Make peace with housework blog book coverRegular readers will no doubt know I’ve recently been working on another book. (I’m afraid I’ve never been very good at hiding my excitement.) 

My new book chronicles my writing and self-publishing adventures over the last few years.

And to think – it all began with a loathing of housework! (I suppose writing about it is one way to deal with it…)

If you’re interested in writing, or you’re planning to write a book, or just curious about my self-publishing antics (I spill the beans on all kinds of hard-won lessons and lucky breaks) – you can get more details and a sneaky peek at the first pages here.

      

But what about the ‘Free Book’ bit….?


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how do you feel about new year resolutions

 

It’s that New Year time of year again….

I love it – I love all the optimism and Fresh Start energy. I love to think of the coming year, a clean slate, just waiting for our lives to be written across it. 

However, I know not everyone is a fan of the conventional New Year, New You activities. 

So here are two options – pick whichever suits you:

 • If you like to make new year’s resolutions, then this is for you.

 • If you don’t, you might like my previous musings on the whole resolutions business…..

Whatever you opt for, I wish you a wonderful year ahead – it’s going to be great! (I can just feel it.)

Happy New Year!

 

Danielle

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PS Have you done that review of the year’s successes yet? Do it now!

 

Picture credit: Stephen J. Sullivan

 

 

 


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…deserves breakfast in bed.

In the optimistic hope that you are going to be treated like royalty this weekend, allow me to offer you my musings on the whole Mother’s Day business from the early days of the blog…

There is a phrase that I mutter to myself, on days when it feels like the world and his wife wants my attention: “To be needed is a blessing, not a curse”. Some days it comes easier than others.

Despite the absolute joy I felt when my children first said ‘Mummy’, there are days when I am summoned so many times that I want to ban the word.

I’m sure (I hope!) many mothers can relate to this. But I don’t believe this makes us bad mothers. We’re just human. We just need a bit of moderation. Buddha would back me up here – too much of anything is never a good idea.

With motherhood, though, meeting the demands of others goes with the territory. So it is only right that the balance be readdressed at least once a year, when the mother gets to do the bidding. Cue…Mother’s Day!


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The sun is shining, the snowdrops are out and children are casting off school jumpers with merry abandon. I think spring may well be here. (Not that that rules out snow flurries next week….) But just in case these seasonal stirrings are turning your attention to housework, I thought I’d repost my musings on spring cleaning from this time last year;

If you’re even remotely considering a spot of Spring Cleaning – just hold that thought!

Though spring may undoubtedly have sprung and you may be keen to revitalise your home after the dark days of winter, before you do…

I have a tip that will help make this seasonal maintenance work much easier. In fact, this simple step may even bring wondrous benefits to you, your home and your life, long after you hang up your marigolds.


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 other woman.jpg

Inferiority is relative. It needs something or someone else to be compared to.

A sense of inferiority arises from comparing ourselves to someone else, someone supposedly superior. Why do we do that? Is it helpful? Very often, it isn’t but it can be automatic and unconscious. It’s a natural human tendency. Everybody does it. But whereas men tend to compare sizes (car, salary, appendage…), women tend to compare appearance – figures, clothes and inevitably, homes.

And as a feature of the modern age, we are increasingly exposed to media standards or celebrities’ homes and lifestyles. So now we also get to judge ourselves against these additional, artificially high, expectations of what we feel we should be doing.

I know I’ve been guilty of proclaiming, “I’m no good at housework. I’m just not as good as most women.” But if we examine this common grievance, it’s actually ridiculous.

Firstly, how could I possibly know how good most women are? I have a reasonable number of female friends but even that’s a tiny sample of the current female population. Secondly, is there really a single standard to which ‘most women’ conform? And who sets this arbitrary standard anyway? If there was just me on the planet, my techniques, standards, would be the norm – who’s to say they’re not the right ones? Besides, why does it even matter what ‘most women’ are doing? We’re not sheep, we’re individuals.

In light of all this, then, it seems obvious that one quick route out of inferiority is to stop comparing our homes with other women’s houses. But that can be easier said than done. So, whist it’s certainly worth remembering there is no single ‘right way’, there is another way to approach the problem.

