Messy House Worries
Before I had my daughter our house was fairly neat and tidy on any given day. Let’s face it, back in the pre-baby days I could wake up and get out of bed on my own terms, and then if the urge struck I could jump in the car and zip off to a yoga class, ohhh and then maybe take myself out for breakfast. Then cruise back home to get stuck into work or perhaps relax some more or maybe do some gardening or even….clean up the house!
These days….our house is more often messy than neat and tidy. Initially the mess and constant tidying up did bother me but as time has gone by either I’ve just learnt to not stress over it as much or maybe I’ve just become used to seeing our house more messy than clean. Whatever it is, it is ok. Really it is. Trying to keep a home neat and tidy with small kids running about is simply something that is not going to be achieved regularly. I do my best. Between running my business and working from home and being a stay a home mum, there a honestly bigger things to worry about than a temporarily untidy home. Don’t get me wrong, some days it does frustrate me but I’ve learnt to breathe it out and not to sweat the small stuff. It doesn’t help that we have a small house, a very small house. There is limited space to put stuff so it ends up looking cluttered and well, messy! On the flip side, the beauty of having a small home means you do live simpler. There’s just not the room for unnecessary items!
So when I see another pile of dishes, never ending loads of washing, dusty shelves, jobs that need to be done….I just stop, breathe and get some perspective….life is pretty darn good. I have a home, a nice little home, a awesome front yard full of Australian natives, a good sized back yard big enough to kick a ball and run around in plus we have enough space for a veggie patch, how cool is that! Appreciation and gratitude of what I have soon pulls me back to calm and realise it’s really all ok. I have a roof over our heads, we have healthy food on our table every night and never go hungry, we are a happy and loving family, I have a supportive husband and happy and healthy kids so hey…what does the mess matter really. Take it or leave it family and friends because that is the way it has to be for now. I am sure when the little one is in school the house will return to some sort of order but until then, we’ll just do what we can.
Looking back to my childhood, we had a reasonable sized home. Nothing fancy, just a simple 3 bedroom home that was big enough for 7 people. I am the fourth of five kids. My parents had 5 kids in 7 years….yes, madness!!! Our house was pretty much constantly in a state of untidiness. Washing galore, it never ended. Dishes in the sink, that never ended. My Mum did the best at being a mum and wife as she knew how. My Mum was an only child, her mother passed away when she was 10 years old and then it was just her and her father. No relatives that we knew of, no cousins, no aunties or uncles, it was just her and her father. They lived together happily on their 80 acre farm for years and years. It was just the two of them right up until Mum met my dad in her mid 30’s in fact.
These days when my house gets messy I often stop and think about my Mum. My Mum who had zero extended family support around her with 5 kids. My Mum whose husband who worked away at sea for days at a time. My Mum who had no female role model in her formative years. Oh poor Mum, what a massive shock to the system both physically and mentally having so many babies so quickly must have been for her. It was Far North Queensland in the 70’s when Mum was having babies, raising babies, then toddlers, then teenagers in the 80’s. We didn’t have luxuries in our house. No air con, one bathroom upstairs and the stinky fishing bathroom downstairs, it wasn’t unusual to dodge cane toads, frogs, spiders and other creepy crawlies in that bathroom. Needless to say, I avoided it as much as possible! There were us 3 girls sharing one room, the 2 boys in the other, we didn’t have a microwaves, no dishwasher. It was cloth nappies all the way for Mum, disposable nappies weren’t an option, there were no conveniences of wipes (which are so not eco-friendly anyway!) there were face washers galore. I remember there being tons of facewashers! We certainly didn’t have a cleaner or babysitters, there was no help for mum around the house, good lord we didn’t get our landline phone connected until the early 80’s! Mum drove herself back from the hospital each time she had a baby and the nearest hospital was an hours drive away. Far out! that’s seems just crazy doesn’t it. It was really tough going for some women…and for my Mum having babies took it’s toll on her both physically and mentally. While we didn’t have a lot, we all still got on with life with what we did have. No one ever really complained. Mum certainly didn’t complain. Life was very simple and that was that, and we got on with it.
