As a mum a lot of the work I do is invisible. If you weren’t here to see the spill on the floor, you won’t know I ever cleaned it up. If you didn’t see the kitchen utensils scattered from one end of the house to the other, you won’t know I spent half an hour tracking them all down. If you didn’t see the tantrums, tears, settling for naps, breastfeeds, packing away of toys, reading of stories, trips to the park, kissing of boo-boos, explanations to the 2 year old about every. little. thing. and the making of, serving of and cleaning up after every meal – then its like it never happened and I did nothing.
If you come home of an evening and the house looks relatively the same, that means I got quite a lot done. Some days living with two active toddlers is like trying to hold back a hurricane with a single finger, it doesn’t work.
Other days we get extras done. I mean the quick clean of a bathroom or the making of beds. That is an extra.
Now that I study the “what do you do all day” question bites even more. I do a lot. A damn lot. My head hits the pillow every night and I am mentally and physically spent.
My house is not perfect and I make no secret of the fact that I hate housework. I hate putting washing away, or drying the dishes. I don’t mind vacuuming because it’s quick but I can’t stand mopping. Polishing furniture bo-ring. I’d much rather reread Louis Pasteur’s theory on germs then clean the toilet. I will admit I put the blinkers on and chose to ignore certain messes. Wish my husband could.
But it’s not my husband who asks me what I do all day, at least not outright on occasion it is implied. And I will admit before my first child was actually born I thought stay at home mum’s were all about Oprah, lunch dates, shopping and Playgroup. I was wrong. I look back now and laugh, one baby that was easy.
My toddlers can be an organized and efficient demolition crew. While I’m cleaning up in one room they are pulling the other one apart. I almost feel like one day my husband is going to open the front door and it will all come pouring out like opening a flood gate. Some days it is more war zone then family home, I’m sure mums of toddlers can relate.
When my first was a little over 1 she could pull out all her toys and spread them across the living room floor in under 30 seconds. I timed her. She’s a mess making machine.
I don’t believe in training toddlers to clean. My 15 month old loves to copy me with a rag wiping down surfaces and my almost 3 year old will put her toys back in the toy box. She’ll also tell me when there’s a mess and attempt to wipe up her spills. I don’t expect them to clean, I don’t expect them to do anything, cleaning is not their job, playing is their job. I’m often told you have to train them young. I don’t think so. If they went to childcare and were sweeping floors or wiping down tables I would be livid.
So mum’s, we do a lot, some of it can only be seen by us, or our children, while other things like our happy healthy well cared for children are a testament to everyone of the great work we’re doing. Forget the tidy house, as long as it’s not a pig sty then it doesn’t really matter. Engaging with your children, that is what’s really important.
Speaking of which, I have work to do