I have always been a fan of a clean and tidy home. I was brought up in one. The kind of home where if Mum had washed the kitchen floor… you had to wait for it to dry before you could go get yourself a drink… on tip toes. Or once the living room was clean, the door was closed and your toys were played with in your room. Mirrors shone, shelves passed the finger test and the carpet always smelt fresh from shake n vac. My mother is a professional cleaner, as is my older sister, and that sort of ‘Home Pride’ mindset has just been there from the get go.
I watch Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners and admire the ones who suffer with the OCD because I would love to be able to have the stamina and the drive to maintain a toilet seat to the point where it is cleaner than a plate. The opposite side of the spectrum where hoarders live in squalor and cook their dinner amongst rat droppings and newspapers circa 1972 fills me with despair and I want to skip ahead to the bit of the programme where they don’t have to live like that anymore. Clean and tidy leaves me satisfied and calm. A good old housework spree is cathartic to me. Some of my biggest breakthroughs as a human being have happened after I have cleaned my house and rearranged furniture. It just makes me feel better.
Which is why now, in my 34th week of pregnancy, I am going quite nuts with my nesting instinct on top of my usual compulsions. I want to clean everything. EVERYTHING. I was actually contemplating the best ways to clean books the other evening. Not just the books, but their pages too. I want to pull out every piece of furniture, every appliance, every knick knack and just CLEAN THEM!
It’s not just cleaning. It’s organising too. Every cupboard, drawer, box and pot* I have come across has been emptied, sorted through and rearranged. It has been so satisfying! The amount of time and energy we waste fighting things that are falling out of cupboards, or stuffing back drawers that are full to the brim is ridiculous. And, right now, I need all the energy I can get. To open a cupboard and just grab what I need has been so nice. No unnecessary bending or bracing half a dozen things against my body as I find that one thing I just need that is always at the bloody bottom of the pile! It’s been glorious.
*Why do we always have some random pot that contains keys to things we don’t know need opening, screws to things that we don’t know need securing and random hair pins that have lost their effective grip? Oh, and not forgetting that one random battery that has little to no power left in it. Why do we keep these things?!
But, of course, all this cleaning is taking its toll. On me physically and on PB mentally. I can’t keep bending, stretching, crouching, kneeling and crawling around to try and reach those few crumbs under the arm chair or to rid that one light bulb of a whispering of cobweb. Each time I do something that seems so desperate to be done, I get a wave of satisfaction from doing it before a tidal wave of regret and discomfort. And guilt. Poor BB2, cooking away in my tummy. He’s probably going to come out waving a feather duster and craving a spritz of multipurpose spray!
And, like I said, PB has been the epitome of a patient and dutiful OH through everything despite inwardly wanting to shake me and tell me to ‘Just let it go!’. Of course, he’s way too clever to actually do and say such things, but I have seen a few eye rolls and witnessed a few deep sighs. Too right as well… I can see how frustrating it is to have your cereal box moved into three different places within the space of a week. The other day he was clutching at his hair whilst calmly asking me ‘Where do we keep the Quavers now?!’. Poor guy… he needs a sat nav just to work his way around the kitchen nowadays.
It’s not for long though. Whilst a lot of me is behaving this way out of instinct and upbringing, a huge part of me is just acting out of control. I am going to be a Mum of Two soon. The thought excites me but daunts me in almost equal measures (excitement pips fear to the post just about!). Soon, I will be in the throes of new motherhood again; where to clean my teeth let alone the bloody house will feel like a massive achievement and the sound of the hoover will only be utilised to help a baby through colic. So, for now, whilst I have the time and (a little bit of) get go, I shall let myself clean anything I can, as and when I can.
(Sorry PB…. will promise not to move your coco pops anymore).