The Reasoning: (if you don't care to know the reasoning, just skip down to The Plan)
June Cleaver. Domestic Goddess. Supportive Wife. Super Mom.
And she did it all in heels, a dress and without one hair out of place.
A few weeks ago I was flipping through channels and landed on an episode of Leave it to Beaver. As The Beav was up to his usual antics, what struck me was the absolute control that June had over the household. It was impeccably clean and organized. And yes, I know that it is a tv show created to depict the idealistic family of the 50s, but still. What had changed so much in the time between its airing and now that made it seem impossible to run a household like that? Why can I not run my household like that? I stay home with the kids and only work part time. Why was I so different?
My house is a mess. It is clean (as in, not dirty), but messy. Too many things, not enough space to put them. For the most part I feel like all I do is shift the mess from one room to another, with everything ultimately ending up in our multi purpose office/gym/library/craft space, AKA "just dump it in there" room. I've been so frustrated lately that something has to give, because I can't live like this anymore.
What the heck was I doing wrong?
And it dawned on me on our way over to Costco the next day. I refer to myself as a stay at home mom. I feel very blessed that I have the opportunity to stay at home with the kids while they grow up. When the subject of cleaning the house comes up, I always say that I'm here for the kids, not to keep house like a maid.
When speaking to other moms it is almost like we take pride in the fact that our houses are messy, comparing their disarray and talking about how little time or opportunity we have to get things done. It just seems impossible, right? Our first priority are the children, not the housework.
Well you know what, after thinking about all the excuses I made, it is all just laziness on my part.
I AM a housewife. When you don't work and stay at home, to your husband anyway, you are a housewife. No?
And while I may not agree with the whole keep-your-husband-happy-no-matter-what part, I do think that I should be able to run a household so that I have a sense of pride and not panic when I have people coming over.
So over the next 365 days, I am off to find my inner-housewife. My inner June Cleaver, so to speak.
Here's the plan:
Over the next 12 months, starting April 1, 2010 I will learn the skills it takes to run my household.
- Work through One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds. It is a book that breaks it down to one room a month, with weekly projects/assignments that pertain to that room. Seems like organization is one of the key elements to avoid being swallowed up by the clutter. We shall see.
- As I work through Organized Life, I will read the corresponding chapters in The Housewives Hand Book by Rachel Simhon.
- Each week I will complete two tasks from 101 Things for the Housewife To Do - 1949 by Lillie and Arthur Horth.
- Each month I will make a point to read one chapter from "Practical Suggestions for Mother and Housewife" by Marion Mills Miller (this is a wee little book that really just gives a glimpse in to the thinking of the time)
- Each month I will also outline one specific skill/task to work on, from cooking to curtains to gardening. Something house related that needs to get done but that I have always said I don