Thursday, 17 September 2009

Confessions of a sloven (Look away, Nigella!)

Try as I might, I just don’t cut it as a Domestic Goddess. I haven’t got that Secret Ingredient at the stove top, ironing board, kitchen sink, child’s bedside, etc. that the armies of Size Zero super-mummies the media bombard us seem to manage so effortlessly.

Really, I'm nobody’s idea of a Stepford Wife.

You want proof? Well, as I write these words my 12-year-old’s bedroom (tidied by himself) is the neatest and cleanest room in the house.

Yes, it’s THAT bad.

Today is one of the days I work from home - which is great. Or at least it would be if I didn’t have an over-developed sense of guilt. I'm having great trouble focusing on the stuff those lovely people pay me to do – largely thanks to overflowing rubbish bins, a Himalayan mound of ironing, scraps of paper confetti-ed around the place, leaning towers of pizza plates, school books yet to be wrapped in sticky-back plastic, bills to be paid, and a bathroom crying out for a bottle of bleach and a scrubbing brush.

I’ve always been a little bit of an over-achiever and tend to approach most new challenges with a Gung Ho! “How hard can it be?” attitude. So, it really riles when I fail to live up to the post-feminist icon of a Woman for All Seasons. I tell myself that there is no reason I can’t be that fabled hybrid of Career Woman/Earth Mother/Eco Warrior/Social Activist/Stand-up Comic/Champion Triathlete/Intellectual/Sex Kitten. If they can do it in the pages of Cosmopolitan, why can’t I?

Then reality kicks in, and I have to face the fact that the best I can hope for is to deliver the goods as a 9-to-5er, make sure the sprog isn’t starving or in tears, and recycle when I remember to. I must have inherited my dad’s slob-genes rather than my mum’s frighteningly-organised domestic DNA that would put a whole army of Nigella Lawsons to shame.

And the sparkling wit? Well, I can deliver the occasional one-liner when sitting down, if that counts.

I tell myself that all this guilt is a waste of time and energy. That I am an accomplished, gutsy, unique woman with oodles of va-va-voom. That I should focus on one thing at a time without beating myself up about the other stuff.

And as my gaze strays above the laptop screen to the chaos beyond, I decide there is just one answer.

I need a wife.
Someone to take care of the mundane, necessary chores of everyday existence. Someone to make sure there is food in the cupboard, that bills are paid, clothes are ironed and the milk in the fridge is not on its way to becoming cheese. Someone to soothe my fevered brow and make a fuss of me when I walk in the door at the end of the day…

…and then, I wake up.


  1. Yes, you'd like to be a Renaissance Woman, wouldn't you? I'd like to be a Renaissance Man. But the trouble is, I'm multi-untalented. Every day I'm forced to add another item to the list of things I'm totally incapable of doing. Apart from punctuation, that is. I'm pretty good with punctuation. Oh, and spelling.

  2. Jane Fonda once said that if she could, she'd have a husband, a wife, a boyfriend and a girlfriend.

    The husband would mend the plumbing, put up shelves, dig the garden and frighten off burglars.

    The wife would clean and bake and soothe fevered brows and offer cuddles.

    The boyfriend would provide sexual excitement and romance.

    And the girlfriend would be there for gossip, morale, coffee, shopping and partying.

    The point is that everyone - EVERYONE - has moments of self-doubt, guilt and feelings of inadequacy. I bet Picasso laid down his brush from time to time and thought: "Christ, I'm such a failure at conversation. I'm such a loner. All I do is paint. I should be out there having sparkling debates with strangers. Why am I such a *loser*??"

    That's the trade-off with Following Your Bliss - you paint/sculpt/write/run a marathona nd all you can think about is what a lousy parent/friend/daughter/conversationalist you are. If you're a great parent/friend/daughter/conversationalist you end up regretting not pursuing your dream of painting/sculpting.writing/running a marathon.

    And, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether your house is sparkling. If your son's hungry, he knows where the kitchen is. Bills get paid eventually. At my funeral I want people to say: "I really loved her - she was funny and nice and she smiled loads. I always felt better being around her."

    If people stood up and said: "Her house was immaculate and she paid her bills on time" I think I'd probably come back and haunt them until their eyes bled. In fact, I know I would.

    I love you to bits - you're funny and nice and you smile loads. I always feel better being around you. Your house can go to Hell in a handbasket. ;)

  3. Good morning! Just so you know, I don't work and I stay and home and my house is still in shambles. Yes, there's guilt that lies within and hopes that someday I'll get my act together and have an immaculate home...and then like you, I wake up. I've learned to let it go. If someone comes over and thinks my house is dirty or unorganized and go further as to mention it, I'd rather that they didn't visit. I have 3 small children, a husband and 2 dogs. They seem happy and that's all that counts. My mother had 6 children and always had an immaculate home now tells me not to stress because "the dust will be there tomorrow".
    Thank you for following my blog, I'm glad that you have. Your posts are refreshing and real -very necessary! Have a great weekend :)