Tuesday, 27 November 2018

On having a dirty house and why I won't clean up the crumbs, no matter who is visiting

I have a dirty house. No, really I do. When I began working full time around two and a half years ago, my thoughts turned to the many conversations I'd had with many of my friends (and fellow mothers) who discussed with me the frustration of working all week, only to have to work some more at the weekend carrying out household chores. Some talked about how they were negotiating with their other halves so that they could hire help, a cleaner. Thus giving way for them to spend time with their children/family or having time for self care (most likely at the bottom of the list of priorities). As time has passed over these thirty odd months, I have delegated more and more to my offspring. They each have weekday and weekend chores and they are very basic. Put dishes away, take recycling out, make beds, lay clothes out for next day, pack bag ready for school. Less regularly, they are asked to wash dishes, iron clothes, vacuum the house, clean the bathroom and toilet. Often, my husband and I find ourselves absorbing the delegated chores back into our own duties, thinking that we are being kind and helpful to our not so little anymore offspring. Well, this week, I lost it. There's nothing worse than feeling that you are being taken for granted, that your offspring (who you breastfed and tenderly weaned, whose poop you endured, whose every need and whom you mostly put before any needs of your own by the way) are behaving consistently selfish. I lost it. I shared my feelings. I shared the stress of the accumulation of duties that need carrying out versus the depleting amount of time set aside to complete these duties. I shared again, how they need to do their part and step up once more, as they have in so many, many ways that have made me immensely proud in the transition I have made from stay-at-home mum to working mum.

So. As much as everyone is doing their part and as much as my husband and I drill in this notion of working together as a team to make our family life run smoothly, I am coming to accept this. My house will sometimes be dirty. I know that my offspring won't always move the sofa to vacuum the nooks and crannies behind it. I know too that they might not move every shampoo bottle, cream or vitamin bottle off the ledge to clean the bathroom properly or remember to change the hand towels. I know they definitely won't remember to dust ... anywhere. I know too that when the weekends come, we can't wait to get out and be in the countryside, to explore new places, to go on road trips and when this isn't a priority none of us feels quite so alive as we should. For this family adventure time to happen by hook or by crook, sometimes other things have to get knocked further down the list of duties. This is ok. So if you come to my house and there are a few crumbs down the side of the sofa, I know they're there. It's just not important enough anymore for me to prioritise getting rid of them. It's taken a long time to reach this acceptance but boy, am I glad.

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