Housework versus blogging – can you have it all and write about it too?
Well that’s it – they’re back. (Back at school of course.) I know that technically this happened last week, but I’ve had barely a chance to register it.
The shock of getting back into a school routine has knocked me sideways.
After a glorious summer of much playing and hanging out with family, staying up late to watch films and wearing pyjamas at every opportunity, we’re now back into a world where days of the week are known by names like Gym Kit Day, or Swimming Costume Day. Or After School Club. Or Violin. Or Have You Sewn the new Badges on the Cub uniform day.
Nights drawing in
I’m not knocking it – I love autumn.
After the sun and laissez faire of the long school holidays, I love the feeling of hunkering down and nesting.
Drawing the curtains early, putting away the BBQ coals and thinking about logs and coal (okay this is London and a massive smoke-free zone so we’re thinking about smoke free fuel. But saying ‘put another chunk of smoke-free fuel on the fire’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as ‘pop another log on, darling’.)
Thank crunchie it’s Friday
Friday is my day ‘off’ (I use the term loosely. If ‘off’ means the ‘day when I launder, blog, catch up with life admin, drop off and pick up from school’, then this is indeed my day off.)
This is actually the first Friday I’ve had to myself for over 8 weeks, because of the school holidays plus last week when I spent a glorious week on an improvisation course with improv guru Keith Johnstone (watch out for my blog posts on parenting and improv, coming soon.)
I shouldn’t be blogging. Because the house is a state. Not a state like Wisconsin or Hawaii (I’d love to go to Hawaii, definitely on the must see list), although the piles of dropped clothing seem as large and looming as a state.
No, a state as in a mess – a ‘slowly we descended into chaos over the summer’ mess. Sometimes I think that the fun of the summer is in indirect proportion to the tidiness of the house (this is my excuse anyway and a lame one).
Knickers or blogs
So do I tidy the house or do I write? Or set my timer and alternate between the two madly, for 15 minutes at a time.
You see, like many bloggers I squeeze my bits of writing in between the other things.
Sometimes it literally is a choice between blogging and taking all the dry knickers off the radiator. Sometimes the knickers win. Sometimes the blog wins. There is no algorithim to predict which one will win. Although I challenge Google to create one.
It’s all a load of pants
Speaking of pants, they’ve been a big fixture in our household this week. In a triumph of good housekeeping, Chiswick Boy has been wearing Day of the Week pants each day, on the right day every day. I practically feel like a radiant Marie Kondo when I realise there’s a stack of pants in the second drawer down, that run neatly from Monday to Sunday.
Plus socks that actually match.
Who cares if you can’t see the living room floor, if your day of the week pants actually show the right day?
Although I’m aware that right pants and matching socks are a strictly start of term phenomenon. This time next week I’ll see just having clean pants, and socks that are vaguely the same thickness as a mark of achievement.
How does she do it?
I really have no idea how other people keep their house tidy and organised at all times. I know single women with a whole fleet of children whose homes are lived in and yet tidy.
For an example of how slovenly I am: Today I bought a pizza to heat up for my lunch as a ‘first Friday to myself’ treat.
When I opened the oven I realised that the leftovers from last night’s roast chicken were still in there, ready to be made into a risotto (I am actually sounding quite organised so far aren’t I? I mean, organised happy homes do things like turn roast chicken remains into risotto? Well, okay they probably also remember to put said chicken remains in the fridge and wash up the roasting tray.)
So I took the chicken tray out, put it on top of the stove, and put my pizza in.
5 minutes later I was struck by the smell of burning. Not thinking it unusual that I’d managed to burn the pizza (just slightly surprised that I’d manage to burn it so soon) I went into the kitchen and realised that one of the hob rings was on, was heating up the chicken tray, and the fat was burning.
(The pizza was fine.)
I turned off the ring, moved the chicken, came back to my macbook to write some more erudite blogging prose.
Then the smoke alarm in the hall started to go off. A delayed reaction from aforementioned burning fat.
I opened the front door to let fresh air in, I wafted a tea towel underneath, I begged to the alarm’s better nature – but none of these highly technical ways made it stop beeping.
I stood on a chair to find a switch off button but couldn’t find one.
Then I did what every independent, self-suffiicent would do – I phoned Chiswick Daddy at work, but he didn’t pick up.
As I write, it’s still going off happily in the hall.
A stitch in time
You know that old rhyme – for the want of a nail the war was lost (for the want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, for the want of a horse the knight was lost, for the want of a knight the battle was lost, for the want of a battle the war was lost – or some such thing.)
Well it’s true for housekeeping.
Today, for the want of cleaning the chicken pan out a whole hour of blogging was lost.
Will I learn the error of my ways?
And the moral of this tale? Will I become a domestic goddess with a beautifully kept house, shining with organisation and clear surfaces?
Will gym kit and swimming kit be found neatly put away each week, bagged and ready to go on the right day?
Will the violin practice book always be by the violin, the homework schedule near the homework book, the school forms signed straight away and put back in the book bag to be handed in?
Well nope. Not a chance. But not for want of trying.
But there will be lots of card games played before dinner, lots of bedtime stories read, lots of crazy Pinterest-fail crafting moments, and quite a bit of laughter.
Just not in the right day pants.
Happy new school term!
What about you? Are you organised to the hilt? Or are you prone to drifting into chaos?