A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Evading Housework

You know that there's something wrong with your housekeeping when walking through the house becomes an obstacle race. Trying to get from one end of the house to the other without tripping over clothes, toys, books, cake/cereal crumbs, cherry seeds (where did they come from?) and miscellaneous knick knacks is a sign that all is not well with the Mummy state of mind.

Of course I'm adept at making excuses too... I've been away for the weekend...  I was sleep deprived and I'm been busy with important stuff like shopping, laundry, prepping for MOPS and cooking.
But the best one... surely has to be, "Hey, but I have children!"

It's the one that gets the most traction with fellow mums. We nod sagely in solemn empathy. We smile knowingly in one accord. It's our little secret. All mummies understand only too well the chaos that comes with life with children. A female prime minister who's not a mummy won't. It's like a secret cult... we have our own secret handshake (we throw up our hands in desperation), our own secret password ("Housework? What's That?") and an unwritten manual. But once we enter into the rite of mummyhood... the manual is ours to keep for life.

Part of being a member of the Mummy Secret Society is knowing when housework is necessary and when it must be evaded. Procrastinating is one thing but is only effective when one is busy with other things. What better way to avoid housework than to look busy... or to... here's a novel idea... be really busy with good things -- paid work, volunteer work, internet work or retail therapy.
Snowed under by so much busyness, the conscience is cleansed as you happily ignore the 4 week old mildew invading the shower or the gathering dust slowly but surely becoming a permanent fixture on the family portraits.

The problem, however, with housework, is that it is housework... It never goes away. It just gets more and more yukky. Housework is what separates us from the beasts. Civilizations rise and fall because houses don't get cleaned. There's no secret magic ring or secret magic incantation to make it all go away. That's why I don't believe in magic. If there were really such a thing, none of us would be doing any housework. We'd all be indulging in our favourite thing to do and the mess would just disappear instantly with the snap of one's fingers. Or we'd be paying someone else to do it.
Now, that, it seems to me, is the ultimate housewife fantasy. Not the smouldering, good-looking chaps on Bold and the Beautiful or the latest fashion accessory. But someone or something else to take care of the housework and it's not me.

Well, I've run out of clever things to say and I'm compelled to notice the bits of litter around me. I am cursed with white tiles so everything stands out as clear as day. "Zoicks", as a certain Scooby-Doo character is inclined to exclaim, there's no avoiding it.

The kiddies have gone to bed... the husband is out... I head for the vaccum cleaner because it's the closest thing to magic I'm ever going to experience where housework is concerned.


  1. sigh, I so agree with you! Housework has this natural repellent against human beings! It attracts everything else except humankind.

  2. I love, love, love my vacuum cleaner. Dust and food crumbs and dirt all magically disappear. Only yesterday did I come across a website to encourage and help you with the house work. I'm doing it in babysteps. Starting to develop good housekeeping habits that make the whole keeping the house clean and tidy thing a lot easier. It's www.flylady.net . It's worth a look if you want some tips and encouragement.
    You're doing great Lilian!

  3. Oh yes, I've heard of the flylady.net!
    I'm such a lazy so and so really. For me, I just really need to get off my behind and just do it. I even have a great little checklist app for my iPod touch and I used it a few times.
    I should really get back to it.


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