Instead of focusing on your perceived shortcomings, turn the spotlight onto that which you believe to be better than you. It’s very likely that when you start to uncover the story behind these ‘superior beings’, you will discover that your lofty view of them is based on smoke and mirrors…

Don’t believe the media

Is your marriage like a movie marriage? Are your children like the perfect darlings we see on adverts? Does your hair always look like you ‘just stepped out of the salon’?

Let’s face it, no-one could maintain that level of perfection. Even supermodels admit they’re not as perfect as their airbrushed covers and posters. Why, then, do we sometimes feel pressured to have homes that resemble a magazine spread? Even the home in the magazine doesn’t look like that all of the time! It’s just a snapshot, a small timeframe, until life carries on, people and things gather, dust accumulates.

So be careful with how you relate to these ‘ideal’ homes. Whilst it’s true that interior magazines and TV shows can be uplifting and a vicarious pleasure, keep in mind that they are usually far from the norm. The are intended to be aspirational rather than realistic – to inspire you, as a force for good feelings. (Personally, I love them – they spur me to create the beautiful home that I long for – they make me want to tidy up, which can’t be bad.)

However the danger comes when these artificially perfect images depress rather than enliven. So, if your reaction to them is to sigh with despair, either a) remind yourself how contrived or unlikely that one shot is or b) look at something else!

People lie

We all have egos. We all want people to believe a certain version of us, so we gloss over the bits that don’t fit the image. I’m not suggesting your friends or peers lie to you, or you to them, but we may have a ‘best side’ that we’d prefer the world to see, rather than the more realistic and less flattering truth.

So there may be aspects to your domestic life that you’d rather keep quiet. But do you think you’re the only one? No-one is perfect, (which, in my view is a good thing – it would be exhausting!). What you see isn’t always the whole story. So, whilst it’s good to admire those who posses the qualities you’d like, don’t belittle yourself in comparison to their perfection – you are only seeing the highly-polished veneer.

It’s not a level playing field

You cannot possibly know all the facts about someone else’s life. Yes, your neighbour may have a perfect home. But she may also have staff or an over-zealous mother-in-law or obsessive compulsive disorder!

Don’t waste your energy comparing yourself unfavourably to women who seem to effortlessly pull it off. Firstly, you have no idea what effort is actually going on, behind the scenes. Secondly, you are unlikely to know the full extent of any support they may have. For example, your friend may keep an immaculate home but her husband may do all the cooking or her mother may help out with childcare or any number of scenarios. It’s pointless to compare results when everyone’s situation is different.

So, if we’re not comparing like with like, why compare at all?

Perfect home does not equal perfect life

There are worse problems than a messy home. Those people that you envy may be facing issues so serious they would swap lives with you in an instant. Everyone has problems, but for some these can be severe, traumatic, life-threatening and permanent. As depressing, exhausting and frustrating domestic woes can be, if this is our biggest problem, that’s actually something to be thankful for.

 

* * *

As always, I’d love to hear what you think!

Danielle

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This post is an extract from: Housework Blues – A Survival Guide.
Available in paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more details.

 

Picture credit: E D Plug

 


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An extract from Housework Blues – A Survival Guide.

              

“People with goals succeed
because  they know where they’re going.”

~ Earl Nightingale

Write it down.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of your goal, write it down. Advocates of list-making will tell you there is magic in the written word – even if you never look at it again. This is because the process of writing forces you to crystallise your ideas. However, there is definitely merit in revisiting your written goals. They’re a great tool in charting your progress and a useful visual reminder that reinforces your aims. 

If you’re in any doubt of the power of written goals, I suggest you read Mark McCormack’s book, What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School. In it, he quotes some compelling statistics from a decade-long study of Harvard MBA graduates. For example, in 1979, 3% of the participating graduates had written down their goals and made plans to achieve them, 13% had unwritten goals, and the rest had no specifc goals. When the graduates were interviewed 10 years later, those who had unwritten goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the graduates with no clear goals. However, the 3% who wrote down their goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as all the other graduates put together! 

So write down your goals!

Wherever this secret power comes from – make use of it. In fact authors Tom & Penelope Pauley (of richdreams.com) believe that writing it down is all you have to do! In their book, I’m Rich Beyond My Wildest dreams, I am, I am, I am, their suggested route to riches is simply making detailed lists of what you want. It’s a fascinating and fun technique and one that I’ve already had some success with. 

