To clean or not to clean…

I’ve been doing my best to stay in this week (particularly because it’s quite warm – 35 degrees today!). Jacob has been a bit fussy cos he dislikes hot weather – but for now, he’s settled peacefully on the couch next to me.

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Today I have a bit of a rant to get off my chest. Someone came over to my house the other day and had some snide comments that really were better left unsaid. This person basically said that my house was too dirty for his standards, saying that my floor was so dusty and that my vacuum cleaner didn’t work properly (cos we were trying to vacuum up a mess that HE made). He was saying he couldn’t believe I would live like this, and that I should be as clean as him (who vacuums every day, including all his furniture as well).

Well, excuse me, you also don’t happen to have a 11 week old baby who wants to be carried all the time. Just so you know, I’d just had a friend’s dog over so the dogs were walking through the house, and of course they’d bring half the garden in as well. Your room in your student accommodation place is the size of my bathroom – if my house were that size, maybe I’d have time to vacuum it 5 times a day. And I doubt that you cook dinner every night for yourself and your partner (since you have no partner). Not to mention that all I’ve done for you over the past few years is help you, and is this what I get in return?

There, I’ve said my two cents. I don’t know about you, but if I went to visit a friend’s house, I don’t think I’d even think of saying anything like that. What’s the point of that sort of criticism? It doesn’t benefit anyone. A real friend would offer to vacuum for you, or offer to mind the baby while you cleaned up.

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That being said though, I guess it depends on how close you are to a person. I admit that I’m not close to this person and so it’s clear why I got offended by what he said. But with some of my friends, we can say anything to each other and just know that we still love each other.

A good example is my brother-from-another-mother Taan, who was also my Man of Honour at my wedding. A typical conversation on one of our days would go something like this:

Taan: Sis, don’t go out in the sun today. You’re already so black.
Me: Hmph! Well you better go out running then cos you’re so fat.
Taan: At least I can lose my fat if I exercise. You can’t lose your black.
Me: I can buy whitening cream, okay? 

To explain the ‘black’ comments, basically Asian girls dislike being dark. I don’t mind my tan in winter, but goodness me do I change colour in the summer!

We also tended to kick each other around a lot. This is one of my official wedding photos:

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The truth is, however, I can do better with housework. When Jacob goes down to sleep, I usually do the most urgent tasks at hand – that’s usually laundry and dishes. I try to iron once a week so that Dan has enough shirts for work. And cooking takes a bit of my time too, particularly the preparation. Then, of course, I need to find time to vacuum and mop too. But I’m working on a cleaning schedule and doing my best to stick to it!

But if you give me a choice between vacuuming and reading Jacob a book, you know which one I’d choose. Sometimes I can spend half an hour lying on the floor next to him in his baby gym, or making silly faces with him in a mirror. And if you ask me, I find that time well-spent and much more meaningful than vacuuming.

I’d almost forgotten that I said I’d do a Top 5 in every post – I’ll try to stick to at least one every two posts. Inspired by my ordeal, here are the Top 5 things not to say to a new mum:

5. Eww, your bin stinks!”
Firstly, do you go to people’s houses to smell their bins? Hello, what do people put in bins – pansies? Aromatherapy candles? And I have a baby so what do you think is in there? That’s why there’s a lid to the bin, and if you don’t close it, of course it’ll stink… seriously!

4.Don’t be a spoilsport – why can’t you come out tonight?”
Okay, I haven’t had this said to me before but it would be terrible if anyone did. While I do socialise quite a bit with Jacob, I try to cut his night-time outings to a minimum in order to enforce his bedtime routine. I’m not making excuses – I’m actually making my baby’s well-being priority. And while one can hire a babysitter, sometimes you can be caught off guard (and sometimes you really don’t feel like going out at all!).

3. “I can see you’re not a neat-freak like me… no wonder you let people wear shoes into your house.”
In Asian countries, we take shoes off when we go into somebody’s house. However, I’m fine if people wear shoes into my house – but then, of course, dirt comes in with them too. My friend said this to me the other day and I was thinking “You know, you’re probably the one who brought some of this dirt in since your shoes are still on and you’ve been in and out of my garden too.” Don’t criticize a new mum’s house – help her out instead, and you will be remembered.

2. “So, when are you planning on losing your baby weight?”
Nobody has said this to me either, though I believe it has been implied by some before. Firstly, it is unhealthy to jump straight onto the treadmill and have diet shakes instead of proper meals. Especially if you’re breastfeeding – your baby needs you to have a healthy diet so he can get the right nutrients too. I know that I myself haven’t lost very much baby weight at all, but then again, Jacob’s not even 3 months old. All you need is time…

1. “I think your baby is crying just for attention…” and other negative baby-related comments
If you insult me or my house, I can get a bit annoyed but if you insult my baby, that’s it. You have just unleashed a new mum’s wrath. If you have nothing nice to say about my baby, zip it. Unless you see me feeding my baby drugs or something, you don’t need to tell me what to do or diagnose my baby with anything that it doesn’t have. You have no right. I will hit you hard if you repeat it.

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Have a great rest-of-the-week!

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2 thoughts on “To clean or not to clean…

  1. Hell hath no fury than a mummy unjustly criticised! I know cos ppl have said things about you that show they either have no brains or are just totally socially inapt/inept(??): e.g. 1. You never comment on a person’s colour/skin tone. Totally unnecessary. 2. You just never say anything you KNOW the person u r saying it to wont like!e.g. ppl who used to say to me “Your son?” when u were wearing a dress! I often wonder why the world is so full of totally insensitive ppl….

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    • I think it all boils down to ignorance (i.e. people not knowing what it takes to be a mummy) and tactlessness. Some people are just naturally a bit socially awkward, like in this situation, but it’s worse when people are intentionally rude. My pride is hurt but I will rebuild!

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