Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A tidy house

Inspired by Ash's comment on my last post, I thought I'd talk about tidy houses, mess and all manner of chaos. This is my view right now from the sofa. I see lots of sunshine, though the roofs outside are white with frost. I see smoke from the burnt pancakes filtering the sunbeams. I see colourful cushions, throws and toys. I see lots of fun toys. I see clothes and shoes, I see family photos and books. I see two pianos and a guitar. Most importantly I see a little baldy baby looking at me, he hasn't left my side all morning. I've breastfed him holding him in one arm while I pour my tea with the other. I carried him on my hip up the stairs to bring hard-working Dada a cuppa in bed. I tickled him as I ate my breakfast. He's not letting me out of his sight this morning, like every morning, and that's ok. I have to announce when I'm leaving the house to go to the bin in the front garden, otherwise Charlie gets worried when he hears the front door, and that's ok.
There are a hundred buttons on the floor that I need to pick up. There are a million crumbs that need hoovering, but first I've to empty out the hoover cylinder. There are toys that need re-arranging, clothes that need putting-away, dvds that need re-stacking, plants that need watering, sewing that needs to be done...
"A woman's work never ends" says the martyred Irish mammy.
Well, we must prioritise. There are two boys here, eager to soak up new ideas, activities, games, fun and laughter. I want them to remember a childhood of love and laughter, in a colourful house. If that house is messier than it "should" be, so be it. I can live with that. And I do live with it. The pile of laundry in the back porch grows daily, and I ignore it. The dishes pile in the kitchen and I do them when I can. I cook healthy meals from scratch for nearly 3 meals a day. We get out in the fresh air and sunshine whenever we can.
Visitors have to take it as they find it, I don't have the energy to be doing a whole-house clean before someone calls. And that's ok. They will visit a happy family, a messy house, and be given home-baked goodies to eat.
"A tidy house is the sign of a wasted life" as a friend said to me the other day, a fantastic mother to four children. Too true, I'm afraid. Do the minimum needed so you can live comfortably, and spend most of your time enjoying your kids. If you are spending every available minute on housework, ask yourself why? How can our standards be so high these days that we have to pay a stranger to clean our house when we're out at work? (I'd love to have a cleaner!) Who sets the standard? Martha Stewart? Does she do any of her own housework?
Rambling a bit, but let's all relax and be real. And let our friend's visit in our real houses, with our real mess and our real crumbs and our real selves. That'd be cool.
Nee x

1 comment:

  1. Hi Niamh,
    Another enjoyable post and I agreed with the sentiments except with regard to having a cleaner. "How can our standards be so high these days that we have to pay a stranger to clean our house when we're out at work?". I do this and to present another viewpoint on this - the reason I do this is not because of my high standards. It's so instead that I can do as you propose and do the minimum needed to live comfortably, and spend most of my time enjoying my son. I do as little housework as possible. The standard of the house goes steadily downhill until the next visit of the cleaner as I am busy spending time with my son! I recommend that every working mother that can afford it gets a cleaner so they can spend their precious time on more important things.
    Best wishes from one of your regular readers,
    Elaine Willis (posted as Anon as I don't have any of the accounts listed)


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