Question of the Day for Sunday: Housekeeping

housekeeping

housekeeping (Photo credit: pucci.it)

When you say you’re “doing some housekeeping” are you talking about cleaning your local (home) environment, or are you being more esoteric?  What does “doing the housekeeping” mean to you?  Is it your job?  Do you like it, find meaning in it, or some sort of comfort, or do you resent and dislike it?  If it’s not your job, whose job is it?

This one’s a deep one for me.  Today, I’m talking about literal housekeeping, keeping my home clean, homemaking.  My mother had a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics.  Its the degree sensible girls got in the 1950s in order to find a college educated man.  It worked.  She married my father several weeks after graduation. 

I was raised to believe it was my job to clean house.  We had epic battles over my (shared) bedroom throughout my childhood, because I did (and do) have a tendency to stack books around me “just in case”.  And clothes, of course, go on the floor.  Hamper?  What’s that?

And I have depressive episodes.  A hallmark of depressive episodes is a case of the “don’t wannas”  In my case, the first thing to fall to the “don’t wannas” is the cleanliness of my house.  Add to that a firm case  of “it’s not my job, if you live in this house you contribute to the upkeep-ism” and I have been known (in order to make a point) to leave the kitchen untouched for over a week, to see if anyone else in the household will do it without needing to be told to.  The answer to that question, unfortunately, in a house full of Y chromosomes who claim to be “equal”, is often “no”.

Every now and then, though, my inner selfish person, who really, really likes a clean, neat, decluttered environment, takes over and I do a “powercleaning” until I run out of energy.  Today is such a day.  After I am done writing this article and eating breakfast, I will deep clean the house in 40 minute spurts with 20 minute breaks.  Today I have the added bonus of having my Perpetually Grounded Son as a willing partner.

This is the oddest part, for me.  Once I get into it, cleaning house, like other activities, provides an opportunity for me to get into that wonderful “flow” state which is what I love about writing, and knitting, and sewing, and gardening.  Yet cleaning house is so fraught, for me, with gender stereotyping and centuries of oppressive myths and expectations, that I cannot bring myself to enjoy it.  I wonder, sometimes, how that would be different if I lived alone, or in a house with only other women.  I’ve never experienced that, so I guess I won’t know for a very, very long time, if at all.

 

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About Maureen O'Danu

Maureen O'Danu is the webmistress of Am I the Only One Dancing? where there is a new discussion every day on any one of dozens of topics and ideas, as well as reviews, geekery, family, fun, and enough politics to season the pot.
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