Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Running Away from Housework

Sewing, 1906

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.

Mrs. White

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. 



faeriequeene said...

I will admit that I am of the generation who often shirks housework, but I am also one who likes to host friends at my home so the cleaning gets done - sometimes in big spurts, others in a slow and steady flow throughout the week. I think the biggest issue I face is tackling the dishes; I love to cook and bake, but truly have no enjoyment in cleaning up afterward. It is truly a wonder to me how much I appreciate anyone who is willing to take a few moments and tackle the dishes; that speaks love to me in the same way I show love for my family by keeping the house day in and day out.

Rhonda said...

You could be writing about my grown children as pretty much everything you said applies to them. :)

All of my married life, I've enjoyed keeping my home clean and organized. For me, life is just better and less stressful.

With my very young grands here so much, I have not had time to do lots of extra fine tuning cleaning but I hope to get caught up on it this summer.

becky said...

I LOVE to clean! It is hard for me to go into someone's home and not dive in and start cleaning:) I do that when I go to my daughters for a visit. She has 3 babies, so cleaning isn't a big priority right now.:) I also clean for an elderly gentlemen every other week, and I really enjoy it. Glad to know I am not the only one! Thanks

Sue said...

I'm not sure if the "clean gene" is inherited, or some people are just more prone to it.
My own mother was a bit of a slob--and she often wondered (aloud!) that she didn't know where I got my obsession with cleanliness. I don't know either, ...I just know that I feel so much better if the house is tidy.

Deanna said...

Hello, Mrs. White!
Spring blessings to you.

There are days I really just want to stay home and work away then I know that I am feeling better than I had been. My energy level is picking up. Then there are days I delight in going for a drive in the auto. Once I pry myself away, I usually have a nice time.

I love a clean and organized house to call Home. I LOVE the disinfectant wipes. LOVE THEM. Also love the baby wipes for wiping down lil one's sticky hands. I got to where I carried them in my handbag and car. They come in so handy and are so useful.

Very nice visiting you today. Enjoy your blog!

Your Kitchen looks wonderful. I can't wait until mine is so clean and ready to use. Very nice colors.

d from the Kansas Flint Hills on the Prairie

Cathy said...

Amen, Mrs. White! I couldn't agree more. Very well said.

busymomof10 said...

Loved this post! You described my precious mother to a T! She LOVES cleaning! She used to come to my house after I had a new baby and scrub and shine things! Baby # 7 (my beautiful daughter who is graduating this year) was the last one where she was able to do that. She was in a wheelchair when the last three were born (but always did as much as she could from her wheelchair!)

Me? I love a tidy home . . . but I struggle with getting it all done! I am not "in love with cleaning!" and I don't keep up with the deep cleaning very well.

Thanks for sharing this lovely post!

Sarah Coller said...

I've been training my kids for 15 years now in various chores. I love it that my house is company-ready in 10 minutes. I get so many comments about how crazy our home must be with 9 kids---but, it's actually pretty peaceful! The trick is training your kids in helpfulness and obedience. Glad I stopped by today! Have a blessed week!

Anonymous said...

Well, I am nearly 40 and had a mother who was an excellent housekeeper - but I have never found the joy in it. I do it, but it is bothersome to me and I all but hate the time I'm having to spend on it. I wish - so much - to feel as you do. You see, many of us who don't like it....want to like it. Desperately. But it's just not there. I can't/don't feel that way about it no matter how much I want to. It truly does make me sad. I would give anything to feel joy from it and enjoy the process and feel accomplished from it. But I don't. It's just chores to get through so I can get on to the things in life that make me feel good and accomplished. So it's not laziness. Our dislike of it is just as genuine as your love of it. Out of the two, you got the better deal. I promise.

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