Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I remember all the stay-at-home moms from my childhood. They would get together for a coffee-klatsch or visit by the clotheslines on Monday washdays. "Mom-talk" probably hasn't changed much since those days. Discussion on teething, kids' birthday parties and good bargains are timeless.

Other things have changed, however. It's the expectations on housekeeping. A stay-at-home mom was above all a housekeeper-no matter that she had a hundred other responsibilities like gardening, canning, ironing, plus cooking and baking everything from scratch. If she didn't keep a tidy home, she was gossiped about.

As a child, I heard grown women sneering about a "lazy" housewife's dirty corners, or sweeping dirt under the rug (that's where the saying originated). A woman's worth was ultimately based on her housekeeping ability.

We had to clean house every Saturday--scrub floors, dust furniture, shake out rugs and vacuum--in case someone would come to visit on Sunday. It wasn't uncommon for people to decide to "go visit" friends or neighbors on Sunday afternoons. Our family, all six of us, would sometimes get in the car to "go for a ride" (this is back when gas was four gallons for $1). If we passed someone's house and my folks noted they were home, they might decide to stop in for a visit. There was always the expectation that they would be ready for "company".

I'm rarely ready for company nowadays, not on Saturday or Wednesday or any other day. If someone drops in when the kitchen's a mess and we haven't vacuumed for a week, so be it. I sorta plan to clean the kitchen today, but I have to go pick up some neighbors out at the airport this afternoon and I've got a bunch of stuff to do first. I hope to get a piece written for my Writer's Group on Friday etc.



Sparrow chic said...

Housekeeping is not my thing either. I work fulltime, am involved in my 14 yr old sons life ( 2 mnths shy of 15, SOB ) , and also my daughters' and her family. I have lived by the rule that if someone visits me, they come to see me !! If they are coming to look at my house, I'll meet them somewhere for lunch. I'll have all the time in the world to worry about my house later. Right now, my family is most important.

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

I remember those days...! Sunday visits were the WORST! Argh!