My home is a mess, and so is yours

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Piles of mail, a half finished weaning diary, some kitchen catalogues, fabric I used to make my cot bumpers, a notepad, some frayed cord from the broken blind, a stack of nappies that are too small, my Baby Whisperer book, 2 baby flannels, James’ “going out” cardy, my work pass, stacking cups, a stuffed rabbit (“Niall”), some speakers that I need to put on ebay…

I could go on. These are just some of the things in my front room that need to be sorted and tidied. The stark fact is that my house is a mess. Since James arrived I’ve had less and less time to tidy, more and more stuff, and I’m here all the time so I notice every little thing that’s out of place. There must be a knack to doing hyper efficient tidying and on a good day I surprise myself with how many things I can get done in a 20 minute window, but I am yet to master this skill.

Lately I’ve started to realise that I’m striving for an unattainable goal. I’m not one of these floaty, gentle-voiced, enjoys-doing-the-washing-up, how-does-she-do-it? sort of mums. And the thing is, most other mums aren’t either. We’ve all got a house we’re ashamed of. We’d all like to grab a bin-bag, cram everything into it and start afresh. When our houses do look tidy it’s because we’ve shoved everything into a cupboard, the spare room, or onto our bed and shut the door.

Well you know what, enough is enough. I have a friend who has a rule that you can’t come to her house unless she knows your house is equally messy. Let’s all adopt it. Or at the very least, don’t start hyperventilating when you visit your friend’s house and it’s spotless. Go quietly, find that closed door, and take a relaxing breath in knowing that they, just like you, are pretending that they can do it all.

 

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Breaking through the fourth wall

Have you ever looked at another parent and thought “I know what your child is telling you, if you just do something-or-other then they’ll stop crying/whinging/hitting/shouting/etc”? I know I have. Pre-children I thought it was as easy as listening to your child, putting yourself in their shoes, then responding appropriately*. Now however, I know different. I know that every mum and dad are constantly swimming against the tide asking themselves what their child will want next. A minute-by-minute struggle to manage their little one’s hunger, tiredness, boredom, excitement and all the while trying to enjoy every second. (After all, that’s why we had kids, right?) Now I see that amidst the maelstrom of daily life there is little energy left over to put yourself in their shoes and give the best response to every situation. I’m sure there are some mothers and fathers out there who are perfect and always know exactly what their child wants and needs. They probably even find time to give their halos and good clean once a week too (none of that “I’ll just give it a quick once-over with a baby wipe” nonsense for them.) I am not one of those parents though.

Now as I take an unnecessary walk to the shops so that little Jim can have a sleep in the pram (we’re not very good at naps in the cot) I’ve started wondering if I could break through the fourth wall? I might be able rediscover the pre-children version of me who will be able to see me and James from a distance and then give me some advice about what I ought to be doing? A sort of conscious out-of-body experience. After all it’s a lot easier to give advice when you’re on the outside and I do feel like I could use some advice from time to time! Darn it I’m going to give it a go. Heck maybe I’ll start talking to myself as well…

*This is my particular parenting style, others are available.