Mother's column – Household through another pair of eyes


Christian Life

Neline, CNE.news

Photo Kelly Sikkema

What do others think about you? Of course, you should not care about that too much. Yet, sometimes it is helpful to look at your household through the eyes of others.

When Martha and Abel have gone to school, Jolijn has left for preschool, and Reinout and Sifra are both asleep at the same time, I can determine my own schedule. That does not happen very often, so I experience a euphoric feeling of freedom during those rare moments. What should I do today, I think enthusiastically. Clean up the living room, read the newspaper from two days ago (before you know it, you are a few days behind), write a column or do some translating work? The chances are small that I will voluntarily choose the first option.

Except when I imagine someone coming to visit me unexpectedly. I am very much in favour of hospitability, so people should keep dropping in. But a visit always feels a bit uncomfortable when I have chosen the newspaper, translating work or the column over doing the household the days before.


Neline is married and the mother of five: Martha (8), Abel (6), Jolijn (5), Reinout (3) and Sifra (0).

Fortunately, a friend of mine sometimes helps me with the household —something to be thankful for, especially because her help has a double effect. When I know someone will come to mop the living room, I suddenly look at the floor full of toys and crumbs differently. Most of the time, I am pretty far on my way already the moment my friend arrives.

One day, she has another appointment before she can come to my house. She does not know exactly what time she will be done. “Around 11”, she texts. When it is close to 9.30 a.m., I feel like I should start doing something.

And when my friend texts me around 10.30 a.m. that her appointment takes a bit longer, the living room smells nicely like soap. “Take your time”, I reply. “I will see you right away.”

Good, now I can clean the kitchen as well before she comes. I did not know I could be so productive with the children around. When it is around 2.00 p.m. I receive another message that she feels very bad but that her appointment took so long and that she does not have the energy to stop by anymore. “Do not worry”, I respond cheerfully. She really helped out great today: our house has not been this clean for ages.



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