The art of running your household

Is there an art to running your household? Because if there is, I’d like to know about it, right now, goddammit. In desperation, I’ve just downloaded Marie Kondo’s book ‘The life-changing magic of tidying,’ on to my Kindle, because I am pinning all hopes on this book being able to miraculously get my life in order and help me to organise my household.

So let’s talk about my household.

We do not live in a mansion. I say this because I’m trying to make the point that our house should be manageable for us to maintain, but it isn’t. We have three bedrooms and three bathrooms, a living room, den, dining room and kitchen. I am in charge of every single one of those rooms. I clean those rooms, I know where everything (most things) is in those rooms, they’re my rooms.

Now, let me just defend my husband before I start unwittingly attacking him. Most days he is out of the house by 7.30am and not back before 7pm, and that’s six days a week, sometimes seven in the summer!  So already you can see that his time to do anything around the house is at a minimal. Or let’s just say, non existent. He’s not lazy at all, he’s just not available.

I work from home and I am at home everyday, when I’m not at weddings or meetings.  And that’s the worst part of working at home. In between the paid work, I spend my time doing the unpaid, menial work. I spend my breakfasts eating cereal and cleaning the kitchen and my lunch breaks hanging out washing. (Hence why plans for my new garden office are in the making.)

The management of our household is chaotic and disorganised. I have no set days for cleaning. We have no cleaner, as in a paid person to come in and clean the house. We have me! My husband has suggested this over and over, but I just can’t get my head around it.

That added to the fact that we already have a pool cleaner, it kind of would make me feel like I am living in an episode of the Real Hollywood Housewives or something, with their housekeeps, cleaners, chauffeurs etc! I guess because I’m one of those people who still sees having a cleaner as a luxury and not a necessity, I just can’t avoid feeling like it’s an unnecessary luxury. In my warped mind I see our pool cleaner as a necessity and a house cleaner as not, because at the end of the day, we can clean our house, but we can’t clean our pool, because we don’t know how to!

My husband does stack and unload the dishwasher and generally tidies the kitchen when he can. If he has a late start he’ll drop our son off to pre-school. He will, when he is home do his bath and bedtime too. He also does most of the gardening, and caring of our veggie patch. But everything else, I do. And because I am entitled to, I am going to list everything I do.

I do the washing, cleaning, hoovering, tidying of all rooms, all the cooking, most of the school runs and pick-ups, feeding the dogs and the food shopping. I DO NOT DO IRONING. EVER. Only if something needs iron, I’ll iron it, but I don’t stand and iron piles of clothes. EVER. (Who has time for this?) And I do all of this on top of running my busy-as-hell wedding business and helping my husband run his business too.

I also don’t give myself an easy ride when it comes to cooking either. Whereas it would be far easier and quicker to have takeaways and ready meals, I love food too much to eat bad food, so I cook everything from scratch, with fresh produce and homemade sauces and all. I feel better for it, even though it kind of kills me! Now that’s a sentence.

Yep, I am a goddamned wonder woman! But seriously, if being a wonder woman means having no time to think, breathe or be me, then maybe I need to re-think my strategies. The other day when I dropped my little boy off at school, the mum of one of his classmates said that my hair looked nice. And do you know why that was? Because I had brushed it! Can you believe that? I had a spare five minutes to brush my hair and someone noticed what a difference it made!

Right now, I’m not even joking, you cannot see the rug on our bedroom floor. It is covered in clothes, shoes, toys and there’s probably some food somewhere there too, which my little one loves to leave around.

I have always been amazed at how people can invite me around to their house unexpectedly. ‘Just pop in,’ they say. Wow! You could of course in theory, just pop in to my house, but you wouldn’t want to. I’d have to quickly brush the dog hair off the sofa, pick the cushions up from the floor, remove the train set from the hallway, kick the dogs off the sofa. The list goes on.

Now I don’t want you thinking we live in squalor, we don’t, but some days it seems like we’re not far off, ha ha! We are messy but we’re not dirty. I suppose that counts for something.

How do you work out who does the chores in your house? Do you have a rota? You see this just would not work for us. I could make a rota but it would not be followed. Do you have set days for cleaning or do you do it as and when? How do you plan your cooking?

One of my good friends, who is a stay at home mum, she has all of her dinners planned out weeks in advance, so that she knows what they are eating on a daily basis. I think that is amazing. I would love to be able to do that. Sometimes most of the time, our dinners are thought about, half an hour before they are eaten.

As much as I am all for equality, especially when it comes to chores, I don’t think you can have equality of chores. I would love someone to tell me I’m wrong, but I think there is always someone who does more of the housework than the other. Surely, that’s the case?

Our bedroom

Photographic proof that our house can be tidy. This cleanliness lasted all of half an hour!

And our current household situation really goes against my belief in feminism and who I am as a working woman, and my husband’s too, as he is also a feminist. I have my own business and work as hard as he does (and he knows this too) but unfairly, because it is unfair, I do most of the housework. But, it isn’t his fault either, it’s just the way it is. So what can we do?

I do feel like I am constantly drowning in housework and chores and that living in a slightly chaotic house is not good for my overall productivity.  I wasted fifteen minutes the other day, looking for car keys that were hidden under cushions which were lounging around in spots where they shouldn’t have been.

HELP!

And then some days I feel like, what is the point of me tidying up? Because it is only just going to get trashed within the hour, especially with a three year old running around. Seriously. About ten minutes after taking the above photo, having spent an hour tidying that room, my husband and son decide to have daddy-son bundles on top of the bed and then two of the dogs decided their beds weren’t cosy enough and made their beds on ours, once daddy-son bundles were over. Honestly, I think I’m fighting a losing battle,

Please, please share your wisdoms on knowledge on how you keep on top of your housework. Do you think I should get a cleaner? In my heart I know I probably should but I just don’t like the idea of paying someone (usually another woman) to clean up my mess. What is wrong with me?

Surely I should see having a cleaner for what it is, that I would actually be helping to provide some income for someone? Knowing me, I’d probably end up how my mother in law was when she had a cleaner. She used to clean the house up before the cleaner came, ha ha!!! And in the end, her cleaner actually quit because she felt bad taking her money when there was nothing to do! Actually, that would never be me. If I had time to clean up, I defintely wouldn’t need a cleaner.

Do you have any good tricks and tips? My problem is, I know I need to get organised, but I haven’t got the time to sit down and get organised! So I’m in this constant vicious circle of needing-to-organise-my-time but having-no-time-to-organise-my-time.

What a mess!

You’re probably thinking how I have time to even write these blog posts. Well, one day, just before the clock strikes midnight, picture me on my sofa, trapped between my dogs with my laptop wedged on my lap, my husband on the other sofa, laptop on his lap, fast asleep. That’s the time when my blogs are created, literally just before I pass out in a heap and awake seven hours later to start my crazy cycle again.

The difference is, writing is fun. Cleaning isn’t.

Have you got a topic that you would love to get off your chest and share in this Friday Life, Marriage and love slot? Do tell! I’d love to hear from you.

About the author

Natasha Johnson

Natasha Johnson is an experienced Wedding Celebrant, blogger and writer on all things related to weddings, in particular wedding ceremonies. Her mission is life is to encourage couples to see the importance of their wedding ceremony and to get married in just the way they want to.

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