Saturday, April 22, 2017

I'm not a good house keeper

 ....I just am not.
It has bothered me for years that I'm not good at keeping the house spick and span.
In fact it has been a real source of shame and anxiety for me at times. I remember several years ago having a bad dream about my mother coming to my house, looking at the state of it and just shaking her head sadly sighing 'Oh Teenie!'
At times I feel so bad that I can't invite people over or panic for days before guests come, tidying up and cleaning the best I can, getting crosser and crosser with everyone and the whole thing.

But yesterday in the bath (where I do most of my quiet thinking) I realised something: although I am not a good house keeper, I am a very good home maker!

So the house may never be tidy. I may not ever have the time in the mornings to put away the breakfast things before leaving for the school run....
post breakfast mess
 I may never find the time to change the beds on a weekly basis, the windows might only get washed when someone offers to do it for me. But I am getting better at being ok with that. And I am getting better at asking for help; the kids clean their rooms and make their beds (after a fashion, but it is sort of getting done) Rebe is getting better at clearing up after her baking sessions. I have a wonderful lady who comes to help me mop the floors and clean the bathrooms once a week.

chocolate finger prints mean home made chocolates in the fridge
 But what I realised yesterday is that it is all about choices and priorities...

I would rather push this girl on the swing than plonk her in front of a screen so I can hoover the living room...
 I'd rather let the kids play with scrap wood in the garden than worry about how untidy it looks
 I would rather hold this little boy while he does his sitting up practice than go and sort out the spare room.
I cook from scratch, make my own bread, plan every meal to make it as nourishing for us all as possible. All that cooking takes time, time I don't spend cleaning and tidying.
I use (often home made) cleaning products that are kind to the environment, 

and because I choose not to use bleach or spend hours sorting and soaking and separating the laundry, paint stains don't get washed out properly. And I certainly don't iron the clothes... we are lucky if the clean washing makes it back into the drawer before it needs to be worn again!

I would rather read stories, I would rather we make play dough, I would rather go for a walk on the beach, I would rather listen to how someone's day was. I would rather the kids craft, bake and create without worrying about making a mess. I would rather do some knitting. I would rather Garry feels he can have all his stuff around him. I would rather....
So cleaning and tidying is not my priority. I always have said that I am a stay at home mum, not a stay at home housewife!!!

But back to my inspiration in the bath, although I am not a good house keeper, I am a very good home maker.
For me a home is somewhere everyone who lives there feels at ease, at peace and happy.
It is a place to be heard, a place for fun, a place to sort out your problems.
A retreat from the world.
It is a place to celebrate and be celebrated.
It is a place to find yourself and find your place in the world.
And I think that if I were a good house keeper I would not be a good home maker. That is not to say that people who have wonderfully clean and tidy houses have not made lovely homes (you know like the ones you see on blogs and pinterest) what I am saying is that I know what it would take for me to create a house like that and I would much rather spend the energy on making a home.
So I am making peace with the mess, with the dirty window sill, with the full-to-the-brim-spare-room-that-I-will-sort-out-one-day, I am making peace with it because this is a beautiful home, and we are all so happy here.


  1. I relate to so much of this! My challenge is that not everyone is ok with the mess in my house or feels at peace. It such a struggle to balance, but I also am seeing as my kids get bigger it is easier to have some semblance of order, but I still want to do all the other things. It is so good to be at peace with where you are.

    1. I get that too. I would rather we had much less stuff making everything easier to look after but there are 7 of us living in a pretty small space so the stuff seems enormous I don't however feel it's my place to get rid of other people's stuff and that takes a lot of breathing through and accepting. But as we all grow older I feel it will change by itself. Thanks for your comment xx

  2. Such a beautiful post, well done! Completely agree, the pressures to keep a perfect home are so unnecessary x

    1. I think I might blame stupid cleaning product ads for that, or maybe even patriarchy generally, thanks for the comment and for sharing of course xx

  3. Thank you for this. I know that for me, I would much rather you do things with your kids, take moments for you, and create beautiful patterns and dolls than bleach your counters.

    Honestly, I have never once thought about your housekeeping in all the time I've read your blog. I actually share your pictures and stories quite a bit and say things like, "Isn't she just so wholesome? Look how she does so much amazing stuff with her kids! I want to do something like that too." Never, ever have I looked at a happy baking disaster and thought, man, doesn't she ever clean? Mostly it's, wow, she has five kids and seems really put together. And I love her kitchen. Your life is too sweet to worry about the smudges on the windows. Seriously.

    1. Oh my goodness that is just the loveliest comment ever thank you so much!!! I feel really good about finding my peace with this and I feel very happy that when the moany, critical voice in my head says 'look at all this mess!' that I can answer well it is a lovely home and we are all happy here, and I really do feel good about that. Thanks again so much for your lovely, kind words xx

  4. Thank you for this post. I couldn't agree more that home-making is so much more important than home-keeping. My daughter tracks mud into the house, gets flour all over the kitchen and does messy art projects,etc. If a family does a lot it is impossible to keep a house perfect. So when I see a perfect house in which little children live, quite frankly, I question the amount of doing going on!

    1. I love the message that you send your daughter too, that her exploration of the world is more important than a clean floor. Thanks for the comment and encouragement xx

  5. A show place or a home that looks lived in
    I go for number 2. It's always the happy place. Childhood and moments shared are relatively short. You will have a lifetime to be a domestic goddess in the cleaning dept. If you choose. But then you and Garry might run away from home some days for your own adventures. Life doesn't wait but housework does. Your putting your time where it matters-your FAMILY. :-) Adrienne (NZ)

    1. You're dead right, I know this time is short and one day the house will be still and quiet and I will be able to walk across the room without someone clinging onto my legs. So I breathe through it and LIVE xx

  6. You have five beautiful, healthy, very happy children! Your home looks cosy and comfortable. You are doing a wonderful job.

  7. Oh Laura, I love this so much! Thank you for sharing this- I am very much like you in this respect! HUGs

  8. Such a great post ~ love your blog x