The Perfect Housewife?

I’m a working mum. I’ve accepted that this is the way things have to be, and am lucky that I actually enjoy the job I do which makes things a whole lot easier emotionally when what I’d really like to be able to do is stay at home all the time with my children. Often on a day off I don’t feel like this as I’m being trampled upon, badgered to go to the park in the pouring rain or finding myself engaging in a conversation with my 3 year old as to why getting the paints out in the middle of the night is not a good idea, but ultimately I love this part of my life.

The bit I find the most difficult is juggling to the two. Working three long days, and being home four, I feel that I still need to be the perfect housewife, that on my days off, my husband should get in to a house of calm, that has been cleaned and smells of fresh bouquets, while the children have played happily, followed by a delightful home cooked meal which we sit at the table and eat, with perhaps some cookies that the children have baked as a special treat before bed. That’s how it happens in the movies isn’t it?

Instead, my poor husband generally arrives home to a house where it looks like a tornado has gone right the way through the lounge, that smells of poo because I’ve forgotten to take out my 1 year old’s nappy, and we can’t sit at the table to eat our dinner because it’s covered in the painting that the children have done, and the dried on porridge that I haven’t noticed from breakfast. At this point, the children are usually watching tv while I run around trying to cover up my hopelessness as a housewife!

Obviously the children play a large part in why I don’t get the house spick and span (does anybody actually use that phrase any more?!) along with work. Just this morning I got an email detailing several hours worth of work that I will need to do, and I have to fight the temptation to sit down and do this work, but it’s my day off, and I neither went part time in order to work for free at home, nor did I do it to clean the house. I went part time so I could enjoy the precious few years I have with my children before they start school. It felt like this would be a very long time, but having submitted my daughter’s school application last week, I don’t know where the time has gone at all.

Sometimes people do come to my house and tell me I’m doing a great job. I smile graciously, but don’t tell them:

  • I iron by hanging the clothes up when wet, then sitting on them and patting them down when they’re dry
  • Baby wipes are my multipurpose cleaner – I don’t know how I ever survived without them!
  • The beautiful ‘art wall’ is only there to cover up the children’s literal understanding of when I said ‘Wouldn’t it be good to have our very own wall with all your drawing on it?’
  • Most of my polishing is done by blowing the dust away
  • My daughter gets more use out of her play cleaning set than I do out of my real one
  • Those randomly placed stickers that I blame my children for, were actually put there by me to cover up a multitude of sins

So I’m not the perfect housewife, it’s always one step forwards, two steps back, and I’d love to know how people do manage to achieve this domestic bliss. Answers on a postcard please! I’ll leave you with this photo. The room was immaculate. I went for a wee, then came down to this – I don’t stand a chance!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cake and Tea Blog
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 10:36:01

    I’ve just gone back to work 3.5 days a week and I’m exactly the same- you can’t see our bedroom floor because it’s covered with laundry. I can’t remember the last time I ironed anything- if it doesn’t dry straight by itself, I probably won’t wear it! And yep, that lovely poo smell likes to take up residence round here too!

    I agree, I am not part time so I can do the housework, but sometimes (well, all the time) I feel like I should be taking the lions share. Unfortunately, I am crap at it and I really need a cleaner!


  2. (mostly) yummy mummy
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 10:44:32

    There’s that ols saying of tidying up while children are about is like ploughing the snow in a blizzard (or something like that!) and it is so true!
    I’m a stay at home mummy and so I have no excuse but I promise you that I never truly get on top of things! Goodness know how you do it with work thrown in too! I take my hat off to you, I really do!
    And do you know what, your lovely children won’t look back and remember how clean the house was – but they will remember all the fun stuff that you do together x


    • itsamumsworld
      Jan 13, 2011 @ 10:53:18

      Yes very true! Though they’ll probably remember me saying ‘I’ve got a few boring jobs to do first…’ It seems to have become my catchphrase! Anyway, must practise what I preach, time to get the paints out…


  3. Kate Chem
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 11:00:36

    My house started out being a state, so you can imagine what it is like since Ted arrived. I’m ashamed to say there are some jobs that have been waiting to be done since he was born!

    Google ‘flylady’ – if I had time to start it, that approach might be the start of the end to my problems (or maybe not judging by the comments of more experienced mummies!)


  4. LincolnAndMe
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 11:39:46

    We are ALL in the same unsteady boat lovely! It is literally a constant battle to keep my head above water.. And I drown often.. Brought back to life when I get Lincoln to have an extra long nap where the hopuse gets the “make do” treatment. Clothes get shoved, things get swept under stuff and blowing is my favourite dust technique too..

    But we’re all going to the heaven for good mothers who chose to not really give a crap and who care more about the time spent with our children ;o)


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