The Solemn Promises of a FlippingUselessWife …

By Tanya Grant

My husband says he has a blog. He says the address is:

I have put this in Google and nothing turns up – so hopefully it is a metaphorical rather than an actual one.

Each time, for example; I run out of petrol, lose my phone, there are literally no clean pants in the house at all, forget that I had invited people over, realise with 20 minutes to go that a child needs to be dressed as a bee or a Roman for school, find that the passports have run out a week before the holiday….and so on – “Ah, he says; Gold dust for the blog”. Then cracks his fingers and gets typing.

Which is cheeky.
And funny.

But also, pretty spot on, and a fair point rather cleverly made. n.b. I respond well to humour – if it is said with an accurate impersonation of a famous person (which he has MAD skills at) then I am totally sold.

Tellings-off I am no good with, so no-one bothers with those.

I do have moments of homemaker genius. If there was an Olympic Event in cleaning I would be Usain Bolt.

My good friend Pam says that after I have cleaned, you literally could perform surgery in any part of the house.

But that’s the problem – a 100m sprint – yes!! It’s the marathon event, the every day, the systems and routines, the little and oftens, that I have no truck with. So every now and then, when the planets align, the Goddess Anthea is in the ascent and if I have a deadline to do something else(!)…my house is a glistening palace of hygiene and comfort.
The rest of the time, there are a lot of pants in places there shouldn’t be, full rubbish bins (until someone’s spirit breaks – largely the blog writer), bits of paper filed under B (for my big brown basket where everything goes “for the moment”, and washing that has been sun dried, rained on, sun dried again and rained on again.

But this time it’s different. I have set myself a challenge, and by Jingo I like a challenge.


Autumn Term Challenge

So it is back to the routine, the get-ups, the school run and the ever more scribbly looking diary. New and unusual bits of paper start to adorn the soothing calmness of August and lots of things suddenly #needtobedone.

The days get shorter SO suddenly it becomes almost impossible to imagine that we were wandering around in shorts a few weeks ago.

Personally…this is not the time of year for me. The colder the weather, the grumpier I get, so this time (as Winter has a terrible habit of coming back every year) I thought I would tackle the problem head on.

I remember that I am officially the most disorganised parent ever. I have held the title ‘mum’ now for almost 21 years – and I am no closer to getting the hang of it.

But I am good at designing systems…for other people!

So as a sociological experiment, I have decided to walk the walk and let you know how I get on in a few weeks. If I can get organised – literally ANYONE can.

I Solemnly Promise…

1) Bedtimes – Me
These tend currently, to be a fluid affair in this house. At 38 years old, I have decided that even though I am a grown-up and I am allowed to stay up as late as I want to….I am going to go to bed at 10pm every night in September rather than 1am.

We have a TV in the bedroom, so even if I play up and refuse to go to sleep, at least (as I tell my children) I am resting my body.

I am not allowed to take my iPad to bed.

Working backwards, this means that everything (uniform washed, bags packed, shoes found, lunch money counted) HAS to be done before bed. – There will be no drying cardigans with the hair dryer at 8:15am. That kind of carry-on is behind me, when I used to be disorganised.

Also, no booze on a school night. *Gulp*.

1a) Bedtimes – Children.

This is much easier.

7 year old: food 5pm, bath 6pm, bag checked 7pm, bed 7:30pm lights out 8pm.

Am going to spend this week easing back into this…
16 year old: Bed(room) by 10:30pm on a college night, what happens aside from that is not my business, as long as nothing ends up on fire.

2) Calendar

Write everything in it, properly.

This week I wrote this entry on Tuesday 14th: “7pm Tues – YAY!!” with 2 hearts and a smiley face. – This is not useful! I will write things properly (with words not emoticons) and in full as they arise, not just Da Vinci Code-esque clues AND on Sunday evenings I will have a calendar round up with everyone to make sure nothing has been missed.

And I won’t judge myself as a boring fuddy-duddy for holding a ‘family meeting’. I will appreciate its value in not having everyone run round like deranged banshees on crack, trying to find things every 10 minutes.

