|Doing what I do best while the son
(like most men) watches on
Sometimes I think life would be far less stressful if I wasn’t so damn houseproud… I can
blame thank my mother for this hygienic hang-up – one of my earliest memories is of her telling us “The Queen is coming at 9am” in an ambitious attempt to ensure all her chores were done and dusted (literally) by the time the kettle whistle announced it was morning tea time.
I HATE mess; which, is ironic, as if you ask my Mum, I’m sure she’d tell you I wasn’t the tidiest child (and still slip up as an adult). I vividly recall the childhood memory when I came home and found all the items I’d neglected to pick up off my bedroom floor strewn haphazardly around the backyard. Yep, she finally followed through on the weekly (Friday) threat that if I didn’t have a clean floor for vacuuming, she’d see to it that all my treasured possessions left lazily laying about would be tossed unceremoniously out. And by God, wasn’t I surprised that she meant it! (Mental note to self: must eventually try this trick on Harrison)
So you could say my cleanliness obsession has, like a fine wine, matured with my age. Plus there is nothing quite like owning your first home to make you houseproud!
But alas, the physical act of completing all my chores does not always equate to elation (more like exhaustion). Sure, I do get a buzz out of standing back and surveying a pristine, polished home – but then comes along the tear away two year old and spills his juice, or smears a strawberry, or upends a box of toys and my sense of achievement deflates quicker than the US Dollar!
Why bother exerting such pain, I hear you ask, if its just all going to go to rack and ruin with every attempt?
Believe me, there are times, since hitching a ride on the motherhood merry-go-round when I definitely have no time nor energy to dedicate to this mammoth task. But I think you can only live in your self-imposed “squalor” for so long. I feel like my skin begins to crawl after a while of eyeing off the films of dust multiplying on the dark wood dresser and my head ends up as cluttered as the kitchen bench (which seems to more often resemble a communal “too hard basked” dumping ground). Of course parenthood has cured me of some of my previously pedantic behaviour – who has time to sweep EVERY DAY? Not I sadly… And some days I am literally lucky to have packed breakfast away by 9am (when we have been up since 5.30am!). But I never leave the house with an untidy kitchen, oh no. While I admire those who aren’t constrained by domestic chains such as these (Sheree), it’s a rare occasion that I allow this cleanliness oversight to occur.
I had a brief idyllic interlude from domestic duties when I first re-commenced my role back in the paid working world but unfortunately for my dish-pan hands, once we moved from a 2 bedroom unit to a 4 bedroom house, it was no longer able to be squeezed into the budget and hence I have found myself donning the “Sadie The Cleaning Lady” gloves once more. Yes, it’s usually what I end up spending my precious “Donna-time” doing but I figure it’s hard to completely relax in your own home if you feel like the mess is about to consume you like a modern bubonic plague.
So if you are coming to visit, please know this: I will have worked myself into a stress ball ensuring my house is immaculate, in the vain hope you will buy the story I’m selling that of course dah-ling , we always live this way, with our bathroom mirrors free from Harrison’s toothpaste spit, and not a single cushion/book/dvd etc out of place. And it’s all because I am house-proud dammit, like it or not. But, as I tell my longer staying guests, it’s a non negotiable fact that the house will NOT remain in its spotless state as originally viewed on arrival and I will just keep up with the bare minimum so that I can enjoy your company instead…
There – not completely socially lacking, and suffering from OCD am I??
Unannounced houseguests, however, are my worst nightmare. Because then the “House & Garden” façade I’ve so carefully crafted is shattered… I wonder how rude they might think me if I stall them at the front step while I do a quick mental scan of the current state of chaos my house might be in. I recall once The Husband unexpectedly bringing an old friend in to show him our new home – and it was in a complete shambles. Needless to say, I am still wondering how soon we can invite him back so I can show him I don’t always like in a Shrek inspired hovel.
After coming full circle from the girl who played delinquent with her domestic chores as a child, into an anal clean freak as a young adult and finally morphing into a mum who just does what she has to in order to keep sane, I hope that I can continue to loosen the hygiene noose that I’ve dangled around my neck for so long. Or at least until I can afford to hire myself a maid again!