My Mother’s Daughter


Every year before our annual summer holiday (usually either to Austria, or the North Sea coast), my mother would pack for three weeks away with two children and no access to a washing machine. She would then proceed to top this miraculous feat by cleaning the house, top to bottom. A big house. Through the carefree lens of my childhood eyes, the sight of her practically mopping herself out of the front door straight into a packed car seemed, well, carefree. 

Seen through my current lens as mother to a lively 7 month old, this seems anything but carefree. So I’m casually wondering why I feel strangely compelled to copy her on the advent of going to New York, having only just returned from a long weekend in Brussels? Whilst seemingly oblivious to the fact that I am failing miserably?

Actually, the Brussels trip went off practically flawless. I tackled the holiday cleaning urge the week before, and did a reasonable job getting laundry done in time. Bordering on a sheer miracle, I even finished packing the night before. 

With three days between returning from one adventure and embarking on the next, things are slightly more of a challenge this week. I was sick one day, for starters. Sick means no laundry, which presents a slight challenge when you don’t have a dryer. It also means that you probably shouldn’t spend the next day running errands and feeling compelled to prepare one gourmet meal for your child, and a separate one for your husband, something my mother would have undoubtedly pulled off without breaking a sweat. With me, it looked more like tears at teatime, with a lovingly prepared fishcake being dismissed with a swift flick of the wrist. For the record, the baby-led weaning cookbook lied when it said that fishcakes are ideal for even the smallest baby to manage. Despite eight weeks of successful baby led weaning, all the fishcake did for Lilly was crumble under her inquisitive little fingers. In future, I’ll be reverting back to steamed potato sticks and fish pie mix. 

At least on the cleaning front, Rob came to the rescue by suggesting we book a cleaner. Hallelujah! My New York friend actually pointed out that the benefit of leaving a clean house obviously means you get to come home to a clean house. Whilst this is true, I have now learned that this only lasts so long as inevitably your clean house will soon be cluttered with the stuff you dragged on your travels and haven’t quite managed to put away yet.

All I can say in hindsight is that I am not quite sure why I created all that hassle for myself in between trips when I could have just been content with getting the laundry done. I am, however, quite sure I’ll be doing the same thing again before I go on my next trip.


I am, after all, my mother’s daughter.


(Disclaimer: This post was written two weeks ago. I do credit myself with letting the editing and posting take second, or third or thirtieth, stage to packing, going on a trip and tremendously enjoying myself. Thank Goodness my mother wasn’t an obsessive-compulsive last minute writer!)

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