In my mid twenties I became very particular about my bed. The turning point came when I was finally earning enough money to stop living like a student and start enjoying some of life’s little luxuries. My weakness; Egyptian cotton sheets and feather filled accoutrements; feather duvet (goose down not duck), feather pillows (Hungarian goose down), feather filled ‘occasional’ pillows for reading or sitting up. I loved the soft, downy comfort of it all, the fact that my bed resembled one you’d find in a luxury boutique hotel. I regularly spent a fortune in the John Lewis bedding department - but it was worth it.
Mornings started with my bed making ritual. The bottom sheet was swept and smoothed in a certain direction, the pillows fluffed, the duvet shaken and aired. My obsession with my inner sanctum being a place of perfect cleanliness became such that I also started showering in the evenings despite having also showered that morning. The bottom sheet would be given a second smooth down before I got in. Nothing could be allowed to contaminate the purity of my white sheeted haven. (Future husband being the only exception.)
Oh how disappointed I was when Tracey Emin revealed her unmade bed. I felt she was letting the side down. Her bed was a disgrace. Worse still, people wanted to give her a prize for it. Just wrong.
Then I had children. And everything changed.
Why did no one warn me I should get a plastic sheet to protect my own mattress, not just one for the baby’s cot? The first time my mattress caught the full force of a child’s projectile vomit I almost hyperventilated; my quilted mattress protector was no match for the contents of Pip’s stomach. Years later, it still pains me to look at the watermark left on my Vi Sprung Earl Deluxe when I change the sheets.
My morning bed making ritual has become an impossibility since having children. Instead of smoothing down Egyptian cotton sheets, I am lost in the haze of 5.30am starts and a mountain of laundry so colossal that a fresh change of sheets is usually not a priority until I’ve at least pared the wash pile back from it’s summit size peak to a more manageable base camp level. These days, I am lucky if I’ve made the bed before I get into it. My bed is no longer the sanctuary it once was. Take a couple of weeks ago; the six children visiting with their mothers on a play date were nowhere to be found. "I think I’ll just go upstairs and look for them," I mumbled nervously. All six were found in my bed; now a pirate ship, complete with duvet mast propped up with a child’s broom. "Out" I squealed, pointing to the door as they abandoned ship one by one. The last one, a toddler, left the waft of dirty nappy in my wake as he disappeared out the door, seemingly oblivious to the sacrilegious act he had just committed. *Shudders*
This weekend Husband asked; "Would you like me to look after the kids whilst you change the bed?”. Believe it or not, this gesture was meant as an act of kindness - he knows how much I love my clean sheets. Possibly, he could have offered to do it for me, but knowing my perfectionist tendencies, correctly decided the offer of childcare whilst I performed this important task myself would be preferred. I bolted to the sanctity of my linen cupboard, fingering my freshly pressed sheets. (There are some perks to having a cleaner.) An early night beckoned.
Oh how good it felt, as I slipped into bed, my skin being gently stroked by a 200 thread count. How fresh my lovely bed smelt, how crease free and smooth it’s sheets. A little bit of old-time luxury. At 5.30am my blissful slumber was interrupted by EB who with a few foghorn like blasts announced it was time to start the day. Husband
My sweet boy got into bed, cuddling up;
“Mummy, I’ve got a secret with Daddy”
“Lovely Darling, it’s still night time, back to sleep now.”
“I told Daddy I couldn’t go back to sleep because I was so hungry. Mummy, let me whisper the secret.”
“OK Pip, then you must go back to sleep.”
“Come closer, Mummy.”
“Come closer, Mummy.”
I shuffled over to be imparted with the top secret information:
“Daddy gave me a Jammy Dodger”
Grrrr...clearly Husband had decided a bribe to get Pip back to bed was preferable to building Lego towers at 5.30am. I filed his parenting crime in the ‘deal with later’ drawer to discuss over breakfast.
I knew the truth without opening my eyes. Yes, the bed was being shared by me, Pip and a BLOODY BISCUIT. Crumbs galore, one night into my virgin sheets. I could barely stop myself from weeping as the jammy bit ‘got lost’ and was found semi smeared (courtesy of Pip’s head) into my pillow.
Just the start of another normal parenting day.
I’m in the market for a new bed for when we move back to Faulty Towers. Something sumptuous and grand, something that makes the mere thought of slumber exciting. I’m reclaiming the sanctity of my bed, turning over a new sheet and making it mine again. Woe betide anyone who brings a Jammy Dodger near it.