  • School Dates
  • Half Terms. (Also, like proper, organised families, I am going to arrange half-term getaways NOW, not the Sunday night before half-term.)
  • Inset Days
  • Christmas Things
  • Hallowe’en Things
  • I will SCHEDULE after school playtimes. Like NOW, so they are spread out and I won’t have to deal with pairs of seven year olds pogoing in front of my face at the school gate, screeching immediate grand plans for feasts and picnics.

I have to say, although I am a constant user of the interweb, I have never managed to make it succeed for organisation.

I know there are some GOOD online organisers out there – here are some:
Also when I mentioned I was to be writing this, Rachel, a mum of 4 (including twin 1 year olds) so she knows a thing or two suggested which has got great stuff in there on this subject.

But actually a big wall calendar with lots of space to write, and a column for each person is the way to go for me, or I will just forget to log in.

3) Food

I have done this before and everyone loved it, but somehow at some point let it slip.

I will write a weekly meal plan BEFORE I go to the shops, so I don’t end up buying Taste the Difference Haggis, or get swayed by Dressed Crab or equally impractical whims that only I will eat.

I will do this every week.

While I am on the subject, look at this – it’s brilliant:

4) Mornings

Breakfast table will be laid the night before, I will allocate someone that job, as I am not a big morning eater and won’t see it as much of a priority as the rest of them, so therefore won’t remember.

Coffee will be put into the cafetiere and water in the kettle.

I will set horrible alarms in EVERYONES rooms, so no one has to say “wake me up”.

There will be a definite bathroom order of play with time limits.

Oh yes – I’m ON FIRE now!!!!
Bags and clothes absolutely, without exception will be loaded and placed in appropriate places the night before.

People will make their bed and not leave “flushings” un-flushed in the loo…

Nor will there be toothpaste “spittings” in the sink.

If this is infringed I will threaten to call the police!

I will have music on, not the telly. The grown-ups will choose the music and it will be either chilled or loud as we see fit.
It will not be anything from the Disney Channel.

5) Laundry – let there be Pants.

For a family that doesn’t really buy THAT many clothes compared to other people I know, we never seem to get a handle on it.

When you think about it, if each of 5 members of a family discards 2 or 3 items around the house every day for a week – then you can carry on with the maths – but no wonder there are no pants.


  • Washing Basket upstairs AND downstairs.
  • No dirty washing allowed in the bedrooms.
  • I still refuse to iron and that is a lifestyle choice.
  • I WILL put on a load last thing at night (then hang it out with the kettle is boiling in the morning).
  • I WILL put on another load when I’ve done that.
  • I WILL get back from the school run and hang that lot out.

That should probably do it.

I will not put children’s clothes away – they can do that.

7 year old holds official title of ‘Pairer of the Socks’, so the Odds and Sods Odd Sock Box will be a thing of ancient folklore.

I am starting now.
I will let you know how I get on.
Tanya Grant x

p.s. if anyone stumbles across the real address of my husband’s blog….please don’t tell me.

Tanya Grant runs Wiggle Waggle – who offer a training and great-value license package for people who want to run music & movement classes for young children and their grown ups.  No expensive franchise fees, no geographical restrictions – Wiggle Waggle strive to make everything they do fair, valuable – and to help people succeed.

You can be up and running in a few weeks and work in a way to suit your life. (And get all the cuddles you can handle!)

Please visit


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Other articles by Tanya Grant:

How Not to go Stark Staring Mental! A day in the life of the stay-at-home mum…

Big Bums, Babies, The Universe and Everything – 3 Steps to a happy Mirror part 1

3 Steps to a Happy Mirror – PART 2

Get Your Mojo Back!

3 Steps to a Happy Mirror – PART 3…It’s Get off your Bum O’clock!



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  1. I love this article, you have planned everything that i have been thinking for ages but not yet put into practice lol. You are a star, pure genius and a true inspiration. Looking forward to see if the rest of the family have the same ideas lol. Good luck :)

  2. I could’ve written most of this myself, had I been more organised ;-)

    My eldest starts school tomorrow (OMG) so I will have to sort myself out, thanks for the inspiration!

    Cleaning is my biggest nightmare… although my “15 minute cleaning” rota is going pretty well …

  3. So brilliantly written and something I’m sure we can all relate to – good luck with the pant washing! ;)