The Reluctant Homemaker

This is as neat as it gets.  Really.
This is as neat as it gets. Really.
My Mom and my Grandma made valiant attempts to domesticate me when I was a kid back in the 50s and early 60s. They were worried because I was a tomboy. I was not above playing with dolls. Some of my best toys were dolls. But I also had baseball bats, tennis rackets and cap guns. BB guns were forbidden in our house, or I probably would have acquired one of those, too.* When we played Cowboys, I had to be either Annie Oakley or Marshall Dillon. I was not going to be some sissy girl who sat around waiting to be rescued. I was tall for my age, so I made a good western hero(ine) … well, passable for a kid, anyway.

I never wanted to be a boy. Being a girl was cool. I just wanted the option of being able to do all the things that boys did, and I wasn’t about to get stuck in a gender role. June Cleaver was not my role model.

In other words, I was okay with learning how to cook, sew, iron clothes and clean a house like all the other girls, but I wasn’t going to let all that interfere with playing baseball in the park, and I was really pissed that nobody ever made my little brother help with the housework. He got off scot-free, the little twerp. All he ever had to do was mow the lawn, and he got paid for that. The only benefit my sister and I received for washing dishes was not being yelled at. You can’t save up for a new bicycle with that.

One thing I never learned was how to change a flat tire on a car. My mother, who was petite and feminine, could change a tire like a veteran mechanic. You just never know.

Okay, so, like everyone who lives long enough, I grew up and grew older and I am now in my 60s. My childhood domestic training has come in handy all these years, just because I have never been rich enough to hire someone else to do the freakin’ work. In self-defense, I have learned to make housework as quick and as painless as possible, with the aid of the following labor-saving devices:

A Swiffer Wet Jet Mop
A Swiffer Sweeper
Swiffer Dusters

(Do you see a pattern here?)

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
Lysol or Clorox Wipes
A funny looking thingy on a pole that I use to clean the bathtub
A toilet brush
A plunger

I have no rugs on my floor because I hate vacuuming, even though I have a perfectly good full-sized Dust Devil vacuum cleaner sitting in a closet. I also have a cat. Cats and rugs do not mix well, for reasons I won’t go into here.

The catch in all this is that I have to keep buying refills for the Swiffer, Mr. Clean, Lysol and Clorox stuff. What’s a little expense, though, if it means less time spent trying to be a freakin’ domestic goddess and failing at it because I don’t care enough to really get down and scrub.

Grandma, please stop turning in your grave. I turned out okay. Really, I did.

*And I would have shot my eye out. In addition to being a tomboy, I was a klutz.

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9 thoughts on “The Reluctant Homemaker”

  1. My son gets pissed because I make him do all his own laundry and clean his own nasty toilet. Once he told me that I should do it. That’s when we had a nice long talk about how ovaries are not a prerequisite to housework. He’s left me alone since then.

    1. I think that all boys should learn basic housekeeping chores, for their own good and for the good of any future girlfriends!

  2. Hey, I played with dolls, too: I had most of the Johnny West collection, 12 inch dolls that these days would be called “action figures”. Jane West and her six-gun was way more interesting than Barbie.

    1. I never had a Barbie Doll, but I don’t feel deprived. My brother had action figures — little plastic soldiers.

      The girl next door had a real Hawaiian grass skirt. She went with her parents to Hawaii on vacation pretty regularly. I never understood why they could go to Hawaii and we had to stay stuck at home, although I knew it had something to do with money, namely the lack of it.

      1. Hawaii’s my idea of the perfect toy now! But as a kid I had millions of the little plastic soldiers — from the Revolution through WWII, all sides, with tanks, cannon, you name it. Those toys were the beginning of my fascination with history. Of course, they didn’t play with Johnny West, since he was about ten times their size …

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