Sadly both of my parents have passed away. My Dad in 2015 and my mum passed away in 2002. The relationship between my mum and I was strained to say the least. I realise now, all these years later, that she did the best she knew how at the time. As a teenager I’m pretty sure I was a hormonal nightmare to my Mum. My Mum irritated me, we were never close, we rarely spoke to each other, there was never any physical affection, no hugs, no girly chats, definitely no “I love you’s”. I was however, close to my Dad, my Dad was a chatter, gave big hugs, he always had time to talk to everyone, an intelligent gentle man who was always smiling. But I always remember Mum being tired, always tired resting, never tidying up, never fussing about the kitchen getting meals prepared, never asking how our day at school was. She’d rather be painting, sewing, reading, looking at the plants and birds in the garden, feeding the chooks anything it seemed than spending time with me. As I said, our relationship was strained. We didn’t gel. It was difficult at times as a young girl to have such a distant relationship with my Mum but I didn’t know any different, it was just the way it was. I saw friends have wonderful relationships with their Mums. I used to be partly envious but also partly confused of their bonds. Why wasn’t my Mum and I like that?
I realise now more than ever how hard it was for Mum, really hard. She obviously had post natal depression and pretty sure that occurred after baby #4, ie; me. Mums father died while she was 6 months pregnant with me. His passing would have had a huge emotional impact on her. Her father meant the world to her and was the only link to her past, and he was gone and she was stuck with babies, a husband that worked away a lot and no one to reach out to for help. Mums undiagnosed depression is not uncommon for many women at that time. They used to say the world was full of neurotic women during the 60’s and 70’s…hmmmm funny that. The depression (but what I thought it was at the time was a drama queen mother with intense mood swings) would come and go throughout the remainder of her life. All of us kids left home young. I was the oldest to move out at 17. Once we had all left home I think Mum was in her own recovery mode for a couple of years. Then in the years after that I sensed she felt she got her freedom back and appeared happier. Very active with her personal endeavors, environmental pursuits, crafts, painting, patchwork. I always felt like I was a burden to my Mum. She seemed happier when I wasn’t around.
When I had my daughter I was very aware that I was predisposed to depression and made a conscious effort to address any “warning signs”. When my daughter was 6 months old I took myself to my local GP and got a referral to see a psychologist. I saw her for a few months. While I did my own “self help” therapy dealing with the relationship I had with my Mum for many years after her passing it was this psychologist who helped me really tap in and heal. Seeing her definitely helped me get through that first year of motherhood. A lot of discussion regarding my childhood and my parents, naturally my mum and my relationship in particular was talked about in detail.
Here we are, 14 years on, at 43 years of age I finally have peace with my Mum. I have always felt having my daughter saved my life. She saved my relationship with my mum and she saved me emotionally. I am happy to say I now have a good relationship with my Mum. That may seem like a silly thing to say seeing she passed away more than a decade ago! but I have let go of the resentment. I wrote my Mum a letter forgiving her. I wrote this letter 8 years after she passed away. It’s certainly taken me some time to let go of the resentment and negative emotions but I’ve made it. Writing is incredibly healing and such a powerful, simple tool you have, literally at your fingertips that can do wonders to help you move on with your life.
So what has all this got to do with having a messy house? In a nutshell, it’s just not worth worrying about.
Get the main stuff done, that’ll do for now, the tidying up can honestly wait. Have a nice dinner prepared for your family, food is always a priority in our home, we always try to eat together at the table and it helps so much connecting everyone.
Be nice to your kids, smile, laugh and play with them. That’s the stuff they remember and will cherish.
Perhaps this writing is helping me to continue to move on. It is scientifically proven that writing heals and I for one, most definitely believe that.
Breathe, relax, smile and have fun. Be grateful, be kind and try not to sweat the small stuff. Life is fleeting and goes by in the blink of an eye. Get busy living, not busy stressing out over mess. Let go so you can move on. 🙂
Until next time,
ps – as I write this, I look around and see the endless pile of dishes in the sink awaits, I have washing to take off the line, and a glance at the carpet says it would like to make an acquaintance with the vacuum but hey…my head is clear, my home is a happy one and I am grateful for that 🙂 Don’t sweat the small stuff xx