Friday, January 27, 2012

being the domestic Goddess

so, this is what an intervention looks like, i lamented. the tv remote was lost. lost, in this itsy-bitsy apartment and try as i might i could not locate it. neither could the husband. the blackster could not have eaten the whole thing, definitely not in less than two hours.

then, where could it have gone, i thought, looking around my house in disarray. complete disarray! not just because of the 'search.' back in the last week of last year, my domestic helps's husband pass├ęd away and she left the city. 

luckily, the lady coming in to make chapattis for the evening does the dishes. but, despite all that i did, i had nothing in control. i felt ragged with the labour of vacuuming, swabbing floors, windows and fans, sorting and folding laundry, which on most days were the lady's prerogative. clearly, i am at my best while delegating. 

in a household with two children, a dog, a parrot that is brought in the house thrice a week and an inefficient lady (that would be me) in charge, keeping up with the chores was a daunting and almost impossible task. but, more scary was the question, where to start?

trh - domestic goddess

and, like the modern woman of this generation, i googled. but, sieving through all that massive load of information made my head reel. but, start i had to, and have things in control as soon as i can. the husband's frown would very soon erupt into something really bad. focus, focus, focus!

the one thing i didn't have. i was like a kid with ADHD at my tasks. finish the task you're at. finish it. put away and clean up as you go became my mantra for the day. all i did for two-three days was complete the chores i did. make tea, wash saucepan, put away strainer, wipe counter... then, sit and sip. for every task.

it did little to cut down my workload but did not add anything either. the huge task now seemed doable. another word, repeated ad nauseam, in the organizing blogs i read added meaning to my life. schedule - from which sprouts routine and discipline. and, since i am hardly a diva in the kitchen, the first thing i got done was a menu plan for the week.

with that the grocery lists, vegetable shopping and kitchen were almost sorted. almost because, skipping one day was the unravelling of more than a few days of work. have improvised now to make double the portions and freeze. baking has to be fit in, somehow. first, let''s get the house in order!

a note to self...

now, i could not rid myself off the habit of delegation, i found easy prey. till now, all they had to do was put away their toys and shoes. everything els,e super-mom (behind whom was super-duper cleaning lady) did. they are now capable of putting soiled clothes in laundry basket, the daughter has learned to pack her bags according to the day's time table and they both shower by themselves on alternate days.

after both kids left for school by eight in the morning, i was left redundant for the day. i stopped sleep-walking only about noon. i am trying hard (still) to incorporate vacuuming before breakfast and before i am all pooped. light work like watering the plants, some lunch prep, making beds, sorting and folding laundry... simple, simple, simple, is all i can manage at this time.

and, then, suddenly its like i am on auto-pilot. lunch gets ready, pick up kid 2 from school busstop, feed him, mop floor, grab a bite, pick up kid 1, feed her, dinner prep till the evening help comes in. she takes over the kitchen while i get the washing machine running, iron uniforms for the next day and then, take on homework head on, with very little on the mind.

since said remote was still missing, i had only the net for entertainment and research i did. i already had  the first step of the flylady nailed when both kids started school. but, i also discovered that every third surface in my house was a hotspot for clutter. again, the flylady had me believing her at point 11 :).

dec pala 020

following her 'shiny-sink-rule,' i have designated a hub, a pretty surface in every room. so, the dining table in the dining cum living room, the bed in our bedroom, the window seat in the kid's bedroom and the work counter by the kitchen window have to be clean, pretty and ordered at all times. that is the rule, though, i have ways of bending it.

the system is slowly beginning to work smoothly. there are more days when i have zero control over things than days where things seem to fall into place. in every corner, i find potential to optimize space and find something, sometimes more, to throw. really, how she crammed all our stuff neatly in this little box of ours, i'll never really know, our morning help.

soon, maybe next month, i'll start the in-depth cleaning of every nook and corner. till then, am discovering my limits, exceeding my expectations sometimes and everyday my respect for the homemakers who do it all by themselves and the working women who have to come home and start another job all over again increases by bounds.

dec pala 012

it would have been easier to hire another domestic help, but, for the fact that all ladies are scared of the blackster :(


Shalini said...

Wowzee, that's a cracker of a post. I could feel the emotion and the angst, and that's what I love about our writing. How you're able to convey it all so effortlessly.

I have a rule of cleaning up as I go along, so the tea pan gets washed before I sit and drink my cup, sink gets emptied before it starts to I do the dishes 6 times a day, usually, but it makes me feel on top of things, in control. Laundry too, I just make sure everything goes in the hamper, so it's not lying around. But of cousre, it's much easier for me, since I have only one and she's littler than yours. Makes all the difference, I bet.

Love the shiny-sink-rule.

shilpa said...

oh! i have been spoilt rotten and had it easier with domestic help always at my disposal. i now have a sorted and clean living room and master bedroom and a reasonably organized kitchen!
the kids/spare bedroom is what we now call the walk-in closet because well, you walk in and you get clothes from whichever surface. *changing soon, i promise*
the evening maid is away for ten days, so i have my rough, gnarly hands overflowing till the end of the month!
am beginning to see the uplifting effects of the shiny sink :)