Now, you may need an open mind for this and a little faith, at first. But it’s not necessary to explain or understand the forces at work to make use of this trick. Once you try it and see the evidence that it works, you’ll be convinced. In fact, you’ll probably be so excited and amazed that you’ll want to share it with everyone!

So, get yourself a nice pen, and maybe a smart new notebook in honour of your new regime, then grab a cuppa and a seat – and write down the blueprint for your perfect home-life. Then prepare to be amazed. (Note: If you’re like most people, you will now be nodding and thinking, Yeah, yeah, I get the idea, I don’t really need to actually do it… If that’s the case – reread the statistics above! This stuff works – why not make use of it to help you? It’s a small effort that will reap dividends – but only if  you do it!

It’s worth noting here that it’s not necessary to know the exact route to your desired outcome. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, you don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step. There is a school of thought that believes the answers will find you. Personally, I’ve had much experience of this method and ?nd that in the act of setting a goal, a few ideas ‘magically’ crop up. I’ve learned to trust these nudgings and take inspired action. There may be times where I can’t see how these actions could possibly result in my goal, but invariably, by some route I could never have imagined, they do. So my personal belief is that the route will occur to you once you make the decision to go for it. If you have faith in the process, you only have to know what you want to achieve and the answers will appear as you go along. For me, this path is not only successful, but hugely enjoyable and full of magic and awe. 

It’s possible, though, that a more structured technique will appeal to you. If you find it helpful to map out a series of steps that could get you to your goal, that might be the best process for you. Many success experts recommend this. In The Success Principles, the hugely successful Jack Canfield has dedicated a chapter to this idea of ‘chunking down’. To do this, take your end-goal and reduce it down to all the steps you believe you’ll need to take to get there. Make these smaller and smaller chunks until you find one you can start with. 

Which brings me nicely onto Step 3 of the process… 

 

(If you’d like to read the complete article, visit houseworkblues.com for details  of the book.) 

 

 

 

 


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Peace Christmas Hearth

Oh, Christmas…

For all the joy and magic of this festive season, there’s no doubt that Christmas brings with it a good deal of extra work and things to do. There are the parties and visits to and from friends and family… Then there’s all that present planning and buying, wrapping and giving… There’s all that extra food shopping and cooking and baking… And on top of all that, there’s also a considerable seasonal serving of extra housework.

Now, before I get all Ebenezer on you, let me just stress that I am a huge fan of Christmas. I absolutely love it. I think I enjoy it even more now than I did when I was a child. Having two small children of my own definitely adds to the magic and sense of excitement and wonder, but even in the quiet moments of planning and organising, the Christmas season always makes me smile.

This is in spite of the extra work, though, rather than because of it.

So, in my attempt to get maximum enjoyment from the festivities with minimum amounts of stress and frantic frenzies, I have a few ideas for a Calmer Christmas Karma. These are lessons I’ve learnt about what makes for a happier time for all concerned – not least, myself. (And why not, Christmas is for grown-ups, too!)


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shine your light.jpg

“Is this it?”

“Is this what my life has come to?”

“I’ve got so much more to offer.”

Sound familiar?

If your life is consumed by housework, no wonder you feel superior – of course you have more to offer! I don’t believe that any woman on the planet has nothing more to contribute than cleaning and tidying. However, that doesn’t mean we should never do it. We have more to contribute than pretty nails but that doesn’t mean we should avoid manicures!


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 girl put your records on

Any regular readers will no doubt be aware that I have a natural aversion to housework. This is not to say I don’t do it – I want to live in a pleasant and comforting home, so needs must etc… But generally speaking it’s not top of my list of things I want to do.

So you probably won’t be too surprised to discover that when I do eventually shift my gears into housework mode, I race about at a frenzied pace, trying to get the jobs done and dusted (literally) as quickly as possible.

Now there is nothing wrong with working quickly, if that’s how you work happiest. Also, there may be times when a brisk pace is essential (ie impending guests are looming). Quite often, though, I have no need to rush the housework, other than my in-built urge to get it over with. And I have also noticed that these domestic frenzies don’t leave me feeling satisfied and competent, instead they actually they wind me up. They make me anxious and tense. So not only do I begrudge the work as I’m tearing through it, but when it’s over, I feel slightly glum or more than a little snappish. Hardly domestic bliss.


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Looking after a home and family is physically demanding work. Without health, energy and emotional calm, it can be an uphill struggle. So it makes sense to prioritise your well-being, make it non-negotiable. Looking after No1 needs to be Job #1.

