The one where the art of homemaking…eludes me

vintage laundry

I was thinking today as I stepped out of the house full of kids for 20 minutes of peace while I ran some errands, that half the reason I never feel in control of our home, apart from the fact I share it with 2 miniature dictators, is that homemaking has always seemed to elude me. I’ve tried all manner of approaches to try and make the domestic drudgery that goes with staying at home as a main carer an exciting project, but frankly it never worked.

I’ve tried:

Viewing it as a job. My husband once suggested I retitle myself CEO of the home. I snorted into my cold tea. Admittedly some of the other parents I’ve met along the journey I may have referred to as ‘colleagues’, because they seemed to have put all their previous work energies into parenting, but seriously CEO of the home isn’t a job I would apply for if I saw it in the paper. I suspect there may be truth in the statement ‘teachers make the worse parents’ a classroom of teenagers I can rule, a home with small children is quite different.

Establishing a routine. I’ve tried to have ‘washing days’ as my Grandmother would have done, cleaning days, personal admin days, batch cooking marathons. But that too is boring, I spent 18 years in education, plus another 8 in teaching, I reached the point where I could no longer follow a timetable or hear another bell tell me what to do. Enforcing one on myself seems cruel.

Going with the flow. I have tried to accept that life with kids (or with messy me) will never be perfect. I’ve tried to rise above the mess, to accept it can all be sorted in an hour if I really want to. But when it is raining and you can’t find an umbrella, when you are greeted by last night’s dirty dishes, when your lack of tumble dryer or washing ‘game plan’ means you have only damp pants to wear, well, it just dampens your whole day.

Paying the experts. We have had a cleaner and I think it may be the best way forward. I’ve cleaned enough hotel bedrooms as a student to feel I’ve paid my cleaning guilt dues. I’d happily go off and clean someone else’s house, anything but pick up the same blooming toys for the millionth time in the week, just so I can clean under them.

Investing in the tools There are thing to make the jobs more pleasurable. I can vaguely get motivated by some new microfibre cloths, a dotty peg bag, a vintage pattern laundry basket or perhaps a new (wipe clean) table cloth. I’ve attempted to find the energy to makeover a couple of rooms, again expert help is called for.

Thrifting. I’ve tried meal planning and budgeting, introducing a new recipe a week, Anything to make cooking a meal for the rest of my family a more exciting challenge than it currently is.

I know every job has its boring elements. Do you have any tips for making the routine bits more enjoyable?

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