There has been a fish finger poking out from under my fridge for roughly a week. Every time I walk into the kitchen I see it, like a little mouse poking its head out of a hole in the skirting board looking for cheese. Every time I walk into the kitchen it serves as a stark reminder of how utterly shattered, and therefore un-house proud I have become.
A friend recently admitted that she walks past a used tissue on the landing floor at least five times a day, vowing to pick it up when she has time. What has happened to us? Before kids I like to think I was a bit house proud, ok not on the scale of my mother or mother in law, but a bit. I am still in wondrous awe of their pristine bathroom sinks sparkling proudly without a hint of dried up toothpaste in sight. But then I tell myself, it’s because they have more time than I do.
Another friend told me that she recently had a (attractive) tradesman at the house who politely asked to use the loo. It was only as he was, presumably, mid-pee that she had the horrible realisation that her four year old son’s giant poo was still resting happily there. Abandoned and forgotten in the mad pre-school morning rush. Pre-children, would you ever have forgotten to flush a loo? Especially one containing a ferocious looking turd?
Time is not something I, nor any of my fellow (honest) mums, seem to have. It’s a cliché, but I wish I could stretch out the hours in the day. But even if I could, would I want to spend them scouring Weetabix, possibly the most adhesive substance known to man, off various dining room chairs and my once shabby chic table, which is now just shabby.
There are piles of washing around the house which I don’t even notice anymore, and am au fait with plastering on my make up using a mirror I can barely see myself in.
The problem is, I like to read aspirational magazines full of lovely pictures of glamorous families showing off their beautiful homes. I aspire to be one of those people. I even tried to organise the toys, which are slowly taking over the lounge, into categories. But after a long day, a kitchen piled high with plates and an evening of work to look forward to, I have to admit this structured approach has gone out of the window. Peppa Pig and associated vehicles now find themselves mingling with wooden jigsaws; and train sets fraternise with plastic baby dolls.
What’s more, the husband believes we are living on an oil slick, which would account for the mysterious black stains which appear on the carpet by the day. I’m informed, however, that administering Calpol at 4am in the dark with one eye open also results in said marks when dropped onto a cream carpet.
Truth is, I don’t even really care. I’m juggling freelance work with two children under five, gymnastics club, swimming lessons, music groups, nurseries, cooking meals, nurseries, preschools, cake sales, conference calls, voluntary work, gym visits, meetings, clients and play dates.
So really, does it matter if the lounge looks like a scene from Tom Cruise’s 80s post-party house in Risky Business and my kitchen looks ok so long as you promise to squint a bit and not touch anything?
I think the answer is no, it doesn’t, as long as my children are happy and healthy don’t resemble the cast of Oliver and I don’t look like a wild eyed crazed loon at the mum’s coffee morning then that’s pretty much good enough for me. Although I think I will go and pick up the fish finger now, and dispose of my friend’s tissue next time I’m there. Maybe I’ll go flush the loo too just to be sure.