However, the life of a House Slave is a busy one and there may be times when what should, in theory, be top of your To Do list, can drift and slide to the nether regions of your Things That Get Neglected list.

So what to do?


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nigella kitchen

This week sees the return to our screens of the lovely Nigella Lawson.

Her new series, Nigella Kitchen, begins Monday 30th September at 8pm on BBC 2.

So to celebrate this happy event, I thought I would mark the occasion with a Nigella-flavoured blog post.

I recently got my hands on Nigella’s new companion book (also called Kitchen) and although I’m only on page 92 (I like to read her books cover-to-cover), it has already struck me with its helpfulness in answering one of life’s most challenging questions:

What’s for tea, mum?


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Much as I love the summer, and much as I love my children, I have been known to feel the strain of the summer school holidays. I take my hat off to all the mums who manage to enjoy, rather than endure, the long break. However, I will admit, it does have its perks – my favourite being: time to read.

I’m a big reader all year but I seem to get through more books than usual during those endless summer days. So I thought I would share with you some of the valuable things I learned this summer, as I tried to escape the mess, noise and chaos surrounding me and saught sanctuary in my books….

Possibly the most effective read of the summer was Karen Rauch Carter’s, Move your stuff, change your life. It’s a guide to the Black Hat school of Feng Shui.


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 domestic goddessness.jpg

By popular request, today’s post is a bit of an odd one for this blog…

It’s a recipe.

Not being your average domestic goddess, there are unlikely to be many more but since I was asked to post this, here it is.

It’s my method of producing that vital essential to domestic life – the flapjack.


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toyclutter.jpg

This is a picture of my son, doing what he loves to do – fluffle his mummy’s hair. He has done this ever since he developed fine motor skills. When he was smaller, he used to do it while feeding. Some babies need a blanket or soft toy, my boy needed a handful of hair belonging to someone who loves him.

(Though, this did limit surrogate feeders somewhat. In fact, I did contemplate lopping off my locks and tying with a ribbon so he could be fed by persons without grabbable-length hair…)

So how does this picture help me cope with the fall-out of toys that litters my home?


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Plan, Shop, Chop

I was once reading a cook-book by that original domestic goddess –Nigella Lawson. In it, she casually mentioned that planning and shopping are as much a part of cooking as the kitchen-based business.

This was a eureka moment for me.

Of course! It seemed so obvious when pointed out! Yet all this time I’d been wondering why I felt so defeated by the prospect of feeding my family. I had neglected to incorporate two of the three vital ingredients – planning and shopping.


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crayke

 

I recently wrote a guest blog post for my Twitter friend Jo Belfield on the subject of photography, (Jo creates beautiful photos for a living).

I believe that having your favourite photos on display in your home can be a great antidote to the housework blues.

So, here’s the blog post again in case you didn’t catch it:

I recently embarked upon a full day of housework.

This is not something I do very often. Not because I don’t enjoy a clean and tidy home – I do, I love it. However, I find that Great Big Cleaning Efforts mess with my head. There’s a very real danger that all the mindless domestic activity will result in a head-space of frustration, despair or low-level fury. (Or on a bad day, all three.) Admittedly there are far worse ordeals to be facing, but I don’t think I’m alone in occasionally feeling the strain of home and family maintenance.


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help with the housework.jpg

I am a big reader of business manuals and success books and I’d like to share one of the common threads that feature in the great majority, which I think can be safely summed up as follows:

get help!

It’s a simple idea; you focus on what you are good at, your natural talents and abilities, then you seek out ways to delegate the things that you struggle with or resent or do very, very badly.

Can you see where I’m going with this…?


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scarlett o hara moment.jpg

So, you’ve spent your time cooking or cleaning or washing or ironing etc, then you look around a few hours later and the fruits of your labour are gone with the wind.

Take a deep breath – it’s time for a Scarlett O’Hara moment.


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readers top tips housework.jpg

Thanks to the marvels of technology, some of my recent online articles included a comments facility and some people very kindly used this space to volunteer their own housework-success secrets.

These included some real gems and I thought it would be helpful to put together a summary of these words of wisdom. So, here follows a collection of top tips from the online community, on how to cope in the domestic trenches. (Thanks, readers!)


