Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Path to Housekeeping

I am the type of woman who swings back and forth in how I feel about homemaking.  Or perhaps I should say how I feel about housekeeping.  Homemaking is high and noble, I mean...making a home...who doesn't like the sound of that?  It's the housekeeping that gets to me.

I grew up with no real training in cleaning or "keeping house."  My mother and grandmother did everything, and they must have done most of it while I was sleeping because I honestly have no memories of seeing them sweeping or mopping or folding laundry.  I know it must have gotten done at some point, because we lived in a basically clean home and I always had clean clothes to wear, I just never had any part in the cleaning and upkeep of the home.

Well, I do have memories of being very young and having the job of dusting the furniture.  I went about with a can of Pledge and a spare rag and dusted my little heart out.  But that's all I remember.

Except...I remember being eighteen years old and going to do laundry for the first time, pouring in bleach because it happened to be sitting there and I figured it was laundry soap.  I remember coming to the realization - several years into my marriage - that you should probably strip the beds and wash the bedclothes on a regular basis.

From time to time as a child, my mom would make up chore lists, or charts, or once a chore spinning wheel thing, and we would all set in to do our part.  It would last maybe a week.  We were never really made to help out around the house with any consistency, and I'm not sure why.

So, I went into adulthood, into life as a wife and mother, with very limited knowledge of what it takes to keep a house clean and running smoothly (I also had no idea how to cook).  I have had to build up knowledge over the years, and though now I am pretty good at getting things done, I know there are still places I am lacking.

Just tonight I went through the wonderful experience of scrubbing down my stove top.  There is a part in the logical section of my brain that tells me I should do this every day or at least every few days.  And yet it seems to sit for days...weeks...months sometimes.  I was never taught to clean stove tops on a regular basis!  And it gets so gross so quickly that its just downright overwhelming by the time I do finally do it.

I got most of the gunk off today.  I will probably have to get Tony to scrub the few spots I couldn't get clean, I'm just not strong enough.  Sigh.  It's not something I'm proud of, but I'm trying to keep it real here.

These days I do my best to keep myself and my children on a regular schedule of cleaning and taking care of things.  We do laundry every day (well, normally we do.  Right now our washing machine is broken and we go to my dad's house twice a week to do it).  The floors get swept every day and scrubbed at least once a week.  We wipe down the walls and baseboards on a regular basis.  Every one's bedclothes get washed once a week.  I try to always make sure all the dishes are washed before I head to bed for the night.

It's a process, and not something I or anyone else can learn and implement overnight.  That's why I feel it is so important to not only teach my children how to do these things, but to instill in them a sense of routine in doing them, so that the thought of going days without sweeping or months without clean sheets is appalling to them.

One of my goals this year is to focus more on my housekeeping.  My house will never be completely perfectly clean so long as there are six (or more?  in the future?) people living in it.  But having a home that is clean and organized is part of being a good homemaker.  It makes it easier for people to relax, to feel welcome.  It helps children to have a rhythm to their days, to know that on Mondays they'll have fresh sheets and that the fridge will always be stocked.

I'm not perfect.  Many women my age are much better at this housekeeping thing than I am.  I got a late start.  But I am determined!  And with God, all things are possible.

Even clean stove tops.

1 comment:

  1. Great job on your redesign and new direction :-) It seems that we were both raised clueless about housekeeping. I remember having to pray over the meals I cooked when I first got married so they would be edible!!! (OY!) I too see to it that the dishes are washed before bed...it makes waking up much more pleasant!

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