Thursday, March 3, 2016

Spring Cleaning

And summer cleaning, and fall cleaning, and winter cleaning...


I remember reading a commentary once from a woman who objected to being called a housewife. "I'm not married to my house!" she said, insisting that a better title (if one has to have one) is "home maker."  

O.K. There's definitely something to this.   Homemaker does sound better than housewife.  Say it out loud:

Homemaker: Can you smell the cinnamon rolls baking in the oven? 
* Housewife: Oscar the Grouch slippers scuffing across the linoleum to dump the trash. 

 Right? It's bad enough that those of us who stay at home have to put up with the disrespect of most of the modern world; at least we should have a glam-title for our chosen vocation. Homemaker sounds nice and cozy, and rather... what? Admirable?
But, I have to come clean on this. (Pun intended)  Though I certainly aspire to and sometimes imagine I approach the ranks of a June Cleaver homemaker in real life -- sometimes maybe once in a blue moon -- in the day-to-day, minute-to-minute, real-life analysis.... I think I'm really more like a housewife. 

It's just the daily-daily of it all, ya know? The never-endingness of the gritty housekeeping tasks take away all the glamour. Homemaker sounds too nice for the reality of it most of the time. There's just so much reality.

Let's talk about throw pillows, for instance.

I can't tell you how many thousands of times I've picked the throw pillows off the living room floor.  It seems that nobody else notices when they fall on the ground.  The anonymous couch-sitters here stand up with a pillow on their laps, the pillow falls on the floor... but they continue rising, and walk out, leaving the pillow to lie there. Surely they notice. How
could they not?  But they don't care like I do that pillows are scattered all over the floor instead of arranged artistically in the corners of the chairs and couches. 

Then there's the kitchen sink. 

Of all the people who live in this house with me (and there are quite a few, big and little), not a one can clean the food particles out of the strainer in the bottom of the sink. Ev.er.  As kitchen chores go, a couple of them can fairly efficiently empty the sink of dishes and adequately fill the dishwasher, but it never occurs to  any of them to wipe out the sink and dump out the strainer.  And why is that?  I'll tell you. It's because they don't look at the sink and see it there, looking pathetic and neglected, like a child with a dirty face that needs to be washed.  They don't care about it like I do. 

How about dirty doors and doorknobs? 

Nobody notices them at all, except to slam in and out of them -- with dirty hands.  But I hate not to see them shining and clean. I love my children, but I don't need to see my children's fingerprints all over everything to appreciate that they haven't grown up and left me yet, God bless them. (Have you ever read that poem? ) For heaven's sake, kids, wash your hands before you touch the doorknobs and doorjambs! (And the walls going up the stairs!)
And, of course, there's the never-ending floor problem. You know about floors, right?
They're the biggest, most obvious continuous surface in the house; it's a shame and disgrace for them to be unswept and smudged with scuffs and mud and spilled tea and I-don't-even-want-to-know-what all over them.  I can't bear for my beautiful tile and hardwood to look so unkempt. Much less the formerly-white carpets. I care about them, and I can't avoid seeing them, no matter how hard I try to walk around without looking at my feet.
Bottom line is that I care about my house.  I want it to be healthful, tidy, and respectable. It's my workplace. The place I do the important work of nurturing my husband and children.  It's the place where we bond, where memories are made, lessons learned, prayers said, jokes made, songs sung, tears dried, life lived. And this is the life -- the sometimes hard, but rewarding life -- that I love. The life that I love because of the people in it. The house that I love because of the people in it. For better for worse; for richer for poorer; for Nevada or Iowa...  Wherever it happens to be. I'm committed. Hopeless. 
Married to it.
 Housewife.
Tripping over the pillows and loving every minute of it.
Some Thoughtful Words on the Subject


“No occupation in this world is more trying to soul and body than the care of young children. What patience and wisdom, skill and unlimited love it calls for. God gave the work to mothers and furnished them for it, and they cannot shirk it and be guiltless.”
Isabella MacDonald Alden

“I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.”
Jani Ortlund


“It's sad if people think that's (homemaking) a dull existance, [but] you can't just buy an apartment and furnish it and walk away. It's the flowers you choose, the music you play, the smile you have waiting. I want it to be gay and cheerful, a haven in this troubled world. I don't want my husband and children to come home and find a rattled woman. Our era is already rattled enough, isn't it?”
Audrey Hepburn

 “I'm only a housewife, I'm afraid." How often do we hear this shocking admission. I'm afraid when I hear it I feel very angry indeed. Only a housewife: only a practitioner of one of the two most noble professions (the other one is that of a farmer); only the mistress of a huge battery of high and varied skills and custodian of civilization itself. Only a typist, perhaps! Only a company director, or a nuclear physicist; only a barrister; only the President! When a woman says she is a housewife she should say it with the utmost pride, for there is nothing higher on this planet to which she could aspire.”
John Seymour, Forgotten Household Crafts 

8 comments:

Cathy Keller said...

You made my day, as I start to sort through boxes of long lost treasures that must be save or should be thrown away. Downsizing is terribly hard for someone who has been married nearly 48 years! But, God is good and this too shall pass! I just have to get the boxes hidden before the house sitter comes while we are gone. They'll still be here when I get back. Have a grand day!

anne p said...

Oh its so good to hear this, when I've been nesting like crazy, washing dirty chairs, looking at my floors that need that mop, etc... always etc. :)

Lisa said...

I know, right, Anne? But, hey! How is it I didn't know you were on the nest?? Did I have that info and my flaky brain cells left it in some dark corner, or what? Congratulations!! :) Another Pulliam in the world is a wonderful thing!

Lisa said...

You, too, Cathy! It's a love/hate relationship I have with Spring cleaning. I love feeling like I'm ushering in spring and I love the results... If they lasted longer, though, i'd love them better!

Lisa said...

You, too, Cathy! It's a love/hate relationship I have with Spring cleaning. I love feeling like I'm ushering in spring and I love the results... If they lasted longer, though, i'd love them better!

Lisa said...

I know, right, Anne? But, hey! How is it I didn't know you were on the nest?? Did I have that info and my flaky brain cells left it in some dark corner, or what? Congratulations!! :) Another Pulliam in the world is a wonderful thing!

anne p said...

Due on the feast of St. Patrick.. but who knows.. so close!
Can you tell Frater that we are all hooked on the music! I need to buy more once this baby comes.. Its so cute to hear a little one singing Beibel.

anne p said...

Oh and shes an Agnes.. 7boys 2 girls