On the joys of cleaning

I just finished cleaning my flat, and it feels good. I love the feeling of positive energy it brings with the windows thrown wide to dry the floors. I love walking around with bare feet and not getting bits stuck all over them, I love going to the toilet and not staring at streaks of toothpaste and puddles of grime and smelling toilet smells while I’m sitting on it.

For me there are 2 types of cleaning: the first is everyday picking up, more like clearing. Me and G (DH) usually do this last thing after all the kids are in bed. Together we clear up all the odds and end that have built up over the day, we empty snack bags and the buggy, sort the kitchen out, brush under the dining table, the couch pillows get plumped. I love sitting on the couch after that, usually I’m showered too by then so I feel like the day is “done” and I can just kick back for a bit in the quiet, tidy space.

It’s also the time we wrap up the day and think about the following day. We get food out of the freezer for tomorrow’s meals and have a little sense check of what is coming up, we talk about the ins and outs of our day. If it is Sunday night we get the calendar down and look at the week ahead and organise how to deal with any appointments or obligations, we make a weekly meal plan and a shopping list. I usually make another list of things I want to get done during the week, and if there is a really big task or lots of paperwork to be done we divide up the jobs we need to do on a list each and make a date as to when they will be done by.

We have learned by trial and error that these things cannot be talked about and done properly with kids around, we need relative quiet to organise our minds and our household stuff. In non-stop times, when we have too many social commitments, when we get the kids to bed too late or I need early nights because of broken sleep exhaustion or illness and we don’t have “an evening”, we try to communicate through kids’ chat and interruption, but it’s not the same.

I really appreciate this little routine that we have, it helps us to function well as a family and as a couple. Things are not perfect between me and G, but this is one of the things (one big thing) I appreciate and value about our relationship: the routines, the rhythms of family life, the pleasant sense of one foot in front of the other, of being together on the same page, our family values of home, food, activities, all coming together.

The other type of cleaning, the ‘heavy’ cleaning, gets done theoretically once a week: hoovering, mopping and getting the bathroom (used to be changing the sheets too, but learned through trial and error that usually just after changing sheets someone would wet the bed, so now I just wait for that). This type of cleaning breaks you out in a sweat and you need a shower after. It involves picking up all sorts of stuff before hand so as to get to the floor and bathroom. I tend to go around the house with an empty washing basket, plop all the stuff that shouldn’t be where I find it into the basket, and then walk around with the basket putting it all away. Sometimes I forget the putting away part for the moment, and an annoying basket of random crap sits around until the next time I need it for clean clothes.

Other stuff, like cleaning the walls, kitchen windows, fridge, or doing deep decluttering, happens a few times a year, and these moments usually mark rhythms in our family life, too. They happen before Christmas, before births (there have been three in the past few years!), before big life changes (going back to work/school) or over the summer when G is often here alone and he goes to work on the deep layers of mess (I know, what a gem).

Most people I know here have a cleaner, it’s normal here in Spain, though it wasn’t where I grew up in the UK. When I have some extra cash I think I will pay someone to do my heavy cleaning once a week, at least while the kids are young. I feel like it will be buying back 2 hours of family time, time I could be out with them at the park or library.

Sometimes I have wished for a maid to just come and tidy up at the end of the day when you are just exhausted. I’ve fantasised about those rich people who don’t lift a finger. But maybe it wouldn’t be the same. Maybe I wouldn’t have the same sense of family rhythm and connectedness to my partner. Maybe less satisfaction of hard work done well, a sense born of getting to work on the flat, finishing the task, showering and sitting here boring you lot about it! Haha.

 

Note: just doing a bit of blog “cleaning” here and had to LOL at the idea of what I wrote above being true to me in the now. Now I work, the idea of all this organisation is LAUGHABLE: Lists! Decluttering!! Nightly shower!!! I think I went back to full time work mere days after this was written, so looking back it’s quite ironic that this was probably the last time my flat was actually clean. Ha!

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On the joys of cleaning

Boy child returns and we are all change

Boychild came back last week….in the end it was almost 5 weeks. I missed him dearly at first, and then got used to it it. That’s the thing about life, in the end, you get used to anything.

Now he’s back, and it’s great. He’s more mature, less volatile, full of stories and fun facts about the UK and films he as seen (inappropriately violent, watched with cousins, mostly). There has been less fighting, and a bucketload of laughs on the house over the last week. Nice. 🙂

he has also come back to change. I managed to get myself a job (woohoo!) and will be starting full time work in 8 days (can u tell I’m counting down…?). My DH will be doing the back to school/nursery thing with all the kids, I will be out of the house most of the day working. Reverse roles.

I think it’s going to be positive and tiring. The kids are going to 3 different schools, 2 of which are new so double adaptation. I have this feeling we are about to go into this new and taxing rhythm. School, clean clothes, meals, shopping, work, illness, play dates, clubs….it’s all consuming.

