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On clean floors and kid chaos …


How clean are your floors – do you really care, and does it even matter? Much to a close family member’s horror, Amanda Hudson recently discovered that an unexpected bonus of her new floors was that they take a long time to look dirty…………

There’s about 650km between my mum and I, so we catch up for a chat on the phone every week or so.

Not long ago the topic turned to floors. We’d recently had the floating floors replaced at our place and mum and dad have just moved into a new house, so we’ve both had the (fun) experience of poring over samples, debating for hours and finally chosing one – fingers crossed – that we hoped we’d be happy with. The conversation went like this:

Mum: “So, are you happy with your new floors?”

Me: “Yep, very happy, they look really good.”

Mum: “How do you go with keeping them clean – how do they wash up? “

Me: “Ummm … well I haven’t actually washed them yet.”

Mum: (silence. I can practically hear crickets as she adds up the weeks since we’ve had them done – about seven at this stage).

Mum: (finally, after what seems an eternity, in a kind of strangled tone) “You haven’t mopped your floors yet?!”

Me: “Well of course I’ve spot cleaned under the highchair and where things have been dropped but no, the colour and style seems very forgiving and I haven’t had to mop them as yet.”

I can’t actually remember what my mum said from here, but I quickly changed the topic as I could feel some well-meaning mum advice coming on and I wasn’t in the mood.

Later, recounting this story to Sustainababy founder Laura, got me thinking about good ‘ol mother’s guilt. I found myself justifying to her that I did vacuum a couple of times a week and while I probably wouldn’t eat off the floors, they certainly weren’t (noticeably) filthy! Laura knows me well and just laughed along with me, but driving home I began to worry that just like my mum, she was probably quietly horrified at the state of the floors and the kind of mother I am.

So do you know what I did? I took a photo of my loungeroom and texted it to Laura to prove the floors really didn’t look that bad.

Pretty pathetic hey! Why on earth was I so concerned about what someone – a good friend at that – thought of the state of my floors?!

It’s called mother’s guilt, and it’s a useless emotion. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it can be quite harmful.

We all parent differently and have different standards and expectations when it comes to so many things; recent topics among my group of friends have included ironing (or not), lunchboxes, house cleaning, exercise, kids’ sport commitments and what our husbands do around our homes – and of course everyone has a different experience on each of these.

There’s no point worrying about what other people think or feeling guilty for not living up to unachievable standards. In my case, this means I need to make peace with the fact that I have three children under seven and the only time I am going to have clean floors is for about 23 seconds after cleaning them. Plus, a little grot on the floors is good for their immune systems, isn’t it?!

Of course, you know what happened next don’t you? Later that night I was sitting on my couch and with the right light, my floors looked did actually look kind of grotty … so at 9.30pm at night I dusted off my (much ignored mop) and gave them a quick clean.

That was three weeks ago and they still look pretty good to me …

PS – speaking of cleaning, I’ve just signed up for Laura’s Home Detox Boot Camp. I’m a reformed bleach addict and while I’ve accepted that my bathrooms don’t have to reek of chlorine to be clean, I still use way too many chemicals. I can’t wait to learn all about the safe, natural alternatives and it’s not too late if you want to join us, but sign-ups close TONIGHT! Find out more here.

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