Hubbie and I woke today, the day after Christmas, feeling inspired.
With the knowledge that we still had the whole weekend off, together, to ourselves, we were fuelled by this rare holiday scenario, and started off by feverishly cleaning and organising everything in the house…
INSIDE, and OUT.
The sun was shining, it was fine, and we set about getting to work. In amongst this random Spring-clean in Summer, we thought of a plan… BBQ? Tonight? With family? Friends?
So we sent a few messages out.
The responses? Busy. Tired.
Our bbq gathering wasn’t to be… or was it?
If this had happened pre-covid, I would have been pretty down. Down that we were all riled up and ready to socialise, and yet people either weren’t willing or able.
Post-covid though? Hey, we are our own best company!
Music, meat, salad and bread… inject some sunshine, and voila!
A great Saturday night. 💖😉
And you know, through it all, I was happy. Who said that covid didn’t teach us something, hey?
To some extent, I’ve been very slowly Spring cleaning since covid began in Autumn. Clearing out shelves, closets, drawers… throwing things out, making things neat and orderly, finding items a new home…
But then there is nothing quite like opening the doors and really getting into it, especially on a mild day like today.
Often I don’t plan to clean. Especially the major things… the motivation just HITS ME. Like today, I observed our kitchen fan, and how we had never cleaned it since our new kitchen was installed…
Um, almost 2 years ago now?
So on a whim, I cleaned it all.
I just couldn’t stop there though. After that super-greasy task, I cleared through drawers in baby girl’s room, throwing out old stuff, went through other rooms, decluttering… and by 5pm, I realised one major thing.
I was pooped. Exhausted. Cleaning things out of your life can be therapeutic but awfully tiring.
And… I had barely been outside.
I know. It was so lovely out, it was a shame to have spent the whole day inside…
So I called it. A quick family, 5 minute walk around the block before dinner.
Our home was showing signs of my Spring cleaning everywhere. And the front yard was showing signs of Spring too.
We had greenery sprouting everywhere. This one plant near our front door has literally grown 20 centimetres in a matter of a week. My tulips are reaching for the sky, the birds of paradise are facing the sun, the succulent is loving the season, and my roses aren’t blooming yet, but seeing their abundant green leaves gives me so much happiness.
Then we walked. Boy do I miss not having a mask on my face, to truly be able to breathe in the fresh air. But soon. I believe we are really getting there.
I think one of the best pieces of advice I could give to any current or future parents, is this:
Show them what you love.
In particular, music.
Baby girl is exposed to a whole range of styles. From 70s/80s Queen, 80s Prince, Madonna of ALL ages, pop Justin Timberlake, melodic George Michael…
to contemporary music like The Weeknd, SIA, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Tones and I, and then there’s folk music, rnb music, UB40, songs from movies…
There’s a lot of different styles that she hears from us.
When you show your child what you love, you’re showing them what makes you happy. What makes you sing. What makes your heart soar.
You’re not actually sitting them down and saying “this is what makes me happy!”
It’s in the everyday moments. Putting the volume up for a song on the radio that makes you smile. Dancing in the kitchen because Funny How Love Is came on. Laughing along to that really annoying/catchy tune “Pump it Up,” and then turning everything into that song…
“You know clean it up, you have to clean it up!”
You’re making everyday moments come alive, you’re making them more fun, and most importantly, you’re making memories.
Like today for instance. Following a week of letting everything fall to the wayside in light of more important things, I was on a cleaning frenzy. I had Queen on, FULL VOLUME as I went about the house doing my thing.
I was in baby girl’s room changing her bedding, when Bohemian Rhapsody came on.
As the pivotal moment drew near…
“Oh mama mia, mama mia
Mama mia let me go…”
I quickly threw some things in her wardrobe –
“…Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me…”
I ran out of her room –
And ran down the hallway
“…FOR ME!” I squealed as I skid into the kitchen, with baby girl charging in from the lounge room.
And then we proceeded to do THIS:
Oh it was fun! The hair clip in my hair was knocking my head we were jumping and head banging so much.
And it was so cool, that I knew I could depend on her to run in to meet me near the stereo… just as she knew she could find me rocking out to a classic tune.
It’s got nothing to do with making your kids like what YOU like. That I am totally against. Children should be allowed to make up their own likes, dislikes, interests and passions, without their parents, or anyone influencing them.
I am fascinated to see what kind of young woman baby girl will grow into of her own accord, not from someone else she has tried to be like, or from someone who has made her feel she should be like them.
It’s about showing them your passions. They should be their own people. At the same time, it’s no wonder there are so many kids out there who followed in their parents footsteps, either by doing a similar profession, choosing a similar path, a like-minded interest… because they watched them obsess, fixate, and enjoy that thing, while growing up.
Baby girl doesn’t need to write. She doesn’t need to read. She doesn’t need to love Queen all her life.
But by sharing what it is that you love with them, you show them what a meaningful, purposeful, and beautiful life is.
At the end of day, whether it’s a life path of not… Creativity.
These are the things that make the world go round. Teaching our kids about them can only bring beautiful things.
At the very least, really funny head-banging memories. 😉
Oh wow. The feeling of relief, of relaxation, tiredness even… is immense.
But also, there is exhilaration.
