The Ideal Homemaker #10

10 Jul 2009

So we are half way through the Ideal homemaker series.

#1 The two A's attitude and appearance

#2 Another A

#3 Some are almosters

#4 A place for everything - everything in its place

#5 Meet the minute

#6 The six W's

#7 Plan your work and work your plan

#8 Try the old ways - try the new

#9 How to clean a house - how to keep it clean

and now

#10 Incentive Plan

"An ideal homemaker's activities are well-balanced. though she may be noted for a speciality and devote a major part of her time to one particular phase, she doesn't spend all of her time cooking, or does she concentrate just on sewing, or on cleaning, or on reading, or on outside interests. She reaches out to include in her life stimulating projects which serve as an incentive to her."

from the Art of Homemaking by Daryl Hoole 1962

I think this was mentioned a few times in the comments from the last post #9.
Using the things we love to do as a reward for doing the things that have to be done.
And there is nothing wrong with a reward system, delayed gratification can make the reward that much sweeter.

You know, I don't think my mother ever looks forward to doing "the work" as she calls her housework but she very definitely enjoys her home when the work is done and up to date.
She enjoys giving the house a good go over so that she can then enjoy the comforts of a clean, tidy, pleasant home.
I read in a 1940s housekeeping manual the advice to get an early start on the housework and have it finished as early in the day as possible so you can enjoy most of the day without " the work" hanging over your head.
Get it done early so you have the rest of the day to concentrate on those " stimulating projects' or playing with children or visiting friends, whatever.

Although there can be joy in the process of cleaning and tidying, and different people have different jobs that they particularly like to do, I think often the real payoff is in the job being finished, a little bit of the world put right even if it's only for a short time and even if no one else notices.

I never look forward to the washing up but I do like the kitchen all tidy with a clear sink.
I also like the magic of dirty dishes into the soapy hot water sink and clean shiny dishes coming out.
I like the way the dishes almost dry themselves when the washing water is really hot.
And I like the warmth of the water on my cold, slightly arthritic hands in the winter.
I like the triumphant wiping down of the sink when everything has been dried and put away.
I love walking into the kitchen and not seeing the accusing looks from dishes waiting to be washed.

My husband likes to clean the hearth of the kitchen fire really thoroughly.
Me , I'm happy to just give it a sweep over.

Sometimes the pleasure of the job is knowing the work we are doing will give the result we want, with a little effort and not too much thought.
Instant and delayed gratification all wrapped up together.
A job well done, followed by an admiring glance and then the reward- a quiet cuppa, guilt free reading or sewing or a walk in the sun.

You know, no matter how you feel about housework, most adults have to do some housework at some stage in their lives.
Housework, homemaking skills help make a house into a home.
From student share houses to our own house or flat to an aged pensioners unit most of us have some instinct to care for our space or at least can appreciate that our space feels better and more peaceful when some care has been taken.

And even if we allow ourselves to live in a mess some part of us knows that we would feel happier if there wasn't so much chaos.