I once went around a friend's house once (a friend who has several children), and remarked to Ray (smug in our 'only-have-one-child-but-know-everything-about-perfect-parenting' ignorance) "the thing about it, is that you can tell that the kids have won."
What did I mean? There's a point at which a house tips from being a slightly cluttered home where children obviously live, to a home that is 'sticky' on a good day and down and dirty on a bad one.
I have to say it.
So - come on over. I'll give you a tour...
Enter the slightly grubby hallway, noting the brown fingerprints around the door handle and on the lower half of the door (note: these are probably chocolate). To the left you will find a family bathroom, with toilet, in which (if you care or dare to glance) you may or may not find an entire toilet roll.
Why not relax in the white bathtub, with its special collection of scabby bath-toys, and miscellaneous plug-surrounding debris? Or simply take a quick shower, covering your modesty in the white shower curtain, with its special 'artist' mould print.
For the more discerning food lover, there's no better place than the playroom, in which you will find traces of food from the healthy (apple core, half-bitten banana) to the decadent (brownie crumbs, half-eaten cookie).
Having dined in style, stop to marvel at the original art work on the walls, the floor, the chairs and even etched onto the table top.
After indulging in culture, why not relax in the living room? Note, the sofas are cleverly designed to not only function as somewhere to sit, but as storage places for: glasses, sweet wrappers, crumbs, old tissues and, of course, toy cars. Run your hand down the gap between the cushions for your own personal lucky dip - go on "it could be YOU"
Nature lovers will gasp at the collection of rare bacteria clustering in the kitchen, on sponges, bottle lids and, of course, the due-for-a-mop floor. For the more discerning animal-lover, ants can be found in the cupboard under the sink.
And so it goes on. The thing is, I do believe that if I could Just. Get. On. Top. Of. It. I could keep on top of it!! The backlog of scrubbing has come from a combination of unexpected babies, PND, overwork, exhaustion and chaos. I don't plan on having any more babies, I am tired of course - but the thyroid's been medicated and Evie has slept through the night a couple of times, so on the home stretch (I hope), chaos, well - I can cope with that.
So, do I hire a cleaner to scrub it all spotless for a couple of days and go from there...? Or try to tackle it myself, room by room???
It's enough to make anyone exhausted.
Better recharge the batteries with some nutritious snacks.
I'm off to the playroom...