Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Carmine quotes No. 18

Mildly cold and raining more or less constantly.


Saturday lunchtime. Picture the scene. The kitchen table is scattered with tiny pieces of cereal packet, a pair of child scissors, homework, about a hundred assorted hair clips. The floor is a confetti of impossible-to-sweep minuscule cuttings from the FT (letter-by-letter, rather than article-by-article). There are dirty cups, dirty straws, dirty spoons. And Mama is frantically trying to make space for lunch...

Mama [holding up the brush and dustpan and holding down the panic]: Guys, you just have to see it my way. I spend all weekend from the moment you wake up to the moment I fall over from exhaustion cleaning up after you. 

[Voice starting to rise as hyperventilation kicks in]: I go round and round in circles. I clean up one bit, I turn my back for five minutes and when I come back it's twice as bad. 

[Going blue in the face with the effort of trying to be a rational, calm adult]: I just don't understand what I have to do ... 

[Loses it]: ...SO THAT YOU GUYS WILL STOP TRASHING THE PLACE ... 

[Shakes head and calms down]: I just don't understand what I have to do!

B. aged four [Looking up calmly from a pile of saffron she's methodically pushing through a crack in the kitchen floor]: Mama, why don't you read the instructions?

9 comments:

ladyfi said...

LOL - I recognize this frustration completely!

Karin said...

Been there, done that! Oh, the memories! Unfortunately, kids don't come with instructions! I do recall, fondly now, my mother always mumbling under her breath, in German of course, "Just wait, you'll get it all back when you have kids of your own someday." She was right!

Woodman said...

Just let them get on with it in a room that doesn't matter.

Katie May (or may not) said...

I have the same experience, sort of. No small children anymore, but just everyday living means I spend a good part of my days picking things up in one place and moving them to another place. A lot of domestic work in the home has to be done over again the next day; there is never, for long, something I can point to with a feeling of accomplishment; it is soon in use and messed up again. And others don't seem to notice one way or another.

Louise | Italy said...

Ciao Katie May --- this is what Simone de Beauvoir had to say on the subject...

http://carminesuperiore.blogspot.com/2010/05/quote-of-week-no-38-on-housework.html

Vanessa said...

Love the idea that family life might come with instructions like a Monopoly game!

Louise | Italy said...

More like Battleships...

SherilinR said...

i can totally relate. i homeschool my 8 yr old & since she's home most of the time & she's very creative, she can make messes like nobody's business. the last 2 days have been filled with cutting out paper snowflakes & the paper schrapnel is getting out of control!
btw, it's nice to stop by today. here from bpotw. =)

Katie May (or may not) said...

And the other side of the coin is demonstrated by this quote from May Sarton:
"... learn to take the chores as an exercise, deliberately slowing down, savoring the smoothing of a sheet, the making of order as delightful in itself..."

It is possible to take pride and pleasure from what has always been thought of as "women's work."

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Carmine quotes No. 18

Mildly cold and raining more or less constantly.


Saturday lunchtime. Picture the scene. The kitchen table is scattered with tiny pieces of cereal packet, a pair of child scissors, homework, about a hundred assorted hair clips. The floor is a confetti of impossible-to-sweep minuscule cuttings from the FT (letter-by-letter, rather than article-by-article). There are dirty cups, dirty straws, dirty spoons. And Mama is frantically trying to make space for lunch...

Mama [holding up the brush and dustpan and holding down the panic]: Guys, you just have to see it my way. I spend all weekend from the moment you wake up to the moment I fall over from exhaustion cleaning up after you. 

[Voice starting to rise as hyperventilation kicks in]: I go round and round in circles. I clean up one bit, I turn my back for five minutes and when I come back it's twice as bad. 

[Going blue in the face with the effort of trying to be a rational, calm adult]: I just don't understand what I have to do ... 

[Loses it]: ...SO THAT YOU GUYS WILL STOP TRASHING THE PLACE ... 

[Shakes head and calms down]: I just don't understand what I have to do!

B. aged four [Looking up calmly from a pile of saffron she's methodically pushing through a crack in the kitchen floor]: Mama, why don't you read the instructions?

9 comments:

ladyfi said...

LOL - I recognize this frustration completely!

Karin said...

Been there, done that! Oh, the memories! Unfortunately, kids don't come with instructions! I do recall, fondly now, my mother always mumbling under her breath, in German of course, "Just wait, you'll get it all back when you have kids of your own someday." She was right!

Woodman said...

Just let them get on with it in a room that doesn't matter.

Katie May (or may not) said...

I have the same experience, sort of. No small children anymore, but just everyday living means I spend a good part of my days picking things up in one place and moving them to another place. A lot of domestic work in the home has to be done over again the next day; there is never, for long, something I can point to with a feeling of accomplishment; it is soon in use and messed up again. And others don't seem to notice one way or another.

Louise | Italy said...

Ciao Katie May --- this is what Simone de Beauvoir had to say on the subject...

http://carminesuperiore.blogspot.com/2010/05/quote-of-week-no-38-on-housework.html

Vanessa said...

Love the idea that family life might come with instructions like a Monopoly game!

Louise | Italy said...

More like Battleships...

SherilinR said...

i can totally relate. i homeschool my 8 yr old & since she's home most of the time & she's very creative, she can make messes like nobody's business. the last 2 days have been filled with cutting out paper snowflakes & the paper schrapnel is getting out of control!
btw, it's nice to stop by today. here from bpotw. =)

Katie May (or may not) said...

And the other side of the coin is demonstrated by this quote from May Sarton:
"... learn to take the chores as an exercise, deliberately slowing down, savoring the smoothing of a sheet, the making of order as delightful in itself..."

It is possible to take pride and pleasure from what has always been thought of as "women's work."