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 Housework workout.jpg

In Housework Blues, I describe the many wonderful benefits of The Housework Workout, (ie using housework as a form of exercise). Yet I’m not the first to suggest this idea. In fact, if you search for ‘housework’ on Amazon, one of the top results is the Housework Workout DVD*.

It’s a well-documented theory that the physical, aerobic nature of housework can reap rewards for your figure, especially when you carry out the work with an intention to trim/tone and you tweak your movements for maximum benefit. (For some quick tips on this check out this article from the NHS.)

Perhaps less well-known, however, are the invisible, ‘knock-on’ benefits that also occur when housework is your exercise of choice. So, if the prospect of thinner thighs is not quite enough to motivate you mop-wards, consider the following favourable, yet often unrecognised advantages of The Housework Workout


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first book danielle raine.jpg

 

As so many children’s stories have it:  “At last, the great day arrived.” For me, that day is today. I hold in my hands a real-life, in-the-flesh version of my own book! This is my first book and so I’m giddy with excitement. (It really is quite a thrill – I heartily recommend it.) So, I’m celebrating this special moment and what I think is quite an achievement. 

However, it’s also good news for you because it means we are only days away from seeing the Paperback version of Housework Blues on sale on Amazon*. Days! Then, for those of you not keen on eBooks can get in on all the fun and frolics to be had in tackling your domestic demons.

Watch this space!

In the meantime, since it’s Friday, I’d love it if you wold join me in a celebratory tipple (or two) and raise a toast to the end of housework blues for women everywhere.

(Can you imagine how much nicer the world would be….?)

Cheers, my dears!

 

Danielle

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Housework Blues coverToday, I finally published the real-life (ie paperback) edition of Housework Blues – A Survival Guide!

There will be more details coming up (see below) but it should be available to buy from Amazon very soon! I’m so excited! This is the culmination of nearly 2 years of blood, sweat and tears (well, not so much the tears – it’s been a real labour of love).

I’m absolutely thrilled to have it finished and to send it on it’s way into the world to help women everywhere beat their Housework Blues.

Thanks so much to everyone who has sent in ideas, feedback or general kind words of encouragement.
I couldn’t have done it without you!

Right, off to celebrate with a big cup of tea and a flapjack.

(Rock & roll!)

 

Danielle

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PS the Kindle version is available NOW. Click here to grab yourself a free sample or immediate download.

PPS the eBook is also available now.

PPPS Did I mention I was very excited!

 

 

Housework Blues book trailer  video


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As a person, it is irritating when people don’t do their fair share, but if you are at all feminist, it’s much more complicated. There are principles at stake.

There is often the unspoken question: is it being left to me because I am the female? This incurs a wrath born of social inequities, turning a personal situation into a political one. It becomes less of a question about whether you should always have to clean the floor and transmutes into whether women should always have to clean the floor.


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 how to keep new years resolutions

 

 

New Year Resolutions.

Did you make any, this year? If so, are they still going strong? Or just a dim and slightly guilty memory?

Given that the majority of New Year Resolutions fail to make it past New Year’s Eve, it begs the question – why bother? Aren’t they just a waste of time, doomed to failure as all that Fresh Start energy disappears with the empty Champagne bottles?

Is there really any point making those optimistic plans and hopes?

Well, here’s my take on it…


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If, for whatever reason, you don’t take on external help (and even if you do – you’ll still have to tidy up before they come!), it makes sense to utilise existing labour sources. I’m referring to The Others. The people you live with. Now you may be thinking – if those we live with did their fair share, we wouldn’t need this book! But I believe it’s possible (and just) to recruit them in your domestic battle. It’s simply a case of finding the right approach…


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Could it be true? (again)

Now I am a self-confessed Undomestic Goddess. I am not naturally inclined to clean and tidy. I am a million miles away from the Perfect Housewife. And yet…

The other day, I had a few precious minutes of un-spoken-for time on my hands and what did I choose to do with it? Well, believe it or not, I actually went looking for some housework!

Admittedly, I didn’t have to look very far…but the point is, I was motivated to do housework. Now what strange magic was at work? What could this new driving force possibly be? What awesome power could be behind such a freak occurrence?

Well, the good news is, the answer is a simple one. The even better news is, you can quite easily get your hands on it, too!


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The results of housework are all too fleeting. You spend your time performing boring tasks and before long, they need doing again. There’s not much scope for any earth-shattering achievements, right?

