Lessons in Domesticity

Like most kids, my mother enlisted my free labor to help with household chores. Most of the time, I was happy to help. If happy to help meant I sighed and declared I was Cinderella.

Owning a house now, I realize I owe my mother a lot more credit. We’re talking major regret for all my griping. (She’s loving this post right about now.) Nonetheless, to honor Mom and her life lessons, below are five ways I manage domestically.

1. Laundry is one household task I don’t mind, thanks to modern conveniences. I sort the clothes, then let the washer and dryer do all the work while I attend to something else. I also don’t mind the folding and putting clothes away part, although I let my husband match his socks and put his portion away. It’s a good system — he’s even surprised me with a color sorting method for loading his dresser. (I think it’s his way to try to impress me since I’m usually the more organized one.)

2. On the other hand, I hate cleaning the bathrooms. The sight of a toilet brush is enough to make me gag. Conveniently, while under my parents’ roof I managed to strike a compromise where I would clean every inch of the bathroom except the toilet, which was left for Mom. 

When we got married, my husband said he would scrub the toilet since he knew I despised it. I know, paradise, right? Maybe, if it wasn’t for that vision problem some men have when it comes to noticing declining cleanliness around the house. I found myself echoing the words of my mother the day I wondered aloud how bad he would let things get if left up to him. So while he does clean the toilet sometimes, I am usually the one armed with rubber gloves and the kind of toilet brush where I can throw the icky part away. The family of whoever developed this should probably at least be on my Christmas card list.

3. While bathrooms are the most disgusting, I consider dusting the most futile of all housework. It always comes back. Quickly. In fact, dusting was usually what I was doing when I called myself Cinderella. We have a long history of contempt. I think Mom does too, considering she made it my first and frequent chore.

4. I’m not sure if it counts as a chore, but I enjoy cooking. Whether a meal or baked treat, I like trying out new recipes and filing away proven ones. Plus, I am one lucky girl to have married a man who also likes to cook. (I grew up in a house where both parents cooked, so I like carrying on as I had grown accustomed.) For lazy days, we may eat an “emergency” frozen pizza or take out, but I’m thankful we’ve never had to resort to a routine of boxed macaroni and cheese.

5. Last month, I did something that might get me ridiculed for life: I printed out a cleaning schedule. And I put it on the fridge. It was floating around Facebook and after a few modifications, I thought it might make a good motivator. I did really well on week one. Then my previous motivator of, “Is someone coming over?” resurfaced. Oh well. At least I don’t call myself Cinderella anymore … much. 

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