I have been thinking today about time and why everyone seems to have so little of it. If you have a real job most of your time will be stolen from you by that. Then you have to sleep which takes ages. Then food. Planning it, shopping for it, preparing it, eating it, clearing up. Bit of leisure. Bit of housework. Before you know it you have frittered it all away.
I am different. I don’t really have a proper job and so I should be at a huge advantage in the time war stakes. But I don’t seem to have any to spare either. After pontificating about the futility of ironing last week, I started thinking about how I fill my day with pointless tasks. There are lots of them to go at. Take shoe cleaning for example. Every week day I clean my children’s school shoes. Do the maths. That’s 40 shoes a week not including throwing the odd bit of polish at my own occasionally. Why do I do this? Because I want my children to be nicely presented for school so that the teachers will think they come from a home where they are nurtured and loved. If other children come here with unpolished shoes do I think they are unloved and unnurtured? Of course not. I just think they have busy parents. So why do I do it?
Another example. The first thing my children say to me when they come out of school at the end of the day is: “Have you baked?” Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s lovely that they appreciate my cakes and I would rather they had something homemade than a treat filled with chemical nasties. But because of this I end up baking. All the time. It doesn’t take long to make the mixture but then I have to be in whilst it cooks in order to take it out at the appropriate time and, whoops – there goes another hour.
Tidying up. There’s another pointless activity. No one notices that the house is tidy except me (and possibly my husband). I spend an enormous proportion of my day moving things from one part of the house to another. I try to do it in the most efficient way possible- the time and motion people would be proud and for at least a part of each day my house is tidy. I know that tidying up is important and that if you don’t do it regularly then things go badly awry with surprising speed. But couldn’t I just tidy up once a day? Wouldn’t the overall effect be the same?
The list goes on. Dusting. Hoovering. Mopping floors. Polishing granite. They all need doing again almost as soon as I finish so why bother? Nobody else seems to be struck by lightening when they fail to wipe the skirting boards. Of course I know why I do it. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be me. My family would soon smell a rat and root out the impostor. Perhaps it’s because I am a Virgo (although I suspect that to be balderdash ) but there is no way on this earth that I can settle for anything less than perfect and because I know this about myself I have to accept that a huge proportion of my time will be spent achieving it. And so I either have to undergo a radical personality change or get on with it and stop moaning. Perhaps the odd shop bought packet of biscuits or scuffed shoe won’t hurt? At least I don’t iron underwear – yet.