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Why Mums Do Not Need To Worry About A Messy House
Why Mums Do Not Need To Worry About A Messy House
Our house has been chaos for months now and at times it has driven us all completely mad.
We've had our cellar extended, Pod built, window replaced, patio dug up, trench down the garden and now the decorators are inside. We have had people here, doing something, since last June. I just want my house back! I'm fed up of living in a building site. It's not good for my mental state or for the rest of the family either.
Keeping on top of the usual day to day stuff is bad enough but with people trudging mud and even more crap everywhere, we've all had our testing times. As per usual, it feels like mum - me - takes on most of the additional day to day cleaning or moving things from one place to another until I work out where they can go in this new chaos.
Also, is it only mums that ever take anything upstairs? I leave 'stuff' belonging to other family members on the stairs and they will happily walk past it for weeks. I think it must become invisible to everyone but me.
I keep going for a few weeks and then I throw all my toys out of the pram - adding to the mess! I tell everyone that I refuse to be the House Elf any longer. It works for a few days but then the mess returns. Things are dumped everywhere, builders walk over clean floors and I decide that it's probably best for me to just do it because I do like things to be tidy. It's the way I am. Call it my Virgo brain, tidy house, tidy mind thing or simply that I breathe more easily when my worktop looks shiny!
Our homes are supposed to act as our sanctuaries. They are the nests we return to for rest and nourishment before we venture out once again to spread our wings and fly. During lockdown, they have become our home, work, leisure space and everything else in between.
I certainly feel that my home has been surrounded by turmoil rather than harmony and definitely bathed in chaos rather than immersed in peace. I'm thinking that it might have felt a bit like this for you too?
How do we return any form of harmony to our homes within the reality that children make a mess - and actually, I love that they do because I know that they feel safe here? How do we keep our house in the state we need it to be in for our own mental health?
My thoughts are these:
- if you can afford it, get a cleaner. My number one practical solution. Cleaners are weekly drop-in angels who make your worktop shiny!
- accept that this is how it is because it may be like this for years. No matter how good intentioned you were about keeping only one room downstairs for child stuff, it grows legs and moves itself into every other space, including your handbag, the toilet and your car. Your house is going to look very much more 'lived in' than it did pre-children and that's ok. A lived in house is a loved in house. Our house is tidier now than it once was because it's not littered with toys. Shoes, yes - but not toys.
- try your very best to be good at tidying up once a day not constantly throughout the day. I know the temptation to move those Peppa Pig figures is real but do it once - after bedtime. That way it doesn't constantly feel like you're trying to put the dinosaur back with George. It's less exhausting if you do it once a day.
- do not own the problem of mess. It's stressing you out because not everyone else in your home sees it the way you do. Try to figure out what’s causing that difference. Are you assuming that every other home is tidy? It is not. Are you being fooled by all those beautiful social media homes you see? If so, unfollow them. You are chasing something that doesn't exist. Every 'real life' person with children has a messy house.
- don't see it as a reflection on you. If anyone who visits judges you because of it, you don't want them visiting again. They are not being supportive or friendly. On the other hand, if you really do need help with a good tidy up, turn it into a social occasion and invite the good people round to help!
- cupboards and Ikea boxes that go under things. It is my firm view that a few cupboards in every home should be reserved for stuff that has no where else to live and you don't want to see it all the time. I have a particular cupboard in the kitchen for plastic stuff that I open very carefully because something generally falls onto me when I do. It's very much; shove it in and shut the door as quickly as possible!
- cleaning takes time and you could be spending that time with your family. Trust me, they would prefer you to be with them; reading, vegging, cuddling much more than they want to see you washing up. I wonder how many 'tidying up' hours we spend that aren't really necessary? A passage I read out in my classes goes something along the lines of 'cobwebs and dust can wait but babies grow.'
- a tidy house does not equal to a good mum. Loving lots and being free with your time and your cuddles does that. When I was little, some of my best friends had the messiest of houses but they also had the greatest mums who they loved loads.
- this is a little deeper this one but is your need for neat masking something else? When I felt out of control after Grace was born, cleaning gave me back some sense of sanity. It wasn't for the right reasons but it helped me to hang on for a little bit longer. You can't hide in tidy for ever my lovely. If this feels even a tiny little bit like you, please tell someone. They will understand. I do.
- if it really does feel like a mess fest, go outside and leave it behind for a bit. Breathe deeply and know that it won't last forever. One day your babies will be grown. I'm dreading Grace going to University in September. I know that I will miss her shoes in the hall, coat on the chair, bra in our bathroom and AirPods on the floor. I will welcome her mess when she's home. And I guess that's the Circle of parenting life!
Let your house be the home that is right for you to live in. Not the place you think everyone else expects it to be. It might not feel like a haven every day but it is a place where love is freely given - in between the arguments because we all have those - that's a Note for another day!!
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What our mums say...
Every class provides a relaxed and friendly environment
I first attended baby massage classes when my son was 3 months old, and then went on to do mum and baby yoga, and I’m on my 4th block of classes now (my son is now 9 months old!) Every class provides a relaxed and friendly environment, great yoga for post pregnancy, focussing on pelvic floor exercises and breathing, and a general feel good hour where you can forget about the outside world. The cake and tea are a bonus at the end of the classes and I have met some really lovely moms through attending. Mandy has a special gift at teaching and she never fails to create a relaxed environment for the babies, who all seem fixated by her presence. I am so glad I found her classes as Wednesdays are my favourite days of the week! Cannot recommend enough.