I have to thank Hubbie and baby girl. They let me do my thing these last few days, escape to quiet rooms of the house, yell at them to not yell, and even run upstairs onto our bed where I could truly be at peace.
I sacrificed a lot. Baby girl’s school work. She did maybe a task a day.
The cooking. It was either Hubbie doing it or grabbing some kind of half-healthy takeaway.
The time. Instead of spending time with my family, I was furiously going over and over and over my manuscript, trying to get it up to the standard I would be okay with, before sending it off for a competition tonight.
Don’t mention the cleaning.
Don’t mention the washing.
Don’t mention the clothes hanging up in the house waiting to be put away.
Don’t mention anything to do with the house!
The phone calls. The jobs I put off. I sacrificed so much, and I would do it all again.
You know what? Because I love it.
When you find that which you’re passionate about, you want to spend as much of your life doing it, right?
If my house, the washing, even some odd jobs have to suffer I WILL TAKE IT.
Because I’d rather be known as ‘that writing gal,’ than the woman who had a clean house.
Really. What is important here?
(Having said all that, I’m actually aching to clean every crevice of the house tomorrow!)
Anyway… the mad rush is over. 88 thousand words have been submitted, and I couldn’t be happier.
It’s not even about whether I win or not. I honestly doubt I will. But I proved to myself that I could hit the deadline, I pushed myself to re-edit and re-structure my novel, and if you think about it, regardless of the results, I am one step closer to getting there.
I was looking up books of interest at the local library a while ago, and when I came across a particular title I thought “I must have it.”
I put it on reserve and was happy to finally go in and pick it up today.
Although it says it’s about de-cluttering (and it is) it’s managing clutter based on the principles of feng shui, a topic I’ve been looking into a lot lately.
While baby girl was at school, and Hubbie was beside me watching basketball, I got through about 80 pages of it… sure it’s a small book, but I think I’m making up in my lack of fiction reading by overdosing on non-fiction (that and the subject matter is so intriguing to me).
There’s a lot of psychological issues tied up in accumulating items, being unable to throw things away, and allowing dirt to build up in your home, as well as not tending to things that need repair in the house, all things I’m discovering as I turn page by page.
I’m going to have most of the book read by the end of the week I’m sure, and along with it I’ll have a sure-fire plan to organise and throw out heaps of unnecessary stuff in our house. Watch this space!
And just, not-so-quietly… how great are libraries? Like, you borrow something, enjoy it, and then return it for somebody else to gain satisfaction from…
Can you believe from the hours of 1pm to almost 6pm, with two breaks for lunch and coffee, I spent the time cleaning out and sorting baby girl’s toys?
Ashamedly, not even all of them. Today we tackled the area called the family room – it has the second ‘kid’ TV, my computer and desk where I do ALL my writing, and to the side of me, her ‘small’ play area.
Only it wasn’t so small when we started today. It had grown huge and out of control.
Baby girl was fabulous. Funnily enough, culling toys and taking everything out of boxes to reassess and work out if it needs to go in the throw, keep or donate pile, is actually a fun task for kids when you get them involved… they end up discovering a whole lot of stuff they’d forgotten about. Throughout the day baby girl ended up playing with new and re-discovered toys constantly while I kept interrupting her with “hey, focus… keep or throw?”
I kept her involved, because I like to keep her happy.
But when she goes back to school, I am going to focus on the out of reach spot in her cupboard and those A-Z drawers in her room that she isn’t as well acquainted with…
And cull it all.Mwa ha ha.
Today she was absolutely brilliant in her brutal ability to say ‘throw’ for things that honestly, I hesitated and asked “really?” about too many times that I care to admit.
And to have gotten rid of so much stuff is honestly liberating… and now, EXHAUSTING. 😴
When I think that it’s been about 2 years since our kitchen renovation, with new gadgets installed, I realise that time really does fly.
And this thought makes me feel a teeny tiny bit better, that in all that time, I haven’t given my brand new oven a clean.
Not even one wipe of the inside. Nothing. Zilch.
But there’s been a really deliberate reason for that.
It has the pyrolytic function… which in normal people language means ‘self-cleaning.’
If anything, when we got the oven I was informed to let it get really filthy so I could use the self-cleaning function.
I know. Best advice EVER.
It wasn’t disgusting, filthy even. But there was a lot of grime and oil build up, and having been out of the house for days on end this week, knowing this was our home catch-up day, I knew what job was waiting for me.
(Only it wasn’t my job, it was the oven’s job 😉).
About 5 hours later, the oven was brand spanking new again. No scrubbing, no elbow grease, no chemicals…
Just a damp wipe over to remove the residue burnt off in the process, and voila!
There are new presents to play with and find homes for, a lot of cleaning, breathing out a sigh of relief that Christmas is over, yet simultaneously feeling sad that Christmas is a whole 364 days away…
It’s a well-intentioned catch-up and family day.
And what better family way to end the day than with an…
Guess which one?!?!
‘Santa’ got this as one of baby girl’s few presents. I LOVED this growing up and as she’s at an age where she’s getting a lot out of board games like this one.
I sat opposite her while Hubbie helped her work out the best questions to ask to eliminate the most people, and we got to work –
slamming the faces DOWN.
The best bit? The times I won, she was so rapt, thinking that by me guessing correctly shehad won.