You need to be organised to do housework, well.
You need to be clear about your objectives, ensure they are SMART (specific, measurable, achieveable, relevant and timebound), manage your time firmly, say “No” to distractions, and have enough of an open door policy to respond to your child’s needs. (Otherwise child morale drops and resentment creeps in and thereby undermines the household culture. It’s all about having a clear vision and executing with energy and style.
I didn’t sleep last night.
Grace alerted me to her needs at about 5.20. I stuck to my plan and ignored her. She grumbled but shut up after about 10 minutes. At 615, there were more demanding sounds. I stuck to my guns, until 635 when I went down and made myself a cup of tea and a bottle for herself.
The kitchen looked awful: coffee cup with black stuff still in it, crumby breadboard with last part of yesterday’s granary loaf, two child chairs in the middle of the floor, one bag of unpacked organic veg leaning up against the bin…
The body felt worse. The temperature felt too warm, sweaty. How long before E. comes home. We are short staffed today.
Soothers (dummies, doodies… must compile a full list of antonyms) soothe…
So I found one for Grace and turned on her battery-driven mobile. I needed time to unwind and go to the gym. So I sat down and planned.
Partly memory, partly instinct, partly desperation - I settled on changing nappy first, feeding in bed next and going to kitchen when she was smiling.
I’m not going to brag but…
it’s now 0854; I’ve had more tea and cereal. She gone back for a nap (cried for 4 minutes from 833-837). I’ve peeled 6 cloves of garlic, two onions, and lined up the celeriac & hazelnuts, after putting potatoes in cold water. In other words I’ve been preparing the soup for tomorrow evening.
I’ve introduced G. to the feel of celeriac and onion, including putting both up against her nose so she could smell. She’s had a good look at the inside of the fridge (I did not put her in.). She has seen me wash about 5 of yesterday’s bottles, each of which had stale formula and do the pasturizing (forget the right word), all in 4 minutes.
We have listened to a song on GiftGrub (more on this radio item another time). We have found a good cartoon for her to watch (she lasted 10 seconds before eye rubbing and grumbling started).
We have had a lie on the floor and she kicked on her gym mat.
I’ve swept some of the kitchen floor because some earth fell out of the potato bag while I was introducing her to that part of the menu.
Not bad for an amateur, a beginner, especially when we were so short staffed.
I am still in my dressing gown at 904
I’ve learned an important lesson: housework takes practice. That might sound trite but I come from the perspective of not having given it much thought before. I thought I could wing it. I was wrong. The more you do, the better you get.
The more you develop your method. The better your little tricks and shortcuts. The more you become able to multi-task - that feminine preserve…
You become a multi-tasker by practising it.
I’m going to have a lot more to say on this topic, after my shower. I would love to hear how you have grown your houseworking skills. I’m in the trial and error corner.