My favourite comic, Jo Brand, came up with this neat little joke to stress the responsibilities of housework: Q. How do you know when it's time to start on the housework? A. Look inside your pants, and if you find there's a penis in there, it isn't time.
Actually, my own hubby isn't too bad, although for some reason he refuses to even consider cleaning the toilet. He does take over full responsibility for the house when I have the girls round for a MNI – Mum's Night In. Here are three of the ways in which we make the most of our mum's down-time:
There's a company close to us who provide pamper nights, with the convenience of the evenings taking place in our own homes. They provide aromatic candles and music whilst us mums are told to strip off and relax in gowns made of pure silk. First of all, there's a foot soak in warm water gently fragranced by rose petals, then a foot scrub and massage with mint-scented creams. Next, we get a hand massage which includes filing and polishing, and we round the evening off with a classic facial ex-foliation and mask. There's nothing quite like it for re-charging the mum batteries!
This has become our favourite card game (full rules here)– it's a kind of poker that's more fun and you have more chance of winning, even if you get dealt a bad hand. We only play for fun – not for cash! You use a normal deck of cards and each player gets dealt four 'private' cards, then five 'community' cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. You can bet on having the best hand, the worse hand, or even both! Once everyone is done betting you have to turn your cards face up and see who has the highest hand, and who has the lowest – you make up the hand using five out of your four cards and the five 'community' cards. It's a real achievement if you can get the best and worse hands at the same time.
When you're a mum, you usually become friends with other mums at playgroup or school, meaning you usually all have children who are around about the same age. The great thing about that is you can usually swap toys and clothes around, which can save you a pretty penny. We have the occasional swap night, where we bring items that our own kids have got bored with or just don't like, and swap them around. To our kids, it's just like getting new stuff. Anything that doesn't get swapped gets donated to charity – so everyone's a winner!