Monday, May 12, 2008

Housekeeping

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

(this post from the archives September 2006)

Revisiting these thoughts after reading and enjoying...
Lessons From Vintage Fiction
Hymn to A Good Wife

(and needing refreshment on this busy Monday morn)

9 comments:

Michelle Waters said...

Love that quote! Maybe that's also why I never stayed with Martha Stewart Living -- good points...

Elizabeth said...

which is precisely why i don't have any subscriptions to home decorating mags. the guilt is a burden i cannot bear!

Carrie at dumptrucksandteacups said...

I love this:
"Good housekeepers know intuitively what needs to be done in their homes because they know how their homes make people feel."

Thanks for the encouraging post!

Beck said...

Ha! YES. "And now I'm going to make a lovely origami beret for my dog." It's got very little to do with what actually goes on day-to-day within a home, does it?

Andrea said...

Beck....
"lovely origami beret"....you're too funny.

Don't forget...the origami paper is recylced and made from natural dyes as not to harm the doggie!! ;)

Janel said...

I agree with you, but I like Martha anyway. They have put together a lot of silly ideas, but I've also been blessed by quite a few keepers. I eat the meat and spit the bones.

btw, I've tagged you. Got mothering quirks? :)

The mom, the robot, and the dancer said...

Oh yes this is so great! you put into words exactly how i've felt too! here's to KEEPING house, and not just playing at it!

Monica said...

I love beautiful homes, but usually no one lives there. I'd much rather have our lived in home full of life and love than a museum any day.

I liked this quote: The ability to split your attention in several ways and stay calm is essential.

So true.

Gypsy Root said...

I am so glad I came across your blog. It is a nice way to end my day over a cup of tea.
I loved your post on Martha Stewart, well said.