Posts Tagged ‘housework’

A few things that every modern mother should keep in mind:

  1. Vaseline has an endless number of uses.
  2. Vaseline is fascinating.
  3. Vaseline comes off of hardwood floors so much better than it does out of carpet.  Hardwood wins again.
  4. Even still, Vaseline is very, very hard to remove completely from hardwood.
  5. Stay calm.
  6. Start by lifting the majority of it off with tissues.  Be sure to grab a full box — you’ll be using a lot.  Don’t forget that clump over there in the hallway…  oh, and another there in the doorway to the bedroom… and, oh look, more Vaseline in the bedroom… in a trail round the bed… on the bedstead…  there in front of the dresser…
  7. Then grab your all-purpose cleaner and start scrubbing, because even when you’ve removed the majority of the thickness of it, there’s still a lot of Vaseline slimed to the floor.
  8. Calm down now.
  9. Once you’ve abandoned the useless all-purpose cleaner, turn to ordinary washing-up liquid.  The sudsing action will start to break through the greasiness of the Vaseline… it will also spread it, and probably not do your hardwood any good.
  10. Vaseline is slippery.  Washing-up liquid is slippery too.
  11. Now you’ll have got the majority of the Vaseline off the floors but you’ll never be able to get it all up — there will remain a very thin coating on the floor that you just won’t be able to get up for love nor money.  So, remember that the floor will be slick and you’ll need to take as you walk back across the roo….  OAFFF!!!  That had to hurt!!!
  12. Terrified children who have just witnessed their already-enraged mother slip up on a thin slick of Vaseline and fall full-weight onto her arse do not take much encouragement to go into their rooms and shut the doors and sit quietly hoping no-one will notice them, so do try to control to urge to scream at them at the top of your lungs.
  13. Stop screaming.
  14. Stop screaming.  They’re gone.  They’re in their rooms.  You’re screaming at an empty hallway and I know it feels good to release, but… stop now.
  15. Put your cleaning materials away.  Then pause, lean heavily against the bed and rub your aching hip  …and then realise the house is perfectly still for the first time in months.
  16. Ah… breathe out slowly and enjoy the blessed quiet.  You see?  Vaseline has an endless number of uses.

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“This house!” M muttered under his breath as he kicked a tangled pile of laundry out of his way. “This bloody house!”  And then he turned and stormed back upstairs without even looking at me.

I sighed.  But I understand why he’s frustrated — this house, indeed.  It’s always on the edge of mess, always verging into chaos.  I feel as though I fight all day just to maintain it, just to ensure that the mess is no worse at the end of the day than it was at the beginning.  But it never gets any better than it was.

The worst of it is the laundry.  We are perpetually buried in the piles of clean laundry — washed and dried quickly enough, but rarely folded and almost never put away.  Folding laundry with the girls is an exercise in pure crazy-making.  I have not made sorting piles — I have made fall-breakers!  I have built obstacle courses!  I have amassed fascinating collections of dressing-up clothes!  When I do manage to fold a couple of baskets’ full, I am so exhausted at the end that I can’t be bothered to haul those baskets upstairs and put them away.  Not right now… maybe later… maybe tomorrow.   But instead, we raid those same baskets daily, still sitting in the corner of the family room, for knickers and socks and today’s outfit, until the whole thing is such a mess that it couldn’t possibly be put away without being dumped out and refolded.  And that does not happen.

And there are always dishes clogging the kitchen — from breakfast, or the snack, or lunch, or the snack, or dinner…  And a pile of papers that needs filing over there, and stacks of magazines half-read.  There are still boxes to be unpacked from the move.  And certainly, oh certainly, this place does not yet feel like a home — it still feels like we just moved in… or are just about to move out.

“What was that?!?” I prodded angrily at M, as he disappeared up the stairs.  I couldn’t help myself — I just can’t let a muttering go.

He paused and turned, casting an eye across the chaos, and said hotly, “Well, I just think this place should be… tidier.  It should be getting tidier!”

