Let me start out by saying I’m a Virgo. I’m not sure why that’s important, but most people who encounter my “anal-ness” like to point it out. It’s as if my birth date somehow makes me have the compulsion to be a neat freak. Personally, I don’t believe that because I was born on September 4, I have no control over my overriding need to make sure all my knives and forks are neatly facing in the same direction or that my wooden bowl sits exactly in the middle of the table. It’s just easier to blame my star sign. People seem to be more accepting of my “neurosis” if they can jokingly point the finger at me being a Virgo.

Don’t think that my inability to relax if my surroundings aren’t neat, extends to cleanliness. I am not keen on using the vacuum cleaner and I never get an ironing board out. I just like things to be in their place and I like life to flow exactly as planned. If I am not tidying, I am pre-planning.

Every night I place the kids’ pjs on their respective beds with corresponding nappies. I get their clothes out for the next day (careful to check the weather first) and lay them in the hallway with their shoes neatly placed beside them. Then, I work out what I am going to wear and what the baby will wear. I pack the nappy bag. I fill the kettle and the coffee machine so they both have fresh water for the morning. All the time I am thinking; what are we doing tomorrow, when will we need to start getting ready, how long will it take to get there, are there any other places nearby we could go to while we are out and about? It keeps going, I could pre-plan, organise, anally compartmentalise my life, whatever you want to call it, all day long. Actually, I even wake in the night to plan events that are taking place in a year from now – what flight should I take to the wedding, what will I wear, how will I get from the airport, where will I stay, should I get my hair done? My internal voice does not shut up, ever!

While I was on one of my planing, tidying frenzies the other night, my husband told me to just “chillax”. “No,” I said. Well, actually I said: “Fuck off, you chillax”. Anyway that’s not the point. I gently explained to him that I could only relax when everything was tidy and organised for the next day. It went something like this. “Well, if there wasn’t shit all over the place then I could fucking sit down and chillax,” I said. “If everything is organised in our world, then we won’t waste time stuffing around.”

“Well, if you just stopped fucking planning all the time, you’d have time to do other things,” he replied. Fair point, I thought to myself, but I didn’t want to admit he was right. Instead, I took the attack route, as you do in any good marriage.

“Are you for real?” I said. “This is coming from the man who went to Bunnings to spend his Bunnings’ voucher and when he came home had nothing, because he left his voucher in the car! We need each other. I need you to stop me from being so anally retentive and you need me to help find all the things you’ve lost.”

And with that, he went off to find his keys and I turned the kettle to the left so it faced neatly to the front.