It's become a symbol of my refusal to bow down yet again to the slavery that comes with having children, writes Beck Vass
The pile of laundry is so high, I don't know where to start.
Two baskets of washing have sat full, for two weeks. I have rummaged through on the odd morning looking for specific items the kids have requested but it has got to the point where I can't find any socks.
They're in there. Somewhere.
Every day for the last two weeks I have told myself I will sort it. But I don't.
I mentioned this to my husband last night and he said.
"Just do it when he's asleep," referring to our almost 10-month-old baby.
There is a Christmas-themed dress in the corner of our room that has been there six weeks, since the mid-winter Christmas we hosted. I meant to wash it before putting it away but just haven't.
It's sitting on the baby bouncer the baby outgrew months ago.
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The house isn't overly messy or cluttered but there are these items scattered around that I walk past multiple times a day but don't deal to.
Another dress I need to hand wash sits in our wardrobe draped on a shelf, waiting.
I will want to wear it soon and I haven't even hung it up from summer.
A little toy car sits wedged against a skirting board in the hallway.
I could have picked it up dozens of times a day, for days.
But so could everyone else. They don't. So I don't either. It's become a symbol of my refusal to bow down yet again to the slavery that comes with having children. And a husband. Why don't they pick it up?
I know why I don't.
I could have done it. I am actively choosing not to.
It is my small rebellion. I never used to be like this. A job had to be done immediately. Always. Chores before fun. The dishes/washing/cleaning had to be done before sitting down to watch tv.
Now, with three children, I have become happy – or at least a lot more comfortable - with relegating a lot of things until "later".
"Later" as in the case of the summer dress, may be just before I want to wear it again. Perhaps even after.
But a rest break must be taken now or a rest break doesn't happen at all.
My standards have dropped so low, they're on the floor. For months.
This week, I haven't been feeling well. It feels like I am fighting off a cold. My body has been sore and I've been really tired.
I made sure I rested when I had down time when the baby was asleep and the older kids (6 and 4) were at school and daycare.
(I had already tackled the massive pile of washing, finally).
For two days, I decided I didn't need to do the washing because the weather was changeable anyway, and it wouldn't get dry. And I was better off resting. Until it couldn't be left any longer.
Why, when you have children, does two days of laundry turn into six weeks' worth?
It was bedtime when I remembered I had the World's Biggest Load of Washing to hang out, so I went to hang it out.
It had a strange film on it, as if it hadn't spun properly. Had I overloaded the machine?
Then I noticed things falling off it.
Oh FFS, who's had a tissue in their pocket?
Oh dear God, it's not a tissue. It's a nappy. Don't ask me how, but a disposable nappy had got into the washing. If you have never had this happen, you won't know how bad it is.
Tiny crumbs of gel are smeared over everything.
On top of that, there is white tissue-like fluff on everything as well.
The only option is to rinse everything, one at a time, with my eczema-ridden mum-hands before washing it again.
My husband walks in: "Can't you just shove it all back into the washing machine and wash it again?"
For those who haven't been through it, there is a general lack of appreciation for the often massive efforts required for child-related clean-ups.
So sometimes, little toy cars stay wedged against walls for weeks.