'Pardon The Mess, My children are making memories'
'Good Mums have sticky floors, messy kitchens and happy kids'
These are two signs that you may see hanging up in my house if you popped round for a cup of tea one afternoon. You may interpret this as implying that I am too busy to clean and tidy but you would be wrong.
Picture the scene. I live in a relatively small house with my husband, four children, two cats and a dog. It is a busy, lived in home that is always alive with the hustle and bustle of life that comes with the territory when you are part of a big family. It is not a show home and I would never want it to be. I want my children to play and 'be children' and not tread on egg shells for fear of spilling a drink or making a muddy footprint on the floor.
As I am sitting here writing this, I can see a mountain of clothes piled up on the sofa. Glancing to my right I can almost see the floor of my conservatory underneath an assortment of toys. There is an odd shoe on the floor next to me where one of my boys was in such a rush to get to their next mission that they absent-mindedly kicked it off as they were running through the lounge.
I feel like I spend my life doing load after load of washing. I clean my kitchen at least three times a day, sweep floors at least once a day and mop floors every other day. I pick up toy after toy after toy and put it back in its place only for it to be moved again second later. I scrub bathrooms and wipe up wee from a misfired aim more times than I care to remember. I will often moan that cleaning my house is such a thankless task as it lasts for mere seconds.
I have had friends come round and say 'don't worry, you don't have time to clean having four children'. I had a midwife once take a step back as she entered the abyss that is my lounge and tried to find a clear path to the sofa through all the toys. My mum even once told me that a burglar would turn around and leave if he came to my house thinking that someone had already beaten him to it! When inviting one of my sons friends round for a play date he cheered and fist punched the air shouting 'yes, I love going round to their house as it is so messy!'
I should have felt embarrassed by this comment, but instead I felt pleased. I know that my house is cleaned every day. I know that I often stay up until gone midnight sorting out piles of washing so that my boys have clean clothes for school. I know that I wash, scrub and polish until the skin on my hands cracks. I also know that I allow my children to charge around and play in their home. They are four young boys and mess comes with the territory. If their friends feel comfortable in my home because they too can charge around and make themselves at home then I have succeeded in my mission to have a warm, welcoming home.
Yes it may look a bit messy when you pop round for a cuppa but that isn't because I have sat on my backside watching day time tv all day. It is because I have spent time playing with my kids, helping them with their homework, or preparing a family meal for us all to sit round the table and eat later. If I were to have a spotless show home I would have to spend every waking minute of my life cleaning and that isn't the life that I have chosen. I have chosen o be a mum of four and when I look back on these years when I am an old lady I won't sit there thinking how pristine my house looked, I will sit there thinking how I loved the hustle and bustle of our home with my childrens laughter and joie de vivre running through it. And if those are the memories that my children have too then my work here is done.