I’m concerned I won’t have time to write. My lunchtimes at work will probably be taken up coming home to breastfeed and then running back. As I will be seeing my kids so little I don’t think I will choose blogging over them during the week, however good it makes me feel. So that leaves the weekend…I’m thinking I might manage 1 post per week, we will see.

No doubt this new phase will be challenging. But you get used to anything, in the end.

Boy child returns and we are all change

Super Sweet Blog Award

Cupcake4Another award post! Can anyone tell I’m trying to get through a humongous amount of writing? Nothing to do with impending return to work and total lifestyle change…yikes!

I got nominated by the lovely workingmothersassistant she’s got some really cool advice, tips and tricks and is a been there and done that mum/mom, working hard to keep her blog going, with all that “free” time we have. Good on you mama and thanks for the nomination!

The rules for those nominated:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2. Answer 5 Super Sweet questions. These can be found down below.

3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award in your blog post.

4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other deserving bloggers.

5. Notify your Super Sweet nominees on their blog.

Here we go…

1) Cookies or cake? It’s a tough call, but if I had to choose it would be cake. Soft, sweet, glorious cake. Another cool thing about being a mum: kids parties=cake!!

2) Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate.

3) Favourite sweet treat. Milk/white choc napolitana croissant fresh from my local bakery.

4) When do you crave sweet things the most? After lunch or dinner.

5) Sweet nickname. Nope, no one has a sweet nickname for me. Sad, innit.

Nominations:

middleofthemess

myfamilybliss

goodnightmush

nikkiyoungwrites

mycrackedpot

thefascinationsofavanillahousewife

doodlemum

foolishsagewisdom

cynicaldaddy

momtimes4

OK, that’s it, ‘cos with the last 3 award posts I have exhausted all the blogs I know and read!

Happy weekend!!!

Super Sweet Blog Award

The Leibster Award

A few days weeks ago I got this lovely award from Mummy Flying Solo. Her blog is down to earth, witty, it’s a bit like sitting down with a cuppa and chatting to an old friend…I find her posts easy to read and understand even if they are long (long blog posts often have me scanning by the 3rd paragraph, but not with MFS!). So, I’m honoured and touched that she should bestow this upon me! Thanks lady!

1. Winter or summer? SUMMER: watermelon, beach, open toe shoes, a smattering of freckles..what’s not to like?

2. What is your specialty meal? The one you cook to impress. HMMMM…I do cook a good chicken/squash risotto (it’s all in the stock).

3. Do you clean your teeth twice per day AND floss? Yep, especially since I became a proper adult and spent a silly amount at the dentist in the last few years. Clean at least 3 times, floss twice, interdental brush once. I kid you not.

4. Have you ever tried meditation? Yes, I don’t do it regularly, never have, but I go through phases where I wake up early and do some yoga and meditation before the house wakes up (not since blogging…!). I try to focus on the now as many times as I can each day and be mindful.

5. What do you read to keep your brain active? Blogs, parenting books, self-help books, magazines (The Green Parent is a fave).

6. What is your favourite book of all time? The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle really changed my life, as did old school self-help You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. Novels, so many…Siri Hustvedt’s What I loved, Luke Rhinehart’s The Diceman, anything by Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, I also really like many of Anita Schreve’s books as well.

7. If you could be stuck in a lift with someone who would it be? My oldest and dearest friend Erica, who I dreamed of last night, funnily enough! I would happily be stuck in a lift with her just to spend some quality time chatting with no kids yapping at my feet. She has had the patience of a saint since I had kids (over 7 years!!) having to share every conversation with a baby/toddler in tow.

8. Favourite new song released this year? Hahahahahah, gone are the days of knowing new songs released. I like Adele though.

9. Best ever holiday? All the ones I’ve had in Greece. I’m half Greek and though I grew up in the UK, I had endless long, hot, summers. As a kid snorkeling, as a teen clubbing, as an adult sunbathing and reading, and as a parent playing and splashing with my kids at our island home. I’m very, very, very lucky.

10. The gift you enjoyed giving the most. Giving my son his bikes, both times! Classic kid gift, classic family moment.

11. Do you tell your kids about Santa Claus (or will you if you don’t yet have kids)? I have gone along with the whole santa thing, leaving a mince-pie, carrot and sherry, the lot. The deal is I won’t lie if they really insist on questioning it though, so boychild at 7 knows…but girlchild still believes. Got to keep some magic in their lives!

Now I nominate 5 blogs that I like (the bit I like reading the most on award blog posts).

Thegratitudenist :apt, inspiring, level.

Mentalmom02:funny, pithy, strong.

themmmmmfamily :Warm, uplifting, balancing.

thefortunateartist:creative, thoughtful, interesting

theleakingboob:funny, versatile, opinionated (a good thing!)

Now my 10 questions.

1) Sex or sleep?

2) Last book you read and enjoyed?

3) Last blog post that made you LOL.

4) Best cooking blog/website.

5) Do you recycle? Why/why not?

6) Last meal you made that everyone in the family actually ate.

7) Fave food!

8) Chocolate: white, dark or milk?

9) Inspiring female role model.

10) Inspiring male role model.

The Leibster Award