I was defensive now.  “You could help, you know.  I only have two hands!  You could pick things up when you see them instead of stepping over them!”  It’s true — he’s as likely to step over a mess the girls have made as clean it up.  He’ll clear dishes but leave the mess all over the table.  And he opens his mail, and then drops it back on the table for me discover,  and deal with, later.

“You’re home all day!” He countered.  “You should be dealing with this place!  It should be…”  he glanced around the room, his eyes lighting on any number sins, “It should be getting better.”  Ah, of course, I’m home all day.  I should be spending all that time getting the place sorted.

Plus two

As every weekend approaches, we have conflicting expectations that cause… well… regular conflicts.  I see the weekends as a chance for me to get a break from the intensity of full-time care for a four-year-old and a two-year-old.  I’d like to wake peacefully, rather than be yelled from my bed at whatever hour the girls awaken, to take a shower alone without interruption, and then to slow everything down a bit and spend time as a family.  M sees the weekends as his chance to catch up on the myriad projects that need doing about the house and to quietly recover from a tough week at work.  In both cases, the three of us just get in the way of his plans — hinder rather than help — and, understandably, he spends most of his weekends trying to escape us.

I was on my own in the kitchen, drinking a cup of tea and contemplating the pile of dishes in the sink, when I heard it all begin to fall apart in the other room.  The girls’ voices rose and quickly became shrill, both of them screeching over some great injustice.  M’s voice started quiet and weary, but soon followed their lead and, within moments, he was bellowing at them.  And then for me.  When I walked in the room, I found him standing by the front door, holding a cordless drill in one hand and with two little girls practically hanging off his other arm.  A mess of his tools and their toys were strewn in equal measure at his feet.

“I can’t get anything done with them here!” he roared. “You have to take them.”  And then with a little less volume, “If I’m supposed to make any progress with this,” — he waved the drill in the general direction of the door he’d been working on — “then you can’t expect me to be looking after them as well!”  I ushered the girls and their screeching away into the kitchen, and smiled to myself.

He’s quite right — it’s impossible for him to get his projects done with them underfoot.  I know that.  They are wonderful little girls, but it is the nature of their ages to create mischief and mayhem where-ever they go.  And keeping that under control brings everything else to a complete halt.

Unless, of course, that everything is folding laundry, and filing the paperwork, and unpacking boxes.  And you are home all day.

Equals three

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Today I:

