This is one end of our hall. The other end is even messier. There are five of us making this mess. Six, if you include the dog. (He’s responsible for making the carpets permanently filthy.)
Sometimes I look around me and think that it looks more like twenty people live here, we have that much clutter and footwear.
I often wake in the middle of the night and think I am failing as a woman/wife/mother because I am not keeping things tidier (I promise you it’s not all about the hall). But deep down I know that tidiness is not a representation of any sort of success in those roles.
So I thought about how I could get through the days (and nights) without beating myself up over every little imperfection.
And this is what I came up with:
Add “Look tired” to your list of desired achievements for the day. (TICK!)
Make “Emergency ponytail” your favourite hairstyle.
Make “Teaching daughters about feminism” your reason for having breakfast dishes on the kitchen table all day and a confusion of clean and dirty laundry strewn around the house
Add “Check Twitter” to every even number on your “(AS LONG AS IT TAKES, OKAY!?) To-do” list.
Add beguiling entries to said list, such as: “Read that thing I have to read”, “Google that important thingy”, and “clear out underwear drawer”. Tick them and put list on fridge for all to see. This turns the guilt of time spent reading, web-browsing and having no clean underwear into achievements.
Wear a “Period Pains Hurt!” t-shirt once-a-month – or anytime you need people to sod off and stop asking you to do too many things.
(“The Menopause Is No Joke!” “Ask Me When I’ve Had Enough Sleep” and “The Most Productive People Take Breaks” are also useful for sending an important message)
Get “Superwoman Doesn’t Exist”, “Oh, Sod it!” and “All the best people are a bit smelly & messy” magnets for your fridge.
Have a partner who is a partner and not a stereotype.
Before anyone can ask you about all the things you haven’t done tell them all the things you have done.
Every time anyone says anything about how much better things used to be when families were more disciplined, mention the mass, hidden, domestic, mental and physical abuse of women and children of the nineteen fifties and the inequality and fear of the patriarchal figure that stinted the potential of many people for many years and still fuels the guilt and perceived (= made up) duties of the twentieth-first century woman.
Know that the best people trust you and like you a lot more when they know that you are not perfect
Never allow chores or household appliances to remain an enigma. Repeatedly marvel at how fun and easy the dishwasher/washing machine/cooker/vacuum cleaner are to use instead of being truthful about how depressing housework is. (Now that I’ve read this through I want to point out that what I mean by this is other household members should be allowed and encouraged to do more)
Don’t be a domestic goddess because your daughters will think they have to be a domestic goddess and your sons will expect their wives to be a domestic goddess and you don’t want that do you?
Well. I don’t.