I was cleaning in vain today – of course it was in vain, I was cleaning with two small children but what I mean is that my ‘veins’ were literally pulsating in my neck. My fitness level is zero and I can tell you hauling a hover up the stairs with a toddler under one arm while encouraging the three year old not to play with bleach is no mean feet. By time I had commissioned the three year old with his mission of wiping mirrors and distracted the baby from using her endless curls as a toilet brush we looked in good shape. Ten minutes later the three year old was bored and had run away with the polish and the toddler had followed with the cloth, I could only assume they had gotten the ‘cleaning bug’ and had gone to restore order in another room. Meanwhile I hovered the rest of the house.
My main objective when ‘cleaning’ is to involve the children as much as possible. They have to tidy away their playroom each night and each morning leave their bedrooms in an acceptable manor. The slogan I regularly holler is that ‘Mother is not your slave’ although I’m thinking of making posters as the message is not being received.
The result I expect from a cleaning spree is that the hover is used to some degree. I cannot tell you it is always used as created – often it is a horse or a stand for a den, and that there has been a spritz of polish in every room. I have come to expect that the smell of cleaning products will have to do over any actual scrubbing. I especially encourage the polish scent over any doorway much like a ceremonial anointing of oil to keep the spirits at bay, I squirt polish over thresholds to trick visitors into thinking there is cleanliness present. The dust merely smirks at me from each room; ” At ease boys, she’s not gonna get us today”
Now I don’t want you thinking I am some kind of work shy cleaning fop. There have been times when I have cleaned so thoroughly that even the fridge has been moved from its dust lain foundations. There have been plaques erected in honour of those days but i do try and clean as often as I can.
Yet as you can surely imagine it is not easy to keep on top of three children, two adults and two kittens, who are temporarily using a box in the kitchen as a toilet. But I also refuse to be one of those people who clean more than they sit. I like sitting. I like sitting with my children, my husband and the kittens. I have come to realise that cleaning in my house is usually reserved for when guests come. Much like the opening scene in Home Alone when they’re late for the airport, we all zoom around the house in fast-forward tucking things under things, throwing toys in boxes and ceremonially squirting polish upon door-frames. We want our house to be a home where everyone is welcome, family mess and all.