Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Playing house vs. Keeping house

Once I had a year's subscription to Martha Stewart Living magazine.

But it irritated me to no end, and I could never figure out why.

I thought it was because I couldn't do half the crafts that take 4-days-to-let-something-dry-and-that's-just-the-first-step.

Or the sweet little baby shoes made out of felt. Yeah, right, those will fall apart in a day on my babies.

Or the nonending and particular laundry segment/spreads that made me feel guilty for barely remembering to put my dark clothes in cold water.

But I think I may have figured out why.

She is just"playing house". I keep house. She is missing the attitude of homemaking. Hers is a business, mine is a lifestyle.

I embrace the details in the cleanliness, the cooking, the organization for my family's sake.


"Housekeeping requires knowledge and intelligence as well, the kind that is complex, not simple, and combines intellect, intuition, and feelings. You need a memory good enough to remember how things are done, where things are, what the daily routine requires, what everyone in the home is up to as it affects housekeeping, the state of supplies, budgets and bills. You have to be able to decipher insurance policies, contracts, and warranties, manage a budget, and master the technical language of instruction manuals for appliances and computers. The ability to split your attention in several ways and stay calm is essential. You need to excercise creative intelligence to solve problems and devise solutions:efficiency measures that save money or time;psychological or social measures to improve cooperation; steps to improve physical comfort; analysis of why and how some routines break down. Housekeeping compromises the ablity to find, evaluate, and use information about nutrition, cooking, chemistry, and biology, health, comfort, laundry, cleaning and safety. Above all, housekeeping must be intelligent so that it can be empathetic, for empathy is the form of intelligence that creates the feeling of home. Good housekeepers know intuitively what needs to be done in their homes because they know how their homes make people feel."
~Cheryl Mendelson

7 comments:

L.L. Barkat said...

Gosh, Cheryl's quote does sound like the description for a business manager...

but I know what you mean about playing versus keeping house...

"the Lord bless you and Keep You"... keeping is a labor of love...

Andrea said...

ooh. Love that thought as "keeping being a labor of love."

But, notice she says, "housekeeping must be intelligent so that it can be empathetic, for empathy is the form of intelligence that creates the feeling of home." I like that thought, too.

tonia said...

ooohhh...good!

You just took a huge brick out of my guilt backpack! *grin*

L.L. Barkat said...

Interesting thought, that she links intelligence to empathy. Most people's view of intelligence is far less warm and far more self-focused. Thanks for highlighting her point!

julie said...

beautifully said! i too, had difficulty putting my finger on why martha stewart's magazine left me feeling a bit hollow with regards to my homekeeping! you have a great blog, thanks for sharing! julie harris

Katherine@Raising Five said...

So beautiful. I loved this.

Mary Brooke said...

I find "Living" pretty worldy actually, although I do appreciate her ideas for making everyday life more lovely. Mary Brooke