I did want to say thank you. Your classes are fantastic - you explain everything so clearly and know which achy bits to work on. It has made me think that I should find a ‘normal’ (ie not postnatal) yoga class post-lockdown, but finding the time will be a big challenge! I also think that what you do for mums is great and I hope that you will be able to start your classes in person again soon. If I come across any mums to be or new mums I will certainly recommend you, although Arlo was a late (and very happy) addition to our family and most of the mums I know have kids at school now. That’s been another positive for me actually - being able to connect with people going through the baby/pregnancy stage as otherwise it would have been very easy to neglect that side of my life with the demands of having other young children. One of the unforeseen bonuses of Mandy's classes was that my baby always slept for three hours afterwards!
Mandy really encourages everyone
I first attended Mandy’s pregnancy yoga classes when I was pregnant with my first baby, the yoga helped hugely with my pregnancy aches and pains but most of all the support and encouragement from both Mandy and the rest of the group was amazing. Mandy really encourages everyone to engage with each other which wasn’t something that I had experienced in other groups I attended, it meant that I felt safe in asking that daft question or verbalising my fears! I then went on to attend baby massage and postnatal yoga with my first baby and again the support and ability to engage with other new moms was fantastic! I have recently had my second baby and attended pregnancy yoga, whilst I had less concerns and worries about pregnancy and birth the classes gave me a dedicated hour to have just for me...which was so important and you don’t get much time to yourself when you are running around after a toddler! I am now attending postnatal yoga and although this is having to be done via zoom Mandy has continued to provide a safe environment and an opportunity to engage with other Moms! Thank you Mandy you help me keep my sanity!
Mandy is such a positive influence
I went to Mandy's pregnancy yoga class for a block of 8 lessons. I enjoyed it so much that I kept going for another two blocks. You may think you're going for yoga, but it's so much more. Mandy is such a positive influence on how you feel about your pregnancy, birth and parenting. I gained friends, lost any fear of giving birth and am looking forward to joining one of her baby classes with my newborn.
I feel empowered as a pregnant woman and as a future mum
I signed up to the class to get to meet local expectant mums with the side benefit of a nice stretch. I did meet some lovely local mums and found it so helpful to have a space where you could talk about any issues and get advice or support. What really surprised me was how much I valued the yoga and stretching but mostly the breathing exercises. It gave me a toolkit of things to do during pregnancy and also in Labour and has made me feel excited for the birth! Mandy’s affirmations during the rest time have really spoken to me and made me feel empowered as a pregnant woman and as a future mum.
The class was so beneficial to me, to have a space just for me to enjoy my pregnancy and learn about the things I can do in birth to help it be a positive event. Thank you!
SO glad I'd found Mandy and her classes
I had previously been to a few different yoga classes and found them a bit intense and not what I was looking for. I heard about Mandy's prenatal yoga classes through a friend and it sounded just what I was looking for. From the first session I was SO glad I'd found Mandy and her classes. They are way more than a yoga class - meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation and a chance to chat to other expectant mums and soak in Mandy's wisdom. The jammie dodgers are a welcome bonus to the class too! Since lockdown the classes were via zoom and this worked really well and I still had the same sense of connection and relaxation I got from the in person class. Between classes I also did Mandy's yoga sessions on her website which really helped me stay relaxed and helped my aches and pains. I also made sure I regularly listened to her audio relaxations which helped me stay calm and grounded in those final weeks. Above all of this, Mandy has been a wonderful support and checked in with me after the birth of my daughter and during our hospital stay - Mandy really does go above and beyond and puts out some brilliant online content. I can't thank her enough!
Absolutely love her classes
I returned to Mandy's pregnancy yoga classes following my second pregnancy as I absolutely loved her classes first time round and made some solid friendships.
Mandy creates such a welcoming and safe environment. She is passionate about ensuring mums and mums to be have a support network alongside the yoga which is so vital. Her classes provide opportunities for open discussion around pregnancy/childbirth/motherhood and no question is out of bounds!
Following the birth of my daughter, I went on to attend baby massage and baby yoga classes, both of which I can thoroughly recommend. Baby massage has given me some really helpful techniques to manage baby's trapped wind and has also helped me deepen the bond with my little ones. Baby yoga was surprisingly more relaxing than I expected! I have made some amazing friendships that have continued post classes. I would definitely recommend Mandy's classes. She is so honest and puts her heart and soul into her classes.
Mandy understands that babies have their own minds...
Mandy was extremely friendly and made me feel at ease so quickly. Which was fantastic as I was nervous being the youngest mum in the room. It was good to introduce everybody and nice for Mandy to explain she understands babies have their own minds so if we wanted to we could feed or change nappies just simply watch.
And she really meant it.
Having tea and cake at the end of each session made you stay and engage with the mums. I loved how Mandy explained all the benefits of the different massages e.g. winds/sinuses Oh and one final thing I loved the goody bag! Couldn’t rate the class highly enough.