I should have known this is the way my life would go when I started dating my husband, but I was blinded by his charm and his handsomeness. I was a fool in love.
But his house was an absolute tip, and although I had the chance to run away screaming right at that moment, I chose not to care. The first time I went there, he ferried me straight down the hallway, past the condemnable kitchen, and out onto his back deck where I could enjoy a glass of wine, witty banter and his spectacular river views. Well played…
But my husband and I are so incredibly different when it comes to housekeeping. I like things to be put away, kept in their place, and for bottle tops to be either put back on the bottle they belong to, or thrown in the bin. He is more of a ‘let it fall where I finished with it’ kind of guy.
And now we have three children, who – being children aren’t fans of any kinds of housework – all think Dad’s way is much more fun, and that Mum is a nagging shrew. I have hopes that at least one of them will eventually develop some affection for being able to see the floor, or knowing where all the pens are, but for now, I am alone.
Being prone to anxiety as it is, I discovered long ago that when there is chaos in my house, it only exacerbates the chaos in my brain. When there are 11 shoes on the lounge room floor, a receipt in front of the TV, four balled up pieces of paper on the dining room table, three pieces of ribbon strewn around the room, and a dinosaur money box covered in sticky tape upside down on the coffee table – I honestly just want to either run away from home or take a match to it all.
What I have learned, throughout the past ten years, is that I have two choices when it comes to these different ways we like to live: I can accept it and live in the mud with the pigs, or I can ride them every single day to pick up after themselves, which does give me a moderately presentable home, but also some annoyed, resentful housemates.
Sometimes I choose the former, and sometimes I choose the latter. Each is taxing and exhausting in its own way, so I tend to alternate. Sure, if I was consistently one or the other, perhaps I would get used to the mess, or they would eventually toe the line and pick up their crap (if I actually thought that was a possibility I would be pushing so hard!).
But this battle of wills is long, and I’m not yet willing to lay down and die – nor, it seems, are they.