I have never been a particularly tidy person… just ask my mother and she will give a Shakespearean soliloquy detailing my graffitied room, clothes strewn floor and toiletry museum.
I loved my teenage bedroom. The next few sentences will make me sound like a Kardashian; not in a porny sense but in an entitled spoilt princess way. I went to France for 3 weeks when I was 16 to stay with a French family (that is a blog post all to itself…jaysus was awful) and returned to find my bedroom had been made over spectacularly. My room had been pimped, by my Dad (inappropriate turn of phrase there). It was so magnificent that my friends had all been invited for the big reveal. They stood around awkwardly in their docs and tartan skirts probably wanting to punch me in my train tracks for interrupting make-out sessions behind the oratory. The walls were painted light blue and divided by a dado rail (this was 1992) with a silvery blue wall paper on the top half. The piece de resistance was a bespoke (me Da made it) four poster bed draped with gauzy, white curtain thingys. He had also built a desk for all that leaving cert study I was planning on doing. I cried, clapped and swore blind that I would forever keep it tidy and poster-less. A few weeks passed and I thought what harm could posters on the wardrobe doors do. I blue tacked up a few of those giant pull-out posters from BIG magazine. A couple of Daniel Day Lewis and Jim Morrison posters fuelled my teenage hormones. Funny story about a Jim poster. My Dad went on a trip, somewhere in Europe, football supporter related and being the amazing person he is brought me back a Jim Morrison poster, that famous, sexy one where his arms are raised. My Dad hadn’t noticed the blurb underneath… wanted for lewd and lascivious behavior in public by exposing his private parts and by simulating masturbation and oral copulation, a felony. My Mam almost combusted “Damien, I mean for god’s sake did you not read it? Mother of mercy, get me a scissors”. The obscenity was removed and the poster hung, along with poor Dad.
My bedroom door looked very bare so I painted a 6 foot sunflower on it. Little passport photos of a half dozen teenage girls hysterical with giggles squeezed into the booth appeared on my dressing table mirror, followed by concert tickets and call cards. A humongous signed poster of Newman and Baddiel was pinned to the ceiling over my bed so I could gaze lovingly at them before I slept. My mother was getting nervous at this stage and said I could hang some posters and she would frame them. I developed a love for Take That and Robbie Williams and I went wild collecting every magazine and pack of Topp trading cards. Soon the wallpaper was no longer visible and I spray painted the blue gold. I would always fling stuff in the bottom of my wardrobe or across a chair because the cleaning fairy (mam) would sort it all every morning.
No matter how messy I was/am I was a closet clean freak. I changed my sheets weekly, dusted, hoovered and would always rinse a glass before using it.
When I had Conall and we lived in a two bed apartment, you could have performed surgery anywhere in the gaff with no risk of mrsa. I had antibacterial spray holstered in my belt and would clean the floors on my hands and knees at night. I had an air purifier working at all times and some lavender oil burning to keep him (and me) calm. In the evening I would make up all his jigsaws, checking no pieces were missing and survey my shiny abode with pride.
Koray arrived 3 years later when we had moved to a 3 bedroom semi-d. Cleaning became a little more challenging but I would still manage in the evenings when the boys were asleep. I played a torturous little game with myself whereby I wasn’t allowed to put my bum on the couch till all chores were done and the floor washed. I would then walk on a towel to the kettle for my rewarding cup of tea and some soaps (not the collected kind, although my potty mouth would benefit).
I had just weaned Koray at 9 months old, exhaled (a bit too much) and realised I was pregnant again. Cue much excitement (sobbing) and delight (bed ridden). The tiredness was phenomenal. I remember bringing clothes upstairs to put away and falling on top of them into a coma. My fun tidy game gave way to… fuck it, I’ll do it in the morning. My little surprise, Rian was born and my- jesus life got hard. I had really tough decisions to make and prioritise like… breastfeeding while emptying the dishwasher as Koray fermented in a shitty nappy. The days passed in a blur and I managed a 10 minute dash at night, throwing toys randomly into boxes and sometimes just in the door of the playroom which I would shut when at crap capacity.
I was spinning too many plates and I would get angry at the kids for the constant mess and stickiness (all the door handles have a film of lollipop residue on them). So, I’ve let a lot go, I’ve had to for everyone’s mental health. I tidy as much as possible during the day and when the kids go to bed, I go too. I write or watch netflix and ignore the grubby floors downstairs, the dishwasher can be emptied tomorrow and I’ll throw a wash on in the morning. I need time to do Aisling things in the evening and being a mother I’ve lost so many parts of myself that I refuse to lose the rest to the absolute mundanity of domestic chores. Instead I will admire my extensive hand cream and candle collections, I may read a Mandy while the sink remains be-toothpasted and the contents of my wardrobe spill out on to the floor.