It’s a good job I have playdates in my life. Ahead of one of my best friends coming over with her baby, last night I did the 30-minute intense clean up. This includes a full downstairs hoover, kitchen wipe down, full putting away of the dry-up mountain, toy management and general “I really had better wipe off that tea stain/bit of baby vomit/unknown crust from the table/surface/sofa/carpet” that has been there for some time.
Why I feel this pressure when my friend has known me for years is bonkers. I even lived with her for six years. She knows my domestic secrets and I know hers (her parents coming = any visible mess under the bed). She wouldn’t judge a bit of mess, or dirt or general germs that may reintroduce the plague, but still I feel the need for the house not to look like a scene from one of those life laundry programmes. To be honest the pre-playdate clean is a blessing. It always gives me the push I need and quite frankly it needed it, especially as my baby has recently discovered he can open the larder cupboard. And what better fun than pulling onion skin off and littering it around the entire house? Who knew, I have missed out. Plus the ability for my daughter to shower her “hoop” cereal across the kitchen table before blowing bubbles in her milk creates some mess.
Currently my son has a fondness for wiping his cereal covered hands across anything in his reach, which shockingly seems to be the reach of Mr Tickle and includes the laptop on the table, nearby chair and even the toy rack the other day. Failing that he launches bits of food across the lounge during meal times, which can have an almost physical theatre style if he’s on the edge of tired. And his highchair smackdown or sidesweep creates quite some devastation.
But pre-playdate these telltale signs that I’m not a supermum must be hidden, so scrape up the dried-on food and clean up the mess must continue.
One of my friends once said it’s not very good for the sisterhood to always feel we need to present these immaculate show houses when essentially most of us are in the same boat (failing those with au pairs, maids, cleaners etc.). She is so right – we should celebrate the general chaos a family brings and present the reality, but actually sometimes it is enough to near break me. I don’t want to sit surrounded by squaller.
And now I’ve done that I’m sending Mr Mother Fudger links to the robot hoovers we absolutely must buy before I head to the library to pick up Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch. I’m honestly not joking.