I had a fantasy of the kind of Mum I would be. We have a family friend who used to post pictures of all these amazing bakes throughout her maternity leave, whilst raising three children. Obviously I was going to do the same. Obviously. Of course life and a baby got in the way.
We moved house just over a year ago when I was almost 9 months pregnant. I had my work cut out even before the baby came along. I had boxes to unpack, a house to scrub down, and furniture to set up, and that was before I could even get the baby’s nursery sorted. By Week 39 the house seemed like it was in some form of order, and I had Samraj’s clothes and crib ready for his arrival. I’ve never been the most house proud of people but I like my home to look tidy and clean enough to live in without feeling completely grossed out. The physical constraints of pregnancy made bending over nigh impossible, so tasks like cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming were difficult. I had to rely on the Husband to do my half of the tasks, which I found really upsetting because I personally don’t like feeling dependent on others.
After the birth of Samraj, my house cleaning regime went to shit. The first reason was that I had just given birth and any form of bending or squatting or movement would add to the aches and pains. Secondly, when was I meant to have time to clean?! The baby was on a feed, sleep, poop repeat cycle with no breaks. Someone told me that babies sleep for 20 hours in the early days. My baby did not. His naps would last 20 minutes and if I could get a mouthful of food in in that time, it was a miracle. Cleaning my house was the least of my priorities. Even if the bathtub situation was looking a bit grim. And bless the husband, he was so knackered from trying to help during the night, working during the day and managing guests in the evening or looking after the baby so I could shower, that getting the vaccum out was just not going to happen.
Also, when do people vacuum please? You can’t do it when the baby is awake because it terrifies them and not when they’re sleeping, because you know, they’re sleeping. Asking for (all my) friends.
Before I knew it, it had been an age since I had dusted, or scrubbed, or steamed. We got into a habit of doing the bare minimum, so our home looked presentable if guests were coming. I still am finding my way around Samraj’s routine. One day we think we have it down and we know what to expect, and the next he decides to drop his nap and it’s all fallen apart again. Even if I had the best of intentions to do a cleaning frenzy, Samraj would decide that would be the day he wouldn’t nap at all. An unclean home can impact anyone’s mental health. Knowing you have something to do and not having the motivation or time to complete the task really eats away at brain space. Even when you’re attempting to enjoy your cold cup of tea, it’s harder to enjoy when you can see dust on your TV stand and bits on your carpet.
I started getting really worried about how I would cope once I was back at work, which is now only a few weeks away now! How does one manage childcare, work life, home care, cooking, social life and maintain their relationships with their family all at once? I’m sure I have done it before, but having a break from most of it for the past year fills me with a sense of dread.
Then came into my life Mrs Hinch. What a woman. Like I said before, I am not particularly house cleaning mad. Mrs Hinch is an Instagram and internet phenomenon, a cleaning guru as claimed by many tabloids. She simply videos herself cleaning her house everyday, giving handy tips as she goes. I watched her IG stories for amusement at first, but a few weeks in, I started thinking “hmm that product looks good” and found myself in an Asda aisle looking for it. I met other people in the aisle looking for the same products, and we conversed about how “Mrs Hinch made us do it”. Check her out guys @MrsHinchHome.
~ Hinch up your life- and your baby’s life too…~
I slowly built up my cleaning supplies Narnia and I am pleased to say that I have finally completed my Spring Clean… in November. It was an amazing achievement for me. I think I scrubbed the entire house, room by room, one a day. I broke it down and didn’t pressure myself to do more than I could possibly do at that time. Since that deep clean, I simply keep on top of it daily, using Mrs Hinch’s handy tricks. I Lenor spray my bedsheets and curtains so they stay fresh. I put away all my dishes before I go to bed so I don’t wake up to a job first thing in the morning. All these little things make all the difference.
In my own IG stories, I put forward a few questions about managing the household v life. 62% of my followers cleaned their homes themselves, with 38% investing in a cleaner. And 50% of you did it whilst the baby was awake, and others when their baby was sleeping. How guys?! I personally have to wait until Samraj is asleep because his inquisitiveness does not allow me to do anything that is a few metres away from him. At some point, he will have something dangerous in his grasp. Today it was a paper plane. Don’t even ask.
My followers gave some fantastic tips on how to manage work and home in a Mentally Healthy way:
- Get a cleaner if you can afford one. The main jobs are done for you and you only have to top up to ensure your home is sparkling.
- Split the housework with people who live with you, and even people who don’t live with you. I’m sure any doting grandparent would be willing to give the kitchen a wipe down when they come over to visit.
- Wake up a little earlier to get a few jobs done. Put on a timer and see how much you can get done in that. You may be able to get a load of laundry on, empty the dishwasher and get the cereal out in the time you could easily spend scrolling on your phone.
- Set yourself a strict Monday to Friday routine.
- Split your tasks over the week, setting the bigger tasks earlier in the week with less to do at the end of the week. By the end of the week, it feels like you are winding down to the weekend nicely.
What great tips! You guys are great, and have a much greater grasp of work life balance than I seem to have the moment! I’m sure it will come with time and experience.
Hope you all have a great week ahead, full of fun, laughter and all things Christmassy as we head into the festive finale of 2018!
Lots of love