Wrong!


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Let’s play Spot the Difference.

Woman A arrives home. She hangs up her coat, bag and keys. She looks around her tidy home, smiles and decides she’s got time to relax in her beautiful sitting room with a cuppa and a magazine.

A flustered Woman B heaves the door open, pushing aside the debris blocking the entrance. She throws her coat on the pile – one more won’t make a difference. As she enters the kitchen, her heart sinks at the sight. Then, though she is surrounded by a million chores that need doing, she collapses, overwhelmed and exhausted on the sofa. She emits a small yelp as the hard plastic toy digs into her back.

So, then. What’s the difference between these two women?


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Women are instinctive nurturers and carers. Historically, we are the caretakers of the species. Even in recent times, women who work full-time still tend to be the ones who make a house a home, administer TLC and know/care how each family member likes their breakfast. Regardless of who has the earning power, it’s usually the Lady of the House who manages the everyday comings and goings. She-Who-Knows-Where-The-Clean-Socks-Are. (Or aren’t, perhaps)


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Could it be true?

It just might be! Allow me to demonstrate with a personal story…

My youngest child has recently begun ‘Big School’ (though it could well be the tiniest Primary school in the country…). It’s quite a milestone in his life but also, it’s the beginning of an exciting new phase in my life, too. After ten years of being a full-time stay-at-home work-from-home mummy, I now appear to have my life back (a bit).

To celebrate this new era, I set myself the goal of becoming fit, healthy and the possessor of a beach-body to be proud of. Now, this is no mean feat.


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What if….?

I am not a natural-born bedmaker. When I see an unmade bed, I am not overwhelmed with an urge to make it. I am more often overwhelmed with an urge to go into another room.

However, I do admit to a slight blip of happiness when I see a beautifully made bed. I love to see a sumptuous and inviting slumber-zone, with plentiful plumped-up pillows and creaseless sheets (a la the gorgeous Beachy Cottage).

So, how to combine this love of bedded-bliss with my strong housework-avoidance streak…?


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Some days, for no particular reason, you’re just in a slump. You’re human. It happens. So, for these occasions, you’ll need to bypass logic and go straight to emotions.

Cue my Top Ten Emergency Uppers…

1. Look for the silver lining. However bad things are, there is always something positive you can focus on. If it’s any consolation, there will always be someone worse off than you.

2. Find clues in the opposite. If things are getting you down, that’s a clue to what would bring you up – so focus on that. Collect images of how you would like things to be. Select pictures or photos of your ideal situation. If the state of the house is depressing you, look at pictures of beautiful interiors. If your children are driving you mad, look at a photo of them being angelic and adorable.

3. Know your Rescue Remedies. Make a list of all the things that always make you smile, no matter how low you go. It could be books, places, people. Look for the sparks, those little gems of life that always bring a smile to your face. Only you know what they are.


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It’s not often you’ll see the word feminist linked with the topic of housework. Surely, feminists don’t do housework..?

Oh, but we do!

A belief in equality is all well and good, but it won’t do the dishes or make the beds. And until the theory of equality reaches the domestic workload (don’t hold your breath…) guess who gets the bulk of the housework? Feminist or not – if you are The Lady of the House, chances are it’s down to you to keep it clean and tidy.

So, what can we do? Spend all our time fighting the regime? Berate our menfolk for their enviable ability to dodge domestic pressure? Possibly. But in the meantime, the dust is gathering.


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…to help with the housework!

I recently wrote a chapter about motivation in the domestic realm, for my new book, Housework Blues.

It lead to the following spin-off idea which I think you may find very useful and effective. The idea is to utilise a powerful technique that deploys your subconscious mind – requiring less conscious (and begrudging) effort from you.

Sound good?


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Picture the scene…

You’ve just collapsed onto the sofa with a drink and your favourite book/magazine/TV programme. The relaxing sigh is barely out of your mouth before you hear it….the summons.

Somebody, somewhere wants a piece of you. And they want it NOW. If they’re not demanding food, they need something finding. Or cleaning. Or they need your diplomatic services to solve a dispute. Whatever it is they need, you know there will be no peace until they have it.


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The ‘Not Enough Hours In The Day’ Trilogy – Part III

Keeping our homes and feeding our families are innate human habits. And, thanks to today’s mod cons, this domestic stuff has never been easier. Why, then, do we still struggle to find the time for it?

