matchy match pastel spotted and striped useless accessories from KMart and IKEA on display on my bench. I do wish I could get fresh flowers though. At one point there is breakfast toast mess which gets cleaned up for the lunch mess which is then cleaned for the dinner mess. By the time dinner is served I am done cleaning messes; it can wait; when the kids are in bed its MY time to relax. I will not fold clothes whilst watching a favourite show. Priorities people!
Here is the paradox; any mess you see is usually not there from the day before, but our house might never be clean! Its a constant and fluid motion of cleaning up after making messes. What does that say to a strangers eyes if I am caught at the wrong moment? Swings and Roundabouts my friends and I am not about the appearances.
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I often get comments from friends/first time visitors that our home is very inviting, welcoming and comfortable. Sure, if you pop in without notice it can also look like a bomb has gone off but you know what? I’ll take the compliment. I think by the time you get to my age you really don’t give a rats arse anymore what other people may or may not think about you. I am happy with our home which always smells of clean washing and a hot dinner in the oven, is always full of love and good food, and has more than a little dust. It scrubs up very nicely with enough warning, and mostly, it just looks like we live here.
I reckon after seeing our morning routine, the workmen will no longer be worried about the chaos that is our home but admiring the regimental organisation that it takes to get two small children up and out of bed, fed, showered and dressed (as well as myself with makeup) and out the door with smiles in under an hour and 15 minutes each morning. Whilst I may be challenged in the housework department, I got that bit down pat.
What do you think? Am I a realist or more than a bit slack? I don’t really care but feel free to comment 😉