So this is what my bathroom looked like last week:
And (thankfully) this is what it looks like now!
This is definitely a rather extreme example, since we were redecorating, which kind of explains the mess, but still, it didn’t stop me from feeling pretty rubbish about it! It got me thinking about something that’s been going on in my house for a while now, which is the constant battle between cleaning, and creativity…
Although the pictures I used here are of the bathroom, a much more frequent battleground is the kitchen. It seems as though the kitchen is a room that is never really clean. The dishes are only done until the next meal, the laundry pile always refills itself, and crumbs of bread seem to spawn onto the counters from nowhere even though I could swear I just wiped them down.
I do try my best to keep on top of it, making sure I work my way round every kitchen surface at least once a day. But even when I crouch down at just the right angle so that the light hits the worktops, and I see not one single crumb left, it never feels like enough.
I’m not really sure why. Nobody has ever commented on it, and yet I still feel guilty if I leave a room untidied, like I’m constantly waiting for a health inspector to come round!
This became a bigger problem in recent months, when I started to feel more frustrated with myself about housework. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what caused this, but I think one of the things that makes it worse is being online.
Everybody puts the best version of themselves on social media, and I can totally see why, it’s only natural to want to impress others. It’s well known that people put filters on their photographs, edit out blemishes, or make sure everything looks perfect before shooting, but something I’ve noticed, is that people seem to do the same thing with their houses.
Even just sticking to the theme of kitchens, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cooking video where someone’s kitchen hasn’t looked like a pristine showroom! It’s honestly impressive that people can cook dinner without it looking like a bull trashed the kitchen. (That’s what always happens to me), But at the same time it makes me feel kind of ashamed that I’m not so put together!
So anyway, after watching one too many cooking video, thinking to myself, why can’t my tiles stay white like yours? The pressure started to build up.
It got to the point where I wasn’t getting time to write anything from morning to evening. And at the end of the day when I finally got to sit down, I was so stressed and tired that I couldn’t write then either.
Frustrated with my lack of progress, I decided to deliberately ignore the cleaning for a day. But when I tried to write, I felt like I was being so lazy, like I could see countless jobs that I should be doing instead.
When I wanted to write, I felt like I should be cleaning, but when I cleaned, I desperately wanted to do my writing.
It was clear that something needed to change, and that thing was, acceptance.
I have come to terms with the fact that I, am not a tidy person, my house doesn’t look like it came from a catalogue, and it’s time for me to stop fighting with myself to make it perfect. But that’s ok, because in the two weeks since I accepted this, I’ve managed 10,000 words of one of my stories.
I haven’t made that kind of progress in ages, and it’s clear that I’ve been feeling a lot happier and more relaxed.
I’m in awe of people that have it all balanced, but for me, it was becoming one or the other. I could either have a pristine house, or I could write.
At the end of the day, I had to decide what was more important to me. It seems a bit dramatic, but I asked myself, when I’m older and looking back, would I rather have kept a pristine household, or would I rather have all of my books finished?
I think both are valid things to be proud of, but personally, I’ve got to go with the books. I feel like I need to write the stories that are in my head, and I can’t do that if I’m punishing myself and feeling ashamed about this.
As of now, I feel much better. My house is clean enough, but clearly lived in, but I’m happy with it, and the writing is going well enough that I have an update about it next week.
This post has been kind of cathartic to write, and I’m glad I could organise the thoughts I’d been having about this for a while.
Ultimately, if you’re someone who loves to clean, and also finds time for hobbies and family too, then that’s awesome, and you should be proud of yourself!
But at the same time, if you’re someone like me, who sometimes goes a day or two without hoovering so you can do other things, then be kind to yourself about it. Embrace your lifestyle the way you want it, even if that includes a bit of mess now and again. Besides, a piece of clothing on the floor that you forgot to pick up, or a disorganised desk probably won’t hurt anyone. At least, I don’t think so anymore.
Whew! I’ll stop being preachy now… Thanks for reading!
It seems like there’s something in our garden that cats just can’t get enough of, because this week we had another adorable feline visitor. This one seems desperate to get in the house, but he has a collar on, so I haven’t let him in, not wanting someone to think I’ve cat-napped their pet! He stayed meowing at the window for over 30 minutes, he’s certainly persistent!
However hard I scrub or wipe,
Other old stains come into light.
Under the sofa or inside the sink,
Sometimes so many I can’t even think.
Every day cleaning as much as I could,
Wasn’t seeming to do any good.
Over time I chose to give it a rest,
Realised my house would never be the best,
Keeping it messy, works out for me.
Thanks for reading!