Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Each day this past week, an errand called me away. This meant that my work at home was done by someone else. I would listen to symphonies on the classical music station in the car. Peacefully driving down the road, one would have thought I was running away from my housework.
There is certainly plenty of things to do here at the Estate. We have a patient to care for, a newborn baby, a toddler, and the rest of the family who need nourishing meals, clean laundry, and a clean and sanitary home. They also need a pleasant home and a cheerful place of rest.
We are in the midst of a thorough spring cleaning, which is often delayed due to the cold, prolonged Vermont winter. How does one wash windows and clean screens when one cannot open the windows due to the bitter cold? But the weather has warmed up, and those chores are ready to be taken on.
There are also regular, or routine, tasks that must be done each day, much to the chagrin of one's family. It seems like this generation is less interested in cleaning than the last. My mother-in-law spent almost all her time at home. We all visited her. On the rare occasion she visited us, she would notice something out of place and offer housekeeping tips. She did this so sweetly and cheerfully. At one point, I had two active little girls, ages 2 and 3, who ran around the large living room playing with all their toys. At this moment, my husband's mother happened to come by. She noticed the toys scattered all about and started to pick them up. She said something like, "See? Just put them all in the playpen and everything will stay neat." She loved a clean home and kept hers lovely and pleasant. Another time, years later, we were living in an apartment building. Someone had given us their old furniture, which we didn't need. Mister stored it in the common basement. One day he offered to give one of the TV stands to his mother. I didn't realize he had not bothered to clean it before he brought it to her. Long neglected in the basement, it was covered in dust! (Horrors!) Well, the next time we visited her, she showed it to me. It was all clean and shiny. "Look how nice this looks!" She said to me. "All it needed was a little dusting and polishing!" She was so cheerful and kind. I just nodded and said it looked lovely. It's funny how she thought I needed help with cleaning!
My own mother was a great housekeeper as well. When Clorox disinfectant wipes were first invented, she had a pack of those with her wherever she went. She loved them! She would bring them over to our house and use them, much to my amusement. I didn't understand the fascination. But this same lady takes a feather duster out to dust the inside of her car! Can you imagine this kind of dedication to cleaning?
My mother, however, did not offer cleaning advice. She and I have this sort of "cleaning sickness" that we just go in to a place and start cleaning. We love it! There were times when she would visit, while I was recovering from some illness, and when she had left, my husband would notice those little touches of cleanliness. He would see his coffee maker was spotless and would say with a smile, "Your Mother has been here!" This is a lovely type of cleaning, where you just adore the work and love to make things look nice.
I only wish the current generation would stop writhing and squirming to get out of housekeeping. When chores are mentioned, they often run the other way. (gentle smiles) So this morning, I made a nice long list of lovely spring work that needed to be done. I left the list on the kitchen table for my family. These are extra chores like washing the windows, raking the yard, sweeping the porch and sweeping down the stairs. I plan to make such a list each day for the residents of this grand Estate. It is my hope that if they get into a morning habit of plenty of cleaning jobs, they will pick up on that coveted virus me and mother call a "cleaning sickness," where they will love it as much as we do.
From the Archives -
Are you a Member? - Mother's Benevolent Society.
A Lovely Gift from My Daughter - The Long Awaited Present.
Guess What Today Is? - A Lovely Day for Cleaning.
Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."
An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email.