So we have already established that with five children to take care of, time is a luxury. How I spend my day is very important because, with so many peoples lives to keep organised there is rarely enough time to achieve much more than the basics. If everyone is clean, well fed and watered, having been escorted too and from their various destinations it can be considered a good day anything else is a bonus.
There are things which must be done which are essential to our lives. Meals must be made, food must be purchased, clothes must be washed. We can't go hungry, we must shop in order to eat. We can't walk around naked - well OK we could but trust me this village is never going to be ready to witness that not so delightful sight and anyway do you know how cold and wet it is around here, icicles hanging off nipples not a good fashion choice for anyone - again I digress!
Cleaning however is not to my mind an essential task. Yes it makes the place look pretty and yes OK there is the hygiene aspect but Granny used to say 'you've got to eat a peck of dirt before you die' and we all know that Granny knew best.
The problem with cleaning when you have lots of kids is it is just so demoralising, I mean you start cleaning one spot and by the time you have finished they have reeked their own particular brand of havoc on another three. It is like painting the Forth Bridge, by the time you have finished it is time to start all over again. I can think of so many better ways to occupy my time than constantly cleaning things for them to immediately dirty, if it never looks like I have cleaned it why not just leave it dirty and have done with it. Hell, I could sit down and have a nice cup of tea instead, if I could actually find space to sit down!"
I did try following Flylady once, for those who don't know this is a website designed to break us all out of our 'no time to clean' rut. Flylady suggests baby steps of small tasks which you build up slowly into a routine. The first idea was that every night if you do nothing else you must shine your sink. She says that in the morning when you see your clean sink it is like getting a hug from yourself. Hmmmm. Well I gave it a go, you can't say I didn't try. I shined the damn sink. I went to bed knackered and got up the next morning ready to feel the hug as I saw the shine..........................thud! As I saw Steve's early morning cuppa and the dregs of his brew blighting my lovely stainless steel I realised that this only works if you are the last to bed, first to rise and even then someone will find a way to thwart your efforts. If you are currently single with no children then please by all means carry on, but for me Flylady is not to be. It's like those bleach block loo cleaners you put down the loo last thing at night which supposedly clean the loo while you sleep so you wake up to a sparkling pan with no effort required. How come in my house someone always needs the loo at 3am? Thwarted again!
There are so many times when the kids ask to do something and my reply has to be 'in a minute, 'maybe later', or 'we can do that when we have more time.' Certain things can't be put off, cleaning can be. I put off enough fun stuff as it is, anymore and there will be no point in getting out of bed. To my mind anyway. I certainly don't want to wake up one day and wonder when my kids grew up and how I missed it because I was spending all my time in the company of Mr Muscle and Mr Pledge.
My friends know my opinions about cleaning. When we moved into this house some lovely friends came to help us. One of them put the cleaning box (yes I do have one circa 1999 and I'm still not sure what is in it) on a high shelf in the kitchen. Another friend pointed out that me being only 5ft 2ins would not be able to reach it. The reply was 'it's OK Helen doesn't clean' A fair point.
Actually that is a little unfair, I do clean sometimes, occasionally, before family parties, Birthdays and a token gesture at Christmas, I also clean frantically when pregnant which is apparently why Steve has fathered so many children. When the house goes from generally messy to disaster zone he suggests another baby - two birds one stone - job done!
So if when you call round our home is a mess, if it really doesn't look it's best. I apologise in advance for the carnage you see, I was busy enjoying my kids, too busy to clean.