The cupboard of shame

Guest blog: I have a secret cupboard of shame. Sadly, it's not as exciting or as rude as it sounds. It's not a cupboard full of tickly feathers and edible body paint. I'm a mother. It's a cupboard where I hide mess and junk when I see visitors arriving unexpectedly, just so that I can pretend I'm a tidy person for an hour or so, even though most people who visit me know the truth.

I can't help it. Even when my house is spotlessly clean and tidy - benches wiped, toys and washing
put away - there always seems to be a small pile of "stuff" left over. Like when you put together
some flat-pack furniture and there are leftover screws. My leftovers include (looking at them now),
some bills I don't want to file away in case I forget about them, some pens (always good to have
pens handy), a screwdriver, a voucher for half-price entry to something (don't want to lose it now, do
I?), a CD that's missing its case, and a lonely mitten, all ready for me to find its friend.

So when I see people coming up the drive - panic mode. The pile gets swept up and hidden in the
cupboard in the spare room. And often, so does the next day's pile, and the day after that. Until I
can't find something that I'm sure I put in an obvious place, then I open the cupboard and it vomits
a week's worth of paper, pens, lonely socks and the missing phone charger back out at me. And I'm
faced with the dreaded task of extracting myself from under the mountain and... filing. Aaaaahhhhh,
the stuff nightmares are made of.

We also have a spare room. When you have a spare room, there is a very real danger that your
cupboard of shame will expand to fill it. Then when someone comes to stay, you have
an entire room of bits and bobs, odd socks and a rack of washing to somehow tidy, quickly. And
believe me, when it gets to that stage the chances of being able to shove it in one cupboard are slim
to none.

I don't understand why I do this. Why do I feel the need to have a spotless, tidy house when people
arrive? Most arrive with kids in tow, so after half an hour the place is a bombsite anyway, so why
is that initial five minutes of "please come in, it's always this clean and tidy, honest" so important?
Gosh, I even find myself apologising to the Plunket nurse for the mess, when she probably expects it.

I am a wannabe tidy person. I pretend, but really, I HAVE THREE KIDS, WHO AM I KIDDING?

I'm hoping that I'm not the only one with this complex. For some reason it's worse now that I'm a
mum. It's as if I have something to prove. Ridiculous.

I'm sure there is a way for me to get over it. A cleaner, perhaps? Top of my list, along with butler,
gardener and possibly a personal chef.