Can We Talk About The Housework?

We have a busy, messy house and white tiled floors to go with it. BRILLIANT COMBO. We have our dog, Pearl, who drags who-knows-what through the house on her paws, we have four year old Jacob, who loves the combination of muck and water probably more than anything else in this world, we have one year old Eva, who likes to fire porridge, peas, biscuits, spaghetti – you name it – from the height of her high chair onto whatever she can hit below. Then we have Daddy Alan, Mr. Engineer who comes home from work covered head to toe in dust and dirt from a busy day at Dynamic Cater Care. Part of the work uniform is a pair of humongous work boots that he likes to keep on him until he gets up the stairs to get changed…..don’t mention the war.

Then there’s me, I am a hoarder of bits of paper; bills, receipts, newspaper clippings, recipes on the backs of envelopes, things that I’m working on or things that I’m hoping to get a read of ‘later, when I get a sec’. On a whim, I’ll decide to sort out the attic and drag half of it’s contents onto the landing below, only to be called away by a crying child, a dash to the school, or a call at the door, and I might not get back to it for weeks…..don’t mention Alan’s war with me ;o)

Laundry has taken over our lives. It’s everywhere, it’s unruly; you think you have it under control until the day you open the hot press door and it physically attacks you, the bastard.

‘Have I any work t-shirts?!’ Alan will call from upstairs, just as I’m eyeing the damp pile of washed clothes that he has taken from the washing machine the night before, and casually dumped on the floor by the back door.

‘Oh you have’, I’ll call back. ‘But the magic laundry fairy didn’t intercept their neglect and get them up onto the clothes horse to dry so it’s another topless day for you, darling. I shall inform the neighbour to get their camera phones out when you’re ready to leave the house.’

There has been great chats this week online about how much housework we all do, and how we keep on top of it. I know I could spend every single minute of the day on housework and laundry if I so chose to, and I still wouldn’t want anyone to drop in ‘just yet’. There would always be one more thing that would make it better, isn’t there? If I could just get to wash down those seat covers…if I could just quickly wipe down the kitchen windows…if I could just Fabreeze the smell of stale milk out of this room…..

And the thing is, it’s so BORING, isn’t it? I know it has to be done, and no one wants to look like they’re living in squalor, but we’ve got to sort of get a grip. I mean, who are we really doing it for? I know I’m not cleaning the house for Alan’s benefit, because he never notices (although he does like to tip the cleaning staff in hotels ‘for doing such a great job’ – *coughs*. He could easily owe me 74 thousand euros in back payments at this point).

I definitely keep the floors clean for Eva’s sake – she is walking and everything now, but she still lands on her bum quite a bit and still plays with her toys not he floor, so that gets done every day for her. But the rest? The dressing the beds first thing and the scrubbing stains off walls and door handles and rearranging shit that does not need to be rearranged and the power hosing of the fooking high chair??? Ok, the high chair is completely manky, not even the power hose is sorting that shit out…. but who is it for? For myself? To prove my worth as a woman and a mother and a home owner? But who really cares?

The answer is: nobody. Nobody cares. Sure, someone will notice if you’ve got a pile of dirty nappies sitting in the corner of the living room, or if the contents of your jacks should carry a health warning so let’s not go there. But let’s try this: why not cut your time spent sorting out your house every day IN HALF this month. Just do it. And spend the other half making Witches Hats with ice cream cones and melted chocolate instead.

Which you will then have to clean up after. Oh I see your point.