I have the good fortune of being able to clean during week days as I’m a stay at home mum and don’t work.
Woooooaaahh, back the truck up! Did I just say I don’t work?
Clarification: Most days I don’t have time to pull my knickers out of my butt crack and rid myself of my wedgie I’m so busy.
A few months before I fell pregnant I started my own business called SPLASH. It’s a marketing, copyright and design business. The design part is HIGHLY ambitious but at the time I was planning on doing a few courses. Luckily I’ve taught myself a lot!
I had a few clients, but one in particular has been lucrative and ongoing since I started. The work varies. Some weeks busy, some weeks not so much, but mostly consistently part time. I do the work from home.
I also just started writing for a monthly lifestyle magazine. It’s only 400 words (well, it’s supposed to be only 400 words, I always go over), and only once a month so it’s hardly time consuming. Actually if you work it out it’s about 13 words a day. I can type that in less than 20 seconds.
Then there’s this. My blog, and entirely unpaid. It’s good because I get to decide what I write about, which I usually base on an experience I’ve had, or something I’ve seen or read.
THEN there’s the exhausting demands of motherhood. I realise it sounds totally cruisey to get to stay at home with your child all day but it just IS NOT. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. And this – another unpaid job of mine – involves LONG hours.
So as you can CLEARLY see I DO WORK. But yesterday any work and my blog were put aside because I needed to clean. Except that I still had to do my MOTHER job.
I should point out that I don’t just clean. I ‘Cindy-clean.’ Well actually, ‘Mum clean.’ It’s my mother’s fault and I blame her that I can’t knowingly clean a bathroom without scrubbing every inch of tiled wall. Without going over every meter of skirting board with a hot soapy sponge (yep, even the ones behind furniture). I blame her that I can’t just wipe down the kitchen cupboard fronts. I also have to open the cupboard, clean the inside, along the top, and also move the plates and wipe the shelf. I blame her that I wipe down the doors, door frames, light fittings and switches.
Anyway, I’m glad I inherited this neurotic-pedantic-clean-freak gene. BUT lately I’ve been letting go a little.
I posted a while back on Facebook that having a spotless house and having a baby is a bit like chalk and cheese? No I never said that. I’ve never tried chalk and cheese together. I said it was like putting sultanas into savoury dishes. The two just don’t go well together at all.
And neither does cleaning your house and looking after a toddler. Yesterday as I cleaned one bathroom, I heard the mystery chatter of my daughter coming from the other bathroom. I stopped and did a mental check-list of anything she might ‘get into.’ Toilet brush – up high. Bin – empty. Toilet roll – not in reach. Shower door – shut. All fine. Continue.
Five minutes later I wandered in to find her sitting amongst a sea of tampons, including 3 in her mouth. I’m not sure what she thought she was playing with, perhaps she was crafting me a lovely vest…. (They were still in plastic, all ok…) Not only that but I had accidentally left my lipstick bag open, and she had hot pink all over her hands and face.
When I collected up the tampons, removed them from her mouth, and wiped away the lippy, she cried. Actually she screamed and convulsed in my arms as I carried her out of there. Did I mention she has drama queen tendencies?
The whole clean up / calm down exercise took about 10 minutes. Not that long. But guess what? That’s ten minutes worth of wall wiping I DIDN’T DO.
I wasn’t lying before. I DID clean my heart out yesterday. But when it was all done, and my child was finally in bed for the night, I realised something. I felt as though I had done more cleaning than usual, but on reflection I had actually done less.
I stopped and started more. I repeated stuff; like re-vacuuming floors. I put away the same toys about 4 times. I cleaned windows only to discover the same little finger prints 5 minutes later. I found rocks from outside – inside. Spoons from inside – outside. And also stopped mid way for 2 meals, 5 nappies, 8 books, 3 ‘ouches’ and one very quick puppet show with a tiger.
I just can’t get as much cleaning done in a day as I used to.
I really would love to be able to Teflon coat everything. Why, just days ago I wrote on Facebook that I would love to be able to cover my couch in plastic. Yes… Like she of Everybody Loves Raymond. Actually, exactly like my Aunty. (My mother’s sister who possesses the same cleaning gene).
Why do I wish I could cover the couch? Because I’m so sick of cleaning or wiping off snot patches, or coloured pencil, or banana.
I pulled my 20 month old aside yesterday after she (unbeknown to me) took her blackcurrant juice bottle off the top of the highchair and emptied the entire contents onto the couch. I looked her in the eyes with my ‘mean mum, serious look’ and said, “This is NOT ok. This is not good behaviour. This makes mummy grumpy and actually, it’s getting very old.”
She smiled, then laughed. And I wondered to myself how many more years I’ll be having conversations like that. Hopefully not many.
And it IS getting old: The couch. The child. The continuous cleaning. And most of all me.
And there’s nothing worse than an ageing diva.