When her baby was born, this mom became the ultimate housekeeper. A one-handed, dancing housekeeper.
By Catherine Goldfain
Article originally in Parent24
Last night I spent half of Desperate Housewives (somewhat fittingly?) mopping the kitchen floor. With baby finally tucked away in bed, my yearning to savour an hour of me-time was sabotaged by a bottle of gripe water toppling off the fridge and smashing across the tiles.
While disguising the sickly stench with apple-scented floorwash, my mind turned to how much housework I'd been doing since baby was born. Let me get this straight: I've always been a 'bare minimum' kind of housekeeper. The last thing I gave a toss about after a day at the office was the state of the kitchen or how our house was being overtaken by dog hair.
All of that changed when my little one came along. I distinctly remember the week of his birth. With my life turned upside down, I would go to great lengths to preserve my fast-dwindling sanity. For some bizarre reason, I became obsessed with cleaning up. While Hubby eyed the incessant vacuuming and counter-cleaning with confusion, it had become my one reassurance that there was some order in the now crazy world of mine.
Look Ma! One hand...
It may all seem a bit excessive, but trust me, it was nothing compared to the one-handed antics that were to follow. You see, our paediatrician had convinced me babies were not to be put down. “All young mammals need to have close contact with their mothers”, she had said. “Make sure you only put him down if you REALLY have to.”
After a few days of this, I'd developed a deep-seated respect for anyone born with only one arm. Trying to chop up veggies became insanely tricky. As did carrying a full washing basket. And, despite all my one-handed housework, I still felt a rush of guilt every time I put baby down for a pee break.
‘Sweeping while dancing’
I soon realised I needed to take the paediatrician's advice with a pinch of salt if I was going to get anything done. And so my little monster finally graduated to his chair. A little reluctantly, I might add. It was a move that ushered in the next phase of madness, what I like to call 'sweeping while dancing'.
Picture Mom, prancing around the room, broom in hand, belting out her rendition of 'You ain't nothing but a hound dog'. Once I discovered baby was an Elvis fan, I soon caught on I could get away with any kind of housework, as long as I gave him a performance.
These days, I unstack the dishwasher with a pot on my head (because it makes baby giggle). I don't just hang up the washing, I hide behind it and make ghost noises to amuse my little bundle. When I'm preparing food, I 'walk like an Egyptian' and making the bed involves parading around with a bedsheet as a cape.
Some might say I've too much time on my hands, but being new to the role of 'Domestic Goddess', I'm determined not to let the mundaneness of housework overwhelm me.
I'll admit this kind of 'extreme housekeeping' sometimes leaves me feeling like Mary Poppins but on the plus-side, I get an excellent workout. And while I may be barefoot and in the kitchen, my own personal version of Riverdance is a real crowd pleaser, just ask my baby!
What did you resort to when you baby was born? Did you bother at all with the housekeeping?