I work from home part time. I have a 19 month old at home full time. This tends to impress people, but I make no secret of the fact that this comes at a cost. By prioritising my child and my work, I am dropping the ball elsewhere. Specifically, housework.
Now, let me preface this by saying that no, I’m not the only adult in my home and yes, we should share the responsibility for keeping it clean. And we do. But the reality is that I’m at home more often, so when things aren’t nice I’m living with it more and so I end up being the driver on this. For right or wrong, it’s just how it is.
Judging from my friends and the internet, other people do not struggle with this as much as we do. I’m guessing this has a lot to do with the fact that we were never the most house proud before Small joined our ranks. But as he gets older it becomes more and more necessary to keep on top of things as he bolts around the house, opening drawers, taking all the shoes from the shoe rack, tormenting the dog…
And I’ve tried so many things. And so far I’ve found them all to be entirely unrealistic in their expectations. Perhaps my toddler needs more supervision than others? Perhaps I’m wrong in my priorities? Perhaps my house is a magical mess magnet? I don’t know. But I do know that I quickly become overwhelmed by any system that promises to help me keep on top of my house.
The last few days I’ve been trying something new. Something far less restrictive and far more appropriate to getting things done with Small in tow. I have been going into a room that I can safely be with Small (i.e. not the bathroom with all it’s interesting cleaning products), setting a timer and working. He sometimes helps, he sometimes he hinders, but it means I can focus my energies on what feels realistic in that moment. Rather than worrying because I haven’t vacuumed, because of course I haven’t when both Small and Doggy are scared of the hoover. Or feeling bad because I can’t get through the list for the day. Because who needs that sort of feeling? As long as there is progress, I’m calling it good!