I’m such a big fan of honest parenting blogs. They give me a sense of belonging, I’m far from perfect in my parenting skills and I often think I’m not even very maternal at all, simply because I never “fit” into the description of how things are done in the books of “how to parent”. Those “against the rules” parenting blogs made me feel like, actually, it’s ok to not enjoy this sometimes.
As I head to my 30th year of life, I give a lot less fucks than I did when I first became a mom at 17, back then I wanted to be perfect, now? Well I just don’t give a shit. However, there is still one thing that bugs me. Some bloggers may tell me that I probably shouldn’t because, who cares, right? Even I wonder why I get so hung up on it but it still lingers.
I read a blog post the other day about a lovely woman who was describing that her house wasn’t fancy and the interior didn’t match and toys were everywhere and sometimes it was a bit of a dump. Sounded a bit like my house to be honest. The moral of her story was that her kids didn’t care what state the house was in and the only thing that was important was the fact they felt safe in their home. A very, verygood point.
But this is what bugs me; do children really care what state our homes are in? I know I did.
I know that sounds incredibly materialistic but let me explain. You see, I grew up on rough council estates and we moved house every three years or so. Our house, no matter where we were, was always the same; mishmash threadbare carpets, thick, heavy glossed doors in all sorts of eye watering colours, wood chip wall paper, none of our furniture matched, not even our couch and chairs.
Everything we had was second hand, handed down from my grandparents, aunty or bought cheap from a discount store. We didn’t have anything modern, even our fridge was a good 20 years old.
I hated it. I hated the state our house was always in, I hated not having simple things the same as other kids my age, things like an actual duvet instead of old blankets from the 60s.
I never invited friends to come over because I was always so embarrassed by the state of the house. From the age of about 7 or 8, I remember I was always the one who did the house work. I wasn’t forced to or anything I just couldn’t stand living in a dump. The mess never seemed to bother my dad (maybe because he was always drunk?) but it bothered me. Every day I cleaned the kitchen, tidied up the lounge, cleaned the bathroom and my bedroom was always tidy and bed made by the time I left for school. It still didn’t make much difference to state of the house in general but I always felt so much better when it was that little bit cleaner.
These days, my house does get in to a mess and it drives me insane. I’ve tried to instil good home etiquette on to my kids so they at least try to help with keeping the house tidy. But does it bother them if the house is looking a bit of a tip?
Well, yes. I guess sometimes it does. Especially my daughter. At the moment, we are renovating and she wouldn’t dream of bringing her friends over. Why? Because she’s embarrassed by the mess! She likes coming home to a clean house because, in her words “it makes me feel more relaxed”. It’s the same for Jordan. If I’ve made a real effort on his room and it’s spotless he will always thank me for doing it. On these days he also puts his things away tidy instead of the usual dump-everything-on-the-floor routine.
I think in a way there is truth in the saying “a clean home, is a happy home”. Just because a house is tidy and you don’t always see mess covering every floor or piles of plates stacked by the sink, it doesn’t mean it’s a boring house where no one is allowed to play. It just means 9 times out of 10, things get cleaned up when they’ve been used.
It’s taken me a long time to come up with a cleaning system that means I do less work than I need to but everything is still done by the time I do the morning school run. Everything is straightened back out by the time I pick the kids up or before Tom gets home. There’s no OCD happening here, just pride in my home.
I want our home to be a clean, safe space that my kids enjoy coming back to. A place where they feel comfortable to bring friends round or host birthday parties. A place where they can be comfortable, a clean space to study and relax. Yes there maybe days when I say “f*ck it, I’m not cleaning today” but that doesn’t last forever. Yes, I do always put my children before the house, but the house is still a very tight 2nd.
The important thing? A persons house does not define that person as a parent. I would never judge another parent based on their home, inside or out. We are all wired differently and different things take priority to us. For me? My priority is making sure my children don’t feel about their home the way I used to feel about mine when I was little.