30 Aug 2014

Let's talk about standards...

So it's confession time from the Brit in my whole five years of marriage I have never...ironed. Well probably only a handful of my clothes as I used to have a certain shirt for work which looked awful unless it was pressed. Suffice to say I never purchased one of those again. It was agreed early on in our marriage that I wouldn't be ironing his shirts. I feel this is fair considering the fact we both work(ed) full time and he is old enough to do it himself. 

In fact, whilst we're on confessions, I have never really relished housework. The thing i enjoy most about being a 'housewife' is baking and even then I like to leave an icing sugar explosion all over the work surfaces - to the degree that the Belgian begins to wonder if the muffins are really worth it. 

So, sometimes cleaning has been a bone of contention in our household as The Belgian seems to have exacting standards - but not always the desire to carry these out. In my back to work post I aired my concerns about returning to work and the fact that during maternity leave the Belgian had started to do less and less around the house. Don't get me wrong he is a really hands on dad but laundry, cooking and cleaning seemed to come under my remit since I suddenly had so much time on my hands. *Ahem* Some of you reached out to me on social media offering advice and presenting the idea of needs/must and discovering the things you really couldn't put up with versus what you reasonable had time to do around the house.

For me I like clear, clutter free surfaces. Once the Baby is in bed I have to make the lounge resemble something more relaxing and so toys have to be stored in their boxes, but I can let vacuuming slide. So long as it looks clean and clear I am happy with this. Am I alone in this? Quite a few (read: most) of my work colleagues have cleaners and this used to be seen as an indulgence, many now view as a necessity. However, we can't afford this kind if indulgence on our already-tight-one-of-us-on-part-time measly budget. No matter how much I hate cleaning the bathroom. So in the mean time a slovenly wipe with the wet wipes will have to do. Please tell me I'm not alone in this? 

So back to the ironing confession...on our recent trip to Belgium the mother-in-law offered to do some of our laundry. And yes she ironed it. I was amazed at the difference!  How much more pristine the baby looked in our pressed clothes. How much nicer and cleaner the clothes looked. Have we all been going around looking like scruffs for the last five years? Was ironing something I could still push to the bottom of the pile - 'scuse the pun! 

So I returned with a new resolve. The Belgian almost fainted when I set the ironing board up in the lounge and got to work. Irons and baby's are not a great combo and so I waited for his nap time. I pressed our clothes to within an inch of their life and then tucked them away in their drawers or hung them up and for a few days we all looked smart and the Baby looked like a Baby Gap model or something similar. 

Next load? Same again except this time the Baby was napping and so I couldn't put it away so I just put my neat little pile of laundry on a chair and was horrified to return a few hours later and find it all flung across the room - with the Baby wearing a pair of pants as a fetching hat. All of my hard work was ruined as everything was creased, covered in fluff and in need of ironing AGAIN. Am I fighting a losing battle? Should I revert back to stretching and occasionally pressing with the hair straighteners? I know ironing is the bane to most women's life so can we just work the just-got-out-of-laundry-basket look a few more seasons?

Basically at the end of the day something's gotta give.

And it won't be my crafty time.

Or Nashville time.

Or pinterest time.

What are your cleanliness standards? Any quick fixes to make a working mum's life easier?


  1. Did I really read that Mel...hair straighteners!! I don't like house work...but I do it because i can't bear dirt or mess....not that my house is spotless by any means although i would like it to be. Ironing is my job and I do a pile almost everyday...just 20 mins or so. I ask the boys to take their pile upstairs to put away and have a meltdown when i find it "shoved" away. They will get the hang of it..they will!! After my op..it was painful watching my husband iron...think he was glad to hand it back to me.

  2. Do NOT get me started on ironing. When Ophelia was first here my Mum would often take our washing to do because she has a tumble dryer, but she is obsessed with ironing EVERYTHING! She even irons sheets and pants?!!! SERIOUSLY! I wish I had time to iron because I actually sometimes enjoy ironing and you're right, things look much better ironed! I ended up having to choose what chores HAVE to be done for us to carry on functioning and which can slide to a standard less than I would prefer. Ive found hoovering has to be only once a week (except the stairs which are a bit longer!) and the other stuff, I try to just tackle a few minutes here and there in small chunks to attempt to be sort of on top of things.

  3. I second Louise's comment - hair straighteners??! how is this even possible?! surely it would burn the shirt as they're so hot! I think the solution to your problem is definitely a steamer! Pressed clothes which you love, the lazy way! x

  4. okay so firstly NASHVILLE WHOOP WHOOP. Secondly I don't iron anything, not sheets, not shirts not dresses...nothing. Sam irons work shirts for himself but thats all that gets ironed in this house. I too prefer a tidy looking house to a spotlessly clean house and hoover weekly or less (no animals in the house so this is fine!) and I hate cleaning surfaces too. I can't believe she ironed baby clothes! crazy indeed!

    I am glad you are a nashvillite ;)


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