Our parents made it look so easy. Those baby boomers who grew up in the golden age of capitalism. Those lucky few who didn’t have to endure the hardship of war, but grew up in an era of prosperity. Property was cheap, jobs were plentiful and while both parents could work, a family could still get by pretty comfortably on just one income. They didn’t have to deal with the struggles that most millennials and gen-xers face today. They didn’t have a huge chunk of their income taken up by their housing costs. They didn’t face cripplingly long working hours or live in a society that seemed to actively encourage workaholism. They weren’t straining against an economy that was trying to keep their wages low to insulate the profit margins of their employers. They didn’t face a job market quite so cutthroat and competitive.
While parenthood has always been a tricky balancing act, it’s arguably harder for today’s Mums than any previous generations to manage the tightrope walk between their commitment to their children and their commitment to their job and career. Today’s Mums have more demands placed upon their time than previous generations.
As such, the image of the dutiful houselife, doing a leisurely lap of the household chores in a pristine dress and perfect makeup has gone out the window.
Behold her replacement!
Today’s Mum dashes frantically around a home that looks like it’s been hit by a bomb, a piece of cold toast clamped between her teeth, a screaming toddler in her arms and a small assortment of lego bricks and Matchbox cars stuck in her hair. After all this Olympic-level multitasking, the last a Mum can expect is to come home to a beautiful home. But who has the time for rigorous cleaning and tidying? Especially if you’re a single parent!
Fear not! There is a solution
You want a house that’s gorgeous, relaxing and conducive to keeping you on the right side of a nervous breakdown. A home that’s free of clutter, clean, tidy and (perhaps more importantly) impervious to damage, mess and persistent stains. You may think that this is merely a pipe dream… But it’s within the reach of Mums everywhere. You just have to lay the foundations for a lower maintenance home.
No matter how much you have to invest, it’s within your reach! Here are just a few ideas to get you started…
Simplify your garden
With summer well and truly here, you’d love to be able to spend some time with your own little piece of nature’s bounty. It’s not only a great way to relax, proximity to nature is a proven mood booster with mental health benefits which can be a real boon both to a stressed out, busy Mum and to her kids.
But who has hours and hours to spend on their knees clipping and pruning and trimming and tilling and seeding and undergoing the back-breaking process that is mowing the lawn?!?
The good news is that you can still enjoy a gorgeous garden that’s serene, relaxing and full of mood boosting plants without the arduous labour. Consider a garden decked in decorative concrete instead of grass (or perhaps restricting your grassy area to a small and manageable lawn). As for plants, there are plenty of gorgeous plants out there which are practically zero maintenance. It’s simply a matter of finding the right ones. How about…
Birds of Paradise (blooms all year round and copes well with hours of sunlight)
Mondo grass (green and luscious and requires virtually no maintenance)
Bamboo Palms (pretty, hardy and great to grow inside or outside)
Echeveria (a gorgeous succulent that’s also completely pet friendly)
Bromeliads (stunning, colourful and incredibly hardy. Perfect for the unpredictable Aussie climate).
You don’t have to put in hour after hour of groundwork for a gorgeous and relaxing garden that you and your kids will love to spend time in.
Invest in smart storage solutions to kill all clutter
Clutter is more than just a nuisance or a visual distraction, it’s a genuine drain on your mental and physical health. It can prevent you from feeling rested after a hard day’s work, make you feel alienated in your own home, make it impossible for you to find somewhere to put your coffee cup and give you a whole host of things to trip over. Clutter is bad. It must be destroyed!
Of course, the best way to get rid of clutter is to perform a thorough audit of the stuff lying around in your home and ask yourself if you really, really need it. Very often we buy things, not out of necessity but out of caprice and the things that we feel that we absolutely must have in a moment of shopping frenzy can transform into a (quite literal) waste of space after a few weeks or months. Throwing your clutter up on eBay can be a great way to make a little extra money and clear your home of nasty clutter.
Even if you haven’t the heart to throw all of this stuff away, investing in more efficient storage solutions can be a great way to transform your home and bring back spaciousness (and surfaces) that you forgot you even had. From installing shelves along your bedroom walls to buying a bed with a storage unit in the headboard you’d be amazed at how many cool space saving ideas there are out there. Whether you want to make an investment or roll up your sleeves and DIY it, using smart storage solutions to clear out clutter is a great, low maintenance way to tidy up your home.
Yes, carpet feels nice underfoot. Yes, it can make your living room a little bit cosier. But… carpet is deceptively high maintenance. And once it’s stained it can be an absolute nightmare to un-stain. If you’re the kind of Mum who becomes nerve-shredding tense when serving red wine to guests. If you serve blackcurrant cordial in tippy cups, even though your kids are now in their early thirties. If you have nightmares about muddy treadmarks or splashes of blackcurrant on your beautiful pristine carpet, perhaps it’s time to liberate yourself.
Hardwood flooring is easy to maintain. If it gets dusty, you don’t even need to break out the vacuum cleaner, a quick 5 minute sweep is enough to blitz most rooms. If something is spilled on it, it’s quick and easy to wipe up and you don’t have to spend the next hour and a half on your knees frantically dabbing soap suds into the merlot stain. What’s more, hardwood floors can be extremely durable (borderline indestructible) so you won’t even feel on edge when your brother’s new girlfriend just won’t take her heels off.
If you need something fluffy and cosy to snuggle on, just invest in a decent size rug and you have the best of both worlds!
Young, free and shingle
Many of us don’t give all that much thought to the roof, until a gust of wind blows loose roof shingles all over the driveway and back garden. This can be extremely distressing and make your home vulnerable to rain damage in winter months. While the sun is up, consider replacing your old roof shingles with their metallic counterparts. Metal roof shingles are virtually impervious to the ravages of the weather. What’s more, they’ll help to keep your home cool in summer by reflecting back sunlight, while also serving as an insular layer in the winter to keep your house warm and to stop the heat you’re paying for from drifting out through your roof.
Whether you have a lot or a little to spend, a low maintenance home is within your reach!