It’s perfectly ok to live in a cesspit when you have a newborn baby. In fact, people expect it. They even offer to help. When you add a toddler into the mix it’s even less likely that Mum & Dad will get round to much cleaning, even when both are around. Looking after a newborn & a toddler takes at least 2 of you, most of the time.
By the time you have a toddler & a pre-schooler, people expect you to have got it together. I work part time at the moment, which means there is an expectation that on my ‘days off’ I am getting everything else done, such as the cleaning or the shopping.
The problem is, I have a toddler & a per-schooler.
Take this morning as an example. I haven’t had a proper go at cleaning for ages-we haven’t had visitors in a few weeks which is basically how long it’s been since I cleaned. I have wanted to hover-up for ages, but it just hasn’t happened, so today I had a go.
I got the hover out. I plug it in, I hover a mat and the entrance hall in full view of the children. “Mummy, what lou doing?” I explain that I needed to hover upstairs and leave them while I do. Cue heavy foot stomping. I hover about 3 foot and run down to check on them. They are chasing each other round the table like a pair of wild animels. There is a lot of giggling. This will end in tears but it buys me 5 mins to hover another floor. Back up the stairs. 2 rooms done, back to check on small people. They have wondered outside and are eating stones. Bring back inside and shut doors (it’s about 28 degrees centigrade, I really don’t want the door shut long) run back upstairs to hover another floor. Hear screaming, run back downstairs. All is totally fine, the screaming was for fun. Run back upstairs and hover a bit more. Move plug. Hover. Tidy a few things, hear nothing from downstairs, panic and run down. All ok-we are licking bits of Duplo. Run back up lug hover back down. Sweating! Hover the room children are in. Mistake! I take my eyes off them for one second to look at what I am doing and the hover stops working. They have actually unplugged the hover playing some kind of skipping game with the cord. I took my eye off the ball for like a second.
I give up. The hover goes away. ‘Mummy I help lou’ but the ‘help is anything but. I’m dripping in sweat anyway. Everyone’s shoes go on-I need to take them out to do something before they drive me, and each other, mad.
The bathrooms remain uncleaned. I still have to sit on the loo and look at piles of dust in the corner of the room, knowing I likely won’t get to them for weeks. The dusting is not done. No ironing has been done. There is washing in the basket waiting. It annoys me beyond measure that things are not as clean as I’d like but it is almost impossible to do it on my own.
Of course, The Husband could watch the children at the weekend while I clean, or I could watch them while he cleans. But there’s always more interesting things, like running and paddling pools and parties at the weekend. Always something better to do.
So now I’m faced with visitors at the weekend and a dirty house. And here I am the stay-and-play, that Mum who stares at her phone the whole time, a dirty (but half hovered) home to return to.
In my defence I was up at 5am with the toddler (who is now, of course, asleep!) which might explain why my cleaning attempt was short-lived. I have birthday cake to take to nursery to make tomorrow & it’s almost guaranteed to be another 5am wake up, so I doubt the cleaning will get finished then...