The Super Whites The ordinary life of a Super Mum

The Super Whites
Domestic goddess

I thought I would pepper this rather long post with some photos of me as a child, for your viewing enjoyment!
I have to address a recent misconception that has occurred as a result of my last post about my Christmas craftiness. After I received a flurry of emails commenting on my domestic goddess abilities and wondering how the heck I manage to fit everything into my busy life, I thought it only fair I set the record straight! I can’t help but laugh at the irony of coming across as being supermum this week when the reality has been the complete opposite. Its Thursday and I finally made it out of my manky shorts and sleeping shirts, put my contact lenses in, brushed my hair and left the house this morning to visit a friend, drop back my library books (nearly three weeks overdue – oops!) and replenish our milk and bread supplies since we finished the emergency frozen stash this morning. I have been feeling very flat this week and it’s a funny combination of wanting to hibernate whilst knowing that getting up and moving is the only way to shift this particular mood. I did make it to my yoga class on Monday and my Core class last night so its not like I have been a complete couch potato. Amy has happily settled into a comfortable routine again after the mayhem and madness of the festive season and she is sleeping for two hours from about 12.30 until 2.30/3pm. Instead of using this time to productively sort that pile of laundry, or make that tomato chutney with all the beautiful produce from our garden, or even to write a semi-interesting blog post, I have flopped about on the couch and actually got into bed on two occasions whilst Amy was sleeping for a little nap myself.

I know its just a mood thing and it’s a guilty pleasure to do nothing after being so busy over Christmas, but there is a difference between taking it easy and being lazy and laziness doesn’t sit well with me. I think I have mentioned before on the blog about how I perceive my role in life at this time and my total and honest enjoyment and satisfaction in this role. I am a mum who stays at home and takes care of our daughter and our house. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not intending to upset or offend any other stay-at-home-mums out there who are militant about the value and responsibility this role affords. I wholeheartedly agree, being a mum to Amy is a full time job in itself, but the real point of the issue to me is that in addition to taking care of Amy, I also take care of our home and our needs at home. Which means cleaning, and cooking, doing laundry, budgeting, shopping and a hundred other little jobs. I suppose the key thing here to mention is choice. I choose to do these jobs and take great pleasure in doing them. Another key thing is that I do these jobs but not in isolation. Ron is a brilliant person to live with, for many reasons, but in this case he is an excellent housemate because he has the same standards that I do, we like to keep our house clean, tidy and comfortable.

Take last night for example, while I went to the gym Ron mowed the back garden and then prepared Amy’s dinner, fed her and bathed her. When I got back from the gym I read her a story and put her to bed and then made a delicious cauliflower and chorizo soup for supper whilst Ron weeded the front beds and brought in the rubbish bins. Later I tidied up the kitchen whilst Ron booked us a rental car for our trip to London. We both showered and tidied up the bathroom before bed. It’s a joint effort, just like parenting Amy. Luckily we don’t often need to discuss our respective roles within our house which I believe is a side effect of us having Amy. For some reason Ron and I communicate much better since becoming parents. We argue less (a lot less!) and talk a lot more. We agree on a lot more as well which makes running our lives not only easier but also more pleasurable.

A comparison then between what happens now and what went before shows two noticeable differences, firstly Amy, and secondly I don’t work. When Ron and I lived in London without a child and both worked full time there were a lot of arguments about housework, cooking and other chores. I was working silly hours in the city and then coming home and struggling to keep our house looking and feeling the way we both wanted. We shared the housework but often it was left to the person who was home to wash the dishes and do the hoovering and thanks to less working hours due to a government job, most of the time this meant Ron. We shared cooking duties because cooking is a pleasure that we enjoy and not considered to be a chore. I remember having a phone conversation with a dear friend in London who called me up when I was on the train going home one night. She asked me how I cope with the housework and the division of labour in our home and I controversially said that I believe the person who works less hours and hence has more time in the home should do the bulk of the housework, in our case, this meant Ron.

Since moving to Sydney many things have changed in our lives. For me personally the changes have been largely unexpected and much appreciated. I have discovered a simple joy in the small things, a tidy lounge after a long day playing with toys, a hearty meal shared whilst catching up on our latest favourite tv show. A wardrobe full of small dresses and little t-shirts all neatly folded. Thanks to our decision to move to a city where we can just about afford our home (albeit small) on one salary, I have been able to embrace these pleasures and take pride in telling people what my occupation is now. I guess I have learnt many more skills from my own Mum than I ever imagined because making curtains and jam are just two things that I have enjoyed since we downsized and moved to the suburbs.

In conclusion although I am proud to be described as a domestic goddess, it isn’t a title that someone should aspire to, unless its something they actually want to be. I also strongly believe that running a home and bringing up children should be a choice and sadly its more often not. Most of my friends with children have had to go back to work because life on one salary is just not possible in many of the cities we live in. I am so grateful to my husband for working hard and enjoying his job which in turn allows me to enjoy my job and that’s the reason why I work hard at it. I hope this makes sense. A good friend said something very profound to me this week in an email and I hope she won’t mind me quoting it here: “So many divides with motherhood – childless vs children; girl moms vs boy moms; younger children vs older children; private vs public schooling; routine vs no routine etc etc.” I guess it’s a lot harder to sit on the fence and not have an opinion when you look at your life and make the inevitable comparisons with those around you. I just wish we all judged ourselves a little less harshly and made allowances for what fits into our lives and what doesn’t.

Right, its time to slouch off to the couch again and take up residence in front of the telly until Amy wakes up. I would love to hear what you have to think about what I have said, if you agree or disagree or have a completely different opinion?

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