A friend came round this avo, with her wonderful children. Her nine year old asked to have a go with the camera and of course I said, ‘Yes!’… but now I’m sat going through the photos cringing.
There’s over one hundred photographs – many of his sister and my six year old daughter posing in various outfits, scenes from the garden, close ups of various items and a few experimental ones that are a bit out of focus (but good on him for trying the ‘manual’ setting… erm – I confess to being mostly stuck on automatic). All of those photos made me smile and laugh. The photos that make me cringe are the close ups of my house ‘exposed’ – the reality, that is my every day with two children at home full-time, when people come round without me having an hour (more like a day!) to clean it.
There’s dusty shelves, fingers prints and smears on the polished veneer of the piano, piles of random stuff on most surfaces and toys strewn across the floor, dirty windows, an overgrown garden lawn and a couch removed of its, carefully positioned (for good reason), throws.
But then I reminded myself of what IS important – and all of the above felt a little less cringe worthy…
I’d rather respond to a child’s request to paint and bake than say, ‘No, I have to dust.’
I’d rather curl up and read a book with my child, than say, ‘No, I have to mow the lawn.’
I’d sooner jump on the trampoline with my child than go shopping for a new couch (and though I discourage them in a very firm voice from jumping on other people’s lounge suites – of course it’s an absolute ‘No!’ – I don’t actually mind them jumping on our couch and watching the TV on their heads).
It’s always a balance – I want to be present for my children, responsive and listen – but there is a practical need to keep the house in some sort of order. Most of the time I try to live in the middle – but there are moments when I can’t stand the mess anymore and pack the children out for the day with their Daddy so I can have a good blitz. The results never last long – but it’s nice to remind myself, once in a while, what the house can look like – given a day without three whirlwinds creating mess faster than is humanely possible to keep on top of!