Sunday, 24 March 2013

Mess Monsters

There are many times since having children that I’ve wished – purely in the interests of scientific comparison, you understand – that I had webcam access to other people’s lives.  And with every year that passes I become increasingly convinced that I’m not doing the practicalities of parenting properly. 
How exactly do other people manage to rustle up a nutritious tea when their newborn refuses to be put down for 2 seconds?  I know, I know, slings, but these always made me worry more on a H&S-proximity-to-cooker front than the crying.  Not to mention that everything took twice as long with one on.  How do other people cope with toileting hell at a motorway service station with a newborn, toddler that needs help, and bigger one that is insistent about locking themselves in the toilet?  And don’t even get me started on trying to manage food trays in the restaurant with these in tow.  Yet everyone else looks so serene going about their business (ok possibly not in Asdas, but that’s another story).  I have come to the conclusion that it would be immensely valuable to have some kind of course dealing with these dilemmas - starting with storage techniques.

I mean I only have 3 children, and we don’t have a ridiculous amount of gear – the usual wellies, trainers, school shoes, coat and macs – yet the house is in a perpetual state of trying to retrieve vital items from towering piles.  Take our doorstep – I mean this scenario is not normal, it is?  And I can see it is somewhat distressing to our parents, even though I make a cursory attempt  to sort into pairs when we’re expecting a visit.  Partly this is the result of my husband running, and requiring about 3 pairs of working trainers at any one time all of which involve large amounts of mud .  But this is really just the tip of the iceberg.  Every now and then I try and impose a rule of 2 pairs of shoes per person on the doorstep, and there is vague effort to try and humour me for two hours before the whole system descends into chaos again.  Shifting them into the garage isn’t the answer as the mice just eat them (they will eat anything, our mice ... windsurfers, dog food ...).

The thing is we bought this house because it has fairly reasonable storage, and we have a coat cupboard and backdoor porch, but these too are packed to bursting point.  Many is the time that I have tried to initiate subtle conversations around friends’ houses to get at what exactly happens to all this STUFF, but all I can conclude is that some degree of witchery is involved.   I have met precisely one person since becoming a parent who admits to a similar degree of organisational failure, and I will love her forever for this.

Then we have our hall, which is attractively accessorised with a pile of school/nappy/ work bags, and an even bigger pile of coats on the chair overflowing from the coat cupboard.  There just isn’t anywhere to keep all this stuff!  I don’t remember it being like this in my house growing up.   We even have a cleaner, so presumably once a week - before we all enter the house- things look halfway presentable.  I am not even going to start on the chaos that is our office (corner of dining  room), as I’m very well aware that this is pretty much purely down to me.  I can only conclude that the mess that is my house fairly pretty accurately reflects the chaos inside my head these days.


  1. I feel your pain. I only have two children, and feel as though I spend my entire day walking round, picking up, putting away, wiping down....and the place still looks like a tip. It's all so tedious.

  2. I look back at photos pre-children & it seriously looks like we were into minimalism (we weren't).

  3. Great post - I can't understand how the more space you have, the more space you take up. We seemed to survive (just) without any coat hooks at the back door. Since installing 8 coathooks they are continuously overflowing and coats are dropping to the floor due to overloading... how does that happen?!

  4. Wow, I am in awe at coping without coathooks, I will be popping along to your blog for tips!