Random ramblings and TV-inspired activities

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Slummy mummy, out and proud...

The Scarlet Letter for the 2010s would be an S for slattern, surely? Yet I am a slattern. I am coming to terms with this, and deciding life would actually be happier if I stopped beating myself up over having a house that is more sideshow than show-home.

We don't live in filth, per se - my filth-tolerance is lower than my other half's. Or at least, I get more upset about it than he does. If only I had known than "fondness for housework" should have been on my wish-list for the ideal man. (No, really.)

It's so pointlessly futile: the constant battle for order against the forces of entropy. Clean against kids.

I clean the floor under the dining table, a proper on-your-knees-scrubbing job, three times a day. I have to: Baby Boy spreads his food liberally around the general area of consumption. My daughter often encourages this by blowing raspberries at him while he's eating. He, of course, imitates and sprays a fine layer of porridge/spaghetti/rice pudding across everything. Including me.

So following on from that, I don't see the point in making that much effort in my appearance, if all I am doing is child-wrangling. (When I am working, it's different. I have, to my knowledge, only turned up to work once with baby-snot on my shoulder.)

My nails are short, as I don't want to scratch my little ones, and there's the small matter of the washing up, which wrecks any attempt at encouraging non-flaky growth. I know I could put gloves on to do it, but it's rare that I get to stand at the sink and focus on washing up. It's usually a case of rushing a couple of plates through while making sure the kids stay within line of sight. There's the washing up from breakfast, lunch, kids tea, grown-up dinner, plus sundry drinks receptables that gets done.

There's all the washing of clothes to get done. That's about ten washloads a week by the time you take into account the bedding, the towels, the kids clothes, my clothes. Kids get through a lot of clothes - paint, food, other stains you don't want to examine too closely... Husband does his own washing as he doesn't trust me not to wreck his clothes. I don't know how this state of affairs originated, and it annoys me that he thinks I can't do it, but I'm quite happy not to have the extra washing, all the same.

My hair, like my nails, is short for practical reasons. It's not that hard to untangle baby-fingers when they clamp down on two-inch lengths of hair. As my daughter knows, let them get tangled in anything longer and it'll bring tears to your eyes. I'm quite happy with short hair though, it suits me and I am in and out of the shower, dried and dressed within 10 mins, or the length of an episode of Squiggle It. It baffles me how my husband seems to require so much longer. I think I've lost the knack of taking over an hour to get ready these days...

As for shoes, there's no point in wearing ones you can't run in when you're out with toddlers. My daughter's pretty good, but I wouldn't like to guarantee she'd not bolt off at any given moment, with me in hot pursuit. (Last time it was in Waitrose. That'll teach me to get ideas above my station for supermarkets!)

There's another reason wearing heels isn't really an option at present, which is due to ongoing back problems endured since Pregnancy The Second. It is no fun having a dodgy back, even less fun with two kids. I really feel Victoria Beckham's pain. But at least high heels aren't at the cornerstone of my persona.

I love my trainers. I am more attached to my current Punkrose than I have been to a pair of trainers in years, but I'm mentally preparing myself to part with them. They're getting a bit (whisper it) stinky. And with a suede finish they're not going to wash well. They've been the most comfortable shoes I have had in ages, accommodating my wide great-for-yoga-not-for-shoe-shopping feet. And I love the star motif, it's what called to me from the shelf before I bought them. They're not doing too badly either, considering they've been worn pretty solidly for six months. Look:

It's a shame they're just not as fragrant as could be desired. And I do feel a bit slovenly as I slip them on to leave the house. Like I should be wearing 'grown up' shoes by now, or something.

I have a mixed relationship with shoes. I buy them, and then somehow on the way back from the shop, the stylish yet comfortable footwear I tried on morphs into some torturously uncomfortable instrument of pain. (I admit there may be an element of self-deluding optimism that I will 'break them in', some kind of temporary insanity that overwhelms me at point of purchase.) But life is too short for painful shoes. Shove 'em to the back of the wardrobe, they won't be lonely...

Which brings me back to the subject of heels. On one hand, I do think they look good, on the other I'm aware of the feminist argument against heels. But the bottom line is that I don't have the patience to be bothered with shoes that hurt my feet. Harking back to Victoria Beckham, bunions are something my life can do without. (And it doesn't always stop at bunions - my feminist bosom heaves disapprovingly at the idea that right now in the 21st century "some women are even going under the knife to shorten their toes or inject padding into the balls of their feet to allow their feet to fit more comfortably into a pair of stilettos (Sherr). While these may be oddities of fashion, they gesture toward an exciting array of fashion choices women have today." "An exciting array of fashion choices"? I can't really get excited about foot mutilation...)

So here I sit, in my stinky trainers, food covered jeans, looking at cat-hair tumbleweeds roll across my floor and I think should I be making more of an effort? And then I think, nah, Baby Boy will be up for a feed in an hour or so, I'm off to bed...


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