  1. Started it off by not getting to bed until 2.30am, because M was on call and didn’t get home until 1.30am…  and I couldn’t sleep until he was home and safe, off the frozen and slippery roads… and then we talked while he got something to eat and got ready for bed
  2. Got up at 3.30am when E2 began crying and fed her
  3. Got up and fed her again when she began crying at 8.30am and, by the time she was done, E1 had woken up and would not go back to bed.  I was knackered and slightly pissed off because of it, but up for the day.
  4. Stopped E1 from descending into hysterical wailing when she discovered M had forgotten to put a sippee cup of milk in the fridge for her, and quickly poured her a cup.
  5. Showered in a rush while she drank her milk
  6. Got E2 up — she’d had a messy poo that had come through to her bedsheets.  When I took her nappy off in the bathroom, it tipped up and spilled all over the bathmat
  7. Bathed both girls, got them dried, dressed, and combed hair
  8. Stripped E2’s soiled bed — and E1’s bed and ours while I was at it — and got a load of washing going
  9. Cooked their breakfasts and served them, and then helped them eat it when it all started to go wrong
  10. Cleaned the mess of breakfast off the table
  11. Got on my hands and knees and cleaned the mess of breakfast off the floor
  12. Got a loaf of bread started in the bread machine
  13. Took a deep breath and swept up the dirt from the plant the girls knocked over
  14. Switched the washing into the dryer and got a second load of washing going
  15. Folded a basket of laundry and put it away
  16. Took a deep breath and re-hung half the contents of E1’s closet which the girls had gleefully pulled down and spread all over the room
  17. Made lunch for the girls
  18. Wiped the mess from lunch off the table
  19. Got on my hands and knees and clean the mess from lunch off the floor
  20. Realised I hadn’t yet eaten anything and quickly stuffed a bowl of Weetabix down my neck
  21. Discovered where the girls had crayoned all over the hardwood floor and scrubbed it all off
  22. Took a deep breath
  23. Discovered where E1 had crayoned all over her bedroom walls and then discovered it would not come off
  24. Started to lose my temper with her, but reined it in when she was so clearly sorry and began to cry.  Gave her a big cuddle instead
  25. Removed yellow crayon bits from E2’s mouth, digging it out from between her teeth with a tissue
  26. Made the girls’ beds and went to start ours but…
  27. Helped a panicking E1 rush to the toilet — too late!
  28. Removed her wet knickers, wiped her tears and gave her a reassuring and forgiving cuddle, and found clean knickers for her
  29. Changed E2’s nappy
  30. Got E1 down for her nap
  31. Fed E2 down for her nap
  32. Went to start making our bed but…
  33. Rushed to E1’s room to stop her screaming before she woke her sister, and discovered the cause of the trauma was a toy stuck under the bed.  Rescued the toy.
  34. Went downstairs and made a sandwich and finally sat down and ate in peace
  35. Sent two emails
  36. Laid down for a nap
  37. Woke up twenty minutes later when E2 started crying and could not get herself back to sleep
  38. Gave up on the nap and instead stuck my head under the tap, and did my hair and make up for the first time today
  39. Brushed my teeth for the first time today as well
  40. Started the girls’ dinner
  41. Got both girls up from their naps, calmed E1 down (as she wasn’t ready to wake and began crying that she couldn’t stay in bed), while M took his post-work shower
  42. Cleaned E1’s bedroom floor of toys so that it can be hoovered tomorrow
  43. Went downstairs and sliced myself a piece of hot bread for my dinner
  44. Rushed out of the house to go to the theatre with my mum, who wondered (as ever) why I looked so harried and wound up, and worried (as ever) that it was some problem between her and me
  45. Thoroughly enjoyed the show, reassured my mother
  46. Came home at 11pm to find M half-asleep on the couch and complaining of headache, E2 still up and dressed for bed but wearing a boot on one foot and a pair of training pants on her head, the dining table and floor covered in dried-on mess from dinner, the dirty dishes spread where they had been left all over the kitchen countertop, the family room strewn with every toy that should have been in the toy-box, and half the clothes I had hung up earlier in the day pulled down again and spread all over the upstairs hallway
  47. Restrained the urge to scream in anger
  48. Stepped over the clothes and went into E1’s room to check on her, and found her wide awake because her closet door had been left fully open (instead of only cracked open) with the bright light shining in her face, her bed strewn with more of the same clothes as in the hallway, every book off her shelf spread across the floor, and she wearing a skirt and t-shirt that she had had put on over her PJs, and sleeping on a tennis racket
  49. Barely restrained myself from flying into a complete rage
  50. Put away all the clothes from the hallway and E1’s bed
  51. Put all her books away
  52. Chucked the racket down the stairs in anger
  53. Stopped, pulled myself together, and sat down on her bed to give her a big cuddle and her goodnight kisses
  54. Discovered our bed was still unmade, took a deep breath and counted to ten, and then made it
  55. Took E2 off of M so he could go to bed, and told him that the state of the house was really taking the piss
  56. Fed E2 down to sleep
  57. Scrubbed the dried-on remains of dinner off the dining room floor and dining table
  58. Washed all the dishes
  59. Swept the kitchen floor
  60. Put the toys away
  61. Spotted the huge gas bill that arrived yesterday and began immediately to panic about it again, and then forceably looked away and pushed it from my mind
  62. Made some toast
  63. Thought about the fact that one day, when I go back to work, someone will look at this gap on my CV and think I’ve ‘done nothing’ these past four years
  64. Wrote this blog post

And now, I am going to bed.

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