One answer lies in the position of housework on our to-do lists, (ie not very high.) But there is another explanation: if we have so much to do that such a primal and essential need gets neglected – perhaps our lists are too long! The existence of housework isn’t the problem – it’s a side-effect of being alive – but if we don’t have time for it, the problem is: our lives are too full. If we lack the time to take decent care of ourselves and our families, something, somewhere has gone wrong…


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The ‘Not Enough Hours In The Day’ Trilogy – Part II

As a race, we humans have always had self-maintenance work to do. It’s part of survival. If you’re alive, it goes with the territory. So why, with all the modern advancements at our disposal, do we struggle to find the time for this primitive and basic care-work – looking after our homes and families?

The problem is not a lack of hours in the day. If we had more hours, no doubt we would cram them full of other stuff and still have no time for housework! Since we generally manage to find or make time for what matters most to us, it’s less a time issue and more a question of priorities.

Far from being the bare minimum for survival, the nurturing of our homes and families seems to have slipped down the to-do list. But why has taking care of our ‘lair’ lost its sparkle?


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The ‘Not Enough Hours In The Day’ Trilogy – Part I

Ever find that you just don’t have enough time for housework? Do you ever feel that the mountain of laundry is just unscale-able? That you need more hours in the day to get it all done? I’m guessing, by the fact that you’re here, you answered a resounding YES to all of the above.

And yet, never in the history of women, have we had so much assistance within the home. Imagine, only a few generations ago – whole days were devoted to laundry! These days, we balk at the effort of slamming our clothes into a machine for an hour – but when we return, they’re all clean! No fetching pails of water. No rubbing our knuckles raw on washing boards. No losing our fingers to menacing mangles. Compared to the efforts of our foremothers – modern laundry is a breeze.


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And you’ve just tidied it!

There are few greater tests of love than keeping your temper when family members unravel your hard work – before your very eyes. Now that’s tough. But then that’s life, full of challenges.

Of course, being human, some days we won’t manage to keep a lid on our simmering fury. However, if we can manage our anger on just a few of these testing occasions, so much the better for all within earshot – not least ourselves. And as the wise Lemony Snicket puts it,

“Temper tantrums, however fun they may be to throw, rarely solve whatever problem is causing them.”

So learning to diffuse our vexation is useful because, let’s face it – this particular problem isn’t likely to be a one-off. If your family are anything like mine, they will view a tidy room or clean surface as an irresistible magnet for clothes, toys, papers and other such debris. So until we discover how to retrain them successfully, we need an antidote to the temptation to explode.


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…deserves breakfast in bed.

There is a phrase that I mutter to myself, on days when it feels like the world and his wife wants my attention: “To be needed is a blessing, not a curse”. Some days it comes easier than others.

Despite the absolute joy I felt when my children first said ‘Mummy’, there are days when I am summoned so many times that I want to ban the word.

I’m sure (I hope!) many mothers can relate to this. But I don’t believe this makes us bad mothers. We’re just human. We just need a bit of moderation. Buddha would back me up here – too much of anything is never a good idea.

With motherhood, though, meeting the demands of others goes with the territory. So it is only right that the balance be readdressed at least once a year, when the mother gets to do the bidding. Cue…Mother’s Day!


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Spring is most definitely in the air. At last!

I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love Spring. In fact, it could be my favourite season, despite the best day of the year (my birthday) being in October. Maybe it’s the contrast to the cold, dark days of Winter – we’re all ready for bit of sunshine. Or maybe it’s the sense of renewed energy and vitality – and not only for plants and animals. As the shoots begin to appear, many people begin to think of new projects or fresh starts. Spring is a time for action. A time to start working on those plans that have been shelved during the winter hibernation.

And so it is with this burst of seasonal zest that I begin my first ever blog!

Ironically, though, Spring is the month most associated with cleaning. My blog, on the other hand, is intended as an antidote to the misery of housework. My mission is to help housework blues-sufferers everywhere and liberate them from any angst or anger they feel towards their role within the home.

While I know some  will be merrily rolling up their sleeves in preparation for some good old-fashioned domestic labour, I have a feeling that there are one or two, out there, who are a bit more like me. Those who feel that the spring weather is far too enjoyable to be wasted by cleaning the house.


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