The torture of Sisyphus…

Cleaning brush

I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump recently.

I won’t bore you with the overall existential ponderings. (Brief summary: but what is my blog for? *Scratches head, spends months trying to come up with the answer*) Coupled with that has just been a basic lack of things to write about.

When I started out, I mostly wrote about craft. Various lovely (or not so lovely) things I had made. But I’m not making anything these days. A cardigan for the sproglet has been sitting on my knitting needles for five months now and nothing else even attempted.

Sometimes, I used to tell you about nice places I’d been. These days, it’s mostly a blur of toddler dance classes, singing classes, the nursery run, lunches round at friends’ houses while our kids play together (I am sorry, but I just cannot use that vile term “playdates”) – all a pleasant enough way to spend time, for sure, but not offering wildly fascinating stories that I can retell to avid readers.

Weekends are mostly taken up with the endless chore of painting the damn house. Or thinking about painting the damn house. Or not painting the damn house and then regretting it.

And, of course, there are lots of bloggers who keep up regular lovely, inspirational posts, showing you nothing more than the insides of their house. Their beautifully styled, gloriously white houses with eclectic collections of carefully sourced nicknacks and curios. My house, however, spends most of its days looking like a cesspit. Or at least the place where a charity shop vomited up its insides and nobody’s yet had time to sort through everything and price it all up…

Housework, ah housework. Before I had two children, I had expected – of course – that more of my time might be taken up looking after the kids. (I didn’t realise that somehow this time would not double but possibly quadruple…) But I didn’t anticipate that the time needed to do the housework would also exponentially increase.

It’s, quite literally, a full time job attempting to wash everyone’s clothes, stack and unstack the dishwasher, cook everyone’s meals (that are left mostly untouched or thrown to the floor), sweep the floor, think that I really should get around to mopping the floor one day soon, get two children washed in the evening and napping at the right times throughout the day.

And not a full time job at which I am doing well, either. A full time job at which – were I to have the corporate time waster that is a quarterly review – I would be found “failing to meet expectations” and put on a three month probation period, almost certainly fired at the end of it due to lack of improvements.

(I should say, I do (almost definitely always) get the kids fed and washed. Don’t worry about that. In clean clothes every day? Hmmm, not so much. Frequent is the Friday where I fish out some dirty clothes from the washing pile and use a wet wipe to clean off the worst of the stains before dropping the sproglet in to nursery – wondering if I am secretly being judged for consistently bringing my child in in unwashed clothes…)

How does everyone else manage it, I wonder?! Of course I know that behind the blogging / instagram photos of immaculate mantelpieces are almost certainly messy sitting rooms, but still, still, congratualtions to all those who find time to not only beautifully style but also photograph their mantelpieces!

Anyway, I may no longer be bringing you craft projects, reviews of fun places to visit in London, or even a decent photo of any old thing these days, but I did stumble across this fabulous quote a little while ago, which perfectly sums up how I feel about all this. And this, my friends, is definitely worth writing a blog post just to share.

Simone de Beauvoir on cleaning:

“Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”

Now, please, tell me I’m not alone!

PS, scrubbing brush image above from the Graphics Fairy. I’m not kidding you, I literally can’t find the time to go and snap a photo for this post…

21 thoughts on “The torture of Sisyphus…

  1. You are far from alone! I too, look at those lovely images of immaculate homes and wonder how they do it… I have two teenaged boys who “help” clean the house and sadly I am not as demanding as their father was… ’tis a real home. You know, the kind where there is no doubt people live in it!!

  2. It will get better – and then they become teenagers.
    I read a post about photographing for a blog. The photos were stunning and everything looked fabulous but at the end of the post was a photo of the area just inches away from the perfectly presented food dishes. It was a gloriously typical view of a normal kitchen with unwashed dishes, discarded packets and general family mess. So, my tip is to clean one spot and focus on that. A six inch square should be enough.
    Anyway, I’d rather read a witty post than one about yet another perfect lifestyle. Keep smiling.

    1. Well said, Anne! I like the “- and then they become teenagers” part… and the photo shoot is definitely true (in MY house anyway!)

      1. You know at the moment, I think even a six inch square is beyond me! (Or, I should confess truthfully, not at the top of my priorities, ha ha…)

        Okay, so I am going to look forward to the post-toddler pre-teenager phase as a time to have a bit of spare time then!

        Thanks for both your comments. xxx

  3. a charity shop vomited up its insides and nobody’s yet had time to sort through everything and price it all up… – this might be my favourite line of your blog ever, that will keep me laughing for a long time today. – Annie

  4. Thanks of saying it. I live on the edge of squalor and have no real excuse except I can always find better things to do than clean…or cook beyond the simplest. AND I have no one here but me and a husband who washes all dishes and is neater than me. I was so proud the other day that I cleaned the bathroom top to bottom while he was out. I don’t like to be watched while cleaning.

  5. Oh, thank god it’s not just me. No, you’re not alone. No styled mantel here, and no spare time for doing lovely things to blog about I’ve been in a blog slump too. Not many photos, nothing to say of any interest. I finish a craft project about once every three years, and I just finished one last year, so it will be a while until the next one. I have less excuse than you as my little people are all at school now. CJ xx

  6. This made me laugh so much, as could have written almost exactly the same post about myself and my two lovely (messy, wild, reckless) children. I too have times when I wonder how other bloggers have time to style their lives so beautifully, when I can’t even finish a cup of tea, let alone make their dinner! Your writing is wonderful though, and others have said I am sure *hopes* that everything else family-related will get easier in time. Laura x

  7. This is your friendly southern painter lady,yes been there done that!Now add a full time job painting those dang houses!haha!Have a husband,son,and grandson living with me and I do laundry every day when we finish our baths,cook supper,wash the dishes,go to bed get up at 5 am fix thermos of coffee,coolers of drinks,get everyone up and running again!My house is not clean but I’m not superwoman!It doesn’t seem to get any easier.But that’s the way a women’s life is.I love reading your blog,the fact that you live in England and I live in Louisiana in the USA,makes it more interesting for me.Hang in there,life is full,and we LOVE it that way!

  8. Firstly – how are you feeling now? Better I hope
    Secondly – I love the new blog look!

    I used to ask myself ‘Why do I actually blog’ every few months. I find it far too easy to get swayed and sidetracked by lovely lifestyle blogs, the pretty styled flowers and crisp white walls and stunning mantlepieces. For a long time I thought because I love looking at those kind of blogs that that should be how I should be blogging. These days I analyse it all a lot less, it’s easy to overthink these things – and as a vaguely creative type I find it can be really stifling to have a tagline or small number of bold categories to feel confined and obliged to.

    That may not even make sense so apologies if not! Rather full of cold here!

    1. Ah thanks Annie!

      Much better now, thanks, and the sproglet has recovered from his Monday night trip to A&E to have stitches as well, poor chicken. What a week it was, last week…

      And thanks also for the new blog design love. A bit cleaner, I thought.

      I *totally* am with you on the whole, “why do I blog?” thing — you’ve absolutely cracked it. Just because I like to look at certain blogs doesn’t mean I have to do that myself. Ha! That’s quite a revelation, actually. And you’re so right about the taglines / categories too. I spend ages wondering if I should try and do more crafts / less gardening / more personal stuff etc. Whereas the times I most enjoy blogging is when (like with this post) I just sit down and write whatever is in my head…

      Anyway, huge thanks for your comment, and hope your cold clears up soon. We are in a blissful no illness few days here, long may it last!


  9. We don’t have kids but still struggle to keep our house tidy. I like cooking and we don’t have a dishwasher so there are normally dishes left on the side. Plus lots of things are breaking in the house, the bathroom has been half gutted and because we’ve been away for a few days the house looks like a bomb has hit it – laundry everywhere, half unpacked cases and *things* on the sides waiting to be put away. Hope that makes you feel better, I’m sure you’re doing better than you feel you are 🙂

  10. It is so true – “the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day”. This routine is rally bringing me down sometimes but it is what it is…

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