Wednesday 14 July 2010

Home is where the hell is

I used to like housework. Not in a OCD kind of way, more that it's a job where you see good results at the end – a sparkling bathroom, a gleaming kitchen, a fresh scent in the air. I always got a great sense of achievement from giving the house a good scrubbing.

Since I had kids it has become a war. A battle that I constantly lose and makes me feel so depressed. It brings me a whole heap of stress and all in all, it plain sucks.

I have to admit it wasn't so bad when I had a baby or just one child. While I was tired, there was always a moment to clean the house and have it stay that way for a short time at least. Now, with two kids running around there is A LOT of mess and no time to clean it. Smears on the walls, grimy fingerprints on the cupboard, squashed sultanas in the carpet, etc, etc, etc. Within moments of mopping something up yet another cleaning catastrophe occurs.

When I attempt to clean a room, the kids are destroying another room somewhere in the house, so it's often a futile attempt. While I clean I feel guilty that I have to get them watching TV or something while I do it.

I briefly had a cleaner and it was nice having the house clean for, oh about 25 minutes. Surely enough within the hour of arriving home a child would have spilt a drink requiring the mop to be dragged out. Crumbled up a cracker requiring the vacuum to make an appearance. So, it seemed silly to be forking over cash when I was having to do the same thing within hours of the cleaner being here.

I hate having a house that's a bit grubby around the edges. That's messy and disorganised. I know it shouldn't, but I often feels that it reflects back on me. My failure. My ineptitude at being a good housewife.

Skip does his best, but he's at work 12 hours a day.

All this was going round my head that past two days as I've been giving the house a really good clean (yes, it took me two days).  I finally finished my epic clean and decided to give a final vacuum. I finished vacuuming my bedroom and went to the girls' room. It had been completely destroyed. Every single toy pulled out of their toy cupboard, all the bedding pulled off their beds, they'd even taken all their clothes off. Firstly I was impressed that they'd managed so much destruction is such a short time – my bedroom is quite pokey and quite quick to vacuum. I didn't know whether to yell, scream or cry. I think I did a combination of all three.

I know it's such a first world whine, but I'm sure that for a lot of mums, dad, wives, husbands, that this domestic dullness is a big stress. I'm just trying to find a way to lessen the stress. I try not to worry, but I do. I know it won't last forever, but for the moment it drives me crazy.

Does housework stress you out? Do you have a secret? Or do you just not worry about it? I would love to hear about it!

PS  – After worrying about this all yesterday, I had some news that stopped me in my tracks and made me realise that my worry was insignificant. Thankfully, everything turned out OK, but I do realise how good my life can be.


  1. I know what you mean. I find it so hard to ignore the grottiness - but sometimes it has to be done. I have dust bunnies the size of super-steroid hares under my bed, the floor's crunchy from the cupcake decorating session from Monday and let's not discuss the bathroom shall we... When the girls are young you just have to let it go. Try to do the old 'make a game of cleaning up' with them {i'm still TRYING that one} and just choose what's really, really, really important to you. I need clean sheets - that's my one essential. And clean clothes and towels, so washing's always my priority. The bathroom always gets a really good clean - just before we have friends for dinner...

    You're not alone my lovely - xx

  2. I agree - pick what is important and let the rest go. Trust me, there will be plenty of time later to have a perfectly clean house. Enjoy your children, they grow up so fast.

  3. I hate the 'leave it' answer. Thats all very well if you like having jam in your hair, weetbix on your t shirt and breaking your neck tripping over lego

  4. I try not to let it stress me out so I pick my battles. The bathroom inevitably loses out to keeping toys off the floor, cleaning up food spills and having clean clothes and dishes. Today I decided I would attack the bathroom one patch at a time and hope to get it all done in the next week!

  5. Yes, I have a secret. I think thinking things like "My failure. My ineptitude at being a good housewife" are making you stressed for no reason at all. Stop it right now. You're an amaaaazing mum and that's what makes you a SUCCESS. I blame house porn. All those neat and sparkling white homes with silly people saying stuff like "white just means it's EASIER to keep clean and the kids know not to touch our precious things." What planet are they from??

    Having a home that's rough around the edges means that a real, kick-about family lives there! A family who eats life (and furniture, apparently). And, you're so right, it was a PLEASURE having a neat and tidy home before the kids. But we also used to go to the movies, go out drinking and go to the toilet without an audience. Chalk the designer house up to just another thing that was 'pre kids'. You'll feel much better.

  6. Oh Corinne! Are we on the same wavelength lately or what????
    Because I am out of the home at work well over 40 hours a week, I share this frustration!
    There are times, like the past week when I work from a Wed to a Wed with nary a day off and my house looks like a tornado swept through it.
    There are times I cannot even bear to go upstairs (where the kids sleep) because I know their rooms have vomited upon themselves. And my kids are way older then yours!!!I cannot even begin to describe what their bathroom usually looks like...
    There are times that I feel that I only get a day off so I can clean up their crap. That all I am good for is a money earning,picker-upper,scrubber lady!
    And then the question becomes, when is there "me" time?
    A vicious cycle that I am still struggling to master!



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