10 times I’ve had to rein in my inner Monica

I used to be a bit Monica when it came to keeping the house clean

It’s a shame Friends ended when it did.

I would have liked to see Monica handle twins with her OCD for cleaning.

I’m not as extreme as the character but I definitely like a clean house. This is tragic, but I used to enjoy putting my iPod on and cleaning the house every Saturday morning. It’s a great workout!

But enter two children and I have had to lower my standards dramatically. This has been tough for me and there are times I clap my hands to my face and shake my head at the state of my home.

I wince when I look at the carnage in the lounge, where toys end up littering every possible corner. Walking through the chaos is a risk, as Lego and trip hazards are lying in wait to ambush unsuspecting parents.

If only I could be more Phoebe than Monica. Even though I’ve had to pull it back for the sake of my sanity, I still struggle at the sight of my house. Here are my key struggles:

1. Washing up
With four of us eating food, drinking from cups, glasses and bottles and snacking like I never serve proper meals, we end up using pretty much everything in the cupboards every day. Cue mountain of washing up that won’t all fit in the dishwasher. I used to have to wash up everything as I went throughout the day, I couldn’t stand to see it sitting by the sink getting dirtier and harder to clean by the minute. Now I’ve had to just try to pretend it’s not there.

2. When the cat decides to be generous and brings us a dead mouse
I’ve found them the perfect gift, he thinks. Its time to start Googling kitty adoption centres, I think. When this happens I want to disinfect everything. Our cat doesn’t just bring in said mouse and deposit it, it has to give it a good batting around first. As it is I only have time for a quick go over the spot where the dead mouse was finally left when it became boring to the cat. The rest of the floor has to wait until I have time, but I think “ick” all day as I walk of the floor.

3. Making the beds
Once upon a time my mum’s message of “make your bed first thing in the morning” had finally got through and I was religious about it. Now because morning could mean 4am, I’ve lost track of when I should make the bed, as at any point in the day I could get a double nap win and have the chance to crash back into bed to catch some zzzzzs. I’ve concluded therefore it’s best not to bother, however much my inner Monica hates it.

4. Vacuuming
Summer is the worst time for this. My toddler is in and out of the house all day. She’s bringing in grass, mud, bits of twigs, moss, bugs and all sorts of other stuff that covers the bits of carpet not covered by toys. I try to vacuum twice a week. It’s sad how much I love it when the carpet is clear of bits. Even sadder when I get out the carpet cleaner and smile at how sparkly the floors look after that has been pushed around.

5. The mass of toys covering the lounge floor
I want to pick them all up. But what’s the point? Every time you take even one thing away and drop it back in the toy box, by toddler decides that’s the very thing out of all the dozens of other bits she has out that she wants. It’s not helped by the way she gets her toys out. She doesn’t take the lid off the Lego box and pick out the bits she wants, she empties the whole thing onto the floor.

6. Potty training
My daughter has been dabbling with the potty. I can’t quite bring myself to ditch the nappies just yet but she’s been using it all by herself, unprompted at times, in the downstairs loo.

The trouble is she likes pouring the wee, and by pour and I mean throw, down the loo herself. If I’m distracted doing something with her sister I can miss that she’s gone to the loo next to the lounge. Then there is wee all over the floor, because at two she’s not a great shot just yet.

I try my best but there’s the odd suspicious puddle on the floor still.

7. Clutter in the bathroom
Our bathroom used to have pretty scented candles arranged nicely around the bathtub. We just had our toothbrushes lined up neatly next to each other by the sink with a single toothpaste tube.

Now there are kids toys everywhere, on every surface! We have so many bath toys I could launch an armada to rival the Spanish. They might be small, but they squirt water at a surprisingly fast rate.

We have four toothbrushes. They’re never in the right place, and there are three toothpaste tubes with their lids open and leaking onto the shelf by the sink.

8. The never-ending washing pile
Just as I fold and put away the final pair of leggings, I turn around and see clothes spilling out of the laundry basket. Some days each of my girls go through at least two outfit changes. My toddler’s nursery wardrobe takes a real battering.

My clothes are like an abstract painting covered in toothpaste, milk, butter, pasta sauce and a few patches of other stuff that I don’t want to identify.

The washing basket will never be empty. I wish I could smile soppily as I liken this to some kind representation of the unending love I have for my children but I’m too busy hanging up the washing.

9. The fridge is where good food goes to turn mouldy
Why do I not remember to keep a list on the fridge door of what I bought that week? I loosely meal plan every week but I always forget the odd bag of spinach or salad that I bought. I think I intended to make chicken curry with that pack of chicken breasts instead of the chicken salad I had originally planned.

The vegetable draw gets scary sometimes. Occasionally I clean it out and find mouldy, half eaten peppers or bags of herbs such as basil that wrinkled up and died weeks ago.

10. Putting away clothes
I used to have time to fold up clothes before putting them away.

Now they are stuffed in as quickly as I can because I need to make the most of the five-minute window I have for housework. It means I can never find anything and the drawers always have something poking out of them.

If only Friends had not been cancelled I could perhaps have picked up some tips from Monica on coping with cleaning OCD with two kids.

Perhaps the trick is to wait until they’re older, then I can hand out feather dusters and rubber gloves to the little mess creators. Sadly I think the cat is a lost cause.



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