As ever, another witty and wonderful post from Jo.
As a self employed single mum, my time always feels stretched to the max – kids, school, work, home – something just has to give, and that something is normally my standards of cleanliness. Being anything other than a domestic goddess is something we are all being made to feel guilty about, so I thought I would offer some crumbs of comfort by revealing my secret slummy habits, the corners I cut to keep myself sane.
I love reading other peopleâ€™s confessions. There is something fascinating and comforting about reading other people secrets â€“ the blog equivalent of reading Heat magazine. Just when you are feeling inadequate and lonely, you read that other women feel the same, that even celebrities sometimes go out with chipped nail varnish, and suddenly the world feels like a better place.
Today I want to focus on housework. I knowâ€¦ GROANâ€¦. who enjoys housework? Well not me. Of all the responsibilities in my life â€“ being a single parent, holding down a variety of jobs, not to mention a nice selectionÂ of voluntary roles, housework really is my lowest priority. In fact, I suspect I became a school governor just as an excuse not to clean the toilet. So when my juggling gets tricky, the first ball to crash to the floorÂ is always the cleaning one.
There are some forms of household chores I enjoy. Arranging my books in colour order for instance is always a pleasant way to pass an afternoon, especiallyÂ if I have a particularly pressingÂ deadline that I am trying to avoid. Iâ€™m not sure that tasks like sorting my make-up into pretty boxes really count as housework thoughâ€¦
So if you are looking to save time and effort around the house, here are my top five tips. Those with a fetish for cleanliness or who are easily disturbed should switch back to facebook now:
1. Crumbs â€“ they get everywhere donâ€™t they? My house is always full of bits. Sometimes I feel motivated enough to pick some of them off the floor (I donâ€™t have a Hoover) but then what to do with them? The kitchen is too far away, I have yet to install a bin in the living room. So when youâ€™re pressed for time, throw your crumbs behind the sofa.
2. Childrenâ€™s toys â€“ again, they get everywhere. And Belle gets as much fun out of a toilet roll or a piece of cling film as anything else. When the toys threaten to overwhelm you and you canâ€™t beÂ bothered fighting to get the kids to tidy them up, just collect them all up off the floor in a black bag and take them to Oxfam. It will make them appreciate what they have left. Honest.
3. Dishes â€“ now we know I sometimes hide them, but this is obviously only a temporary solution. My least favourite dishes are the ones my teen brings down at intervals from her bedroom â€“ cereal bowls encrusted with fossilised coco-pops, mugs stiff with mould. What to do? Just put them in the bin. Really. Out of sight and all thatâ€¦
4. Baths â€“ yukÂ yukÂ yuk. I particularly dislike cleaning that involves getting my hands wet. If you canâ€™t face all that bending and stretching but need to scrub the tub, childrenâ€™s bath time are ideal. While they are in the bath just give them some soap and a cloth and getÂ them to clean the tiles and other surfaces. You might want to give them a rinse down afterwards to get rid of scum (the child, not the tiles), but this is much simpler than cleaning the whole bath.
5. Beds â€“ sick of changing sheets? Ditch your partner. Become single and suddenly the need to change your sheets more than a few times a year goes out the window. Tada!
So thatâ€™s it. SlummyÂ Mummyâ€™s guide to housework. Some valuable advice there Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll agree. Do share your own time-saving tips!
Read more words of wisdom at Slummy Single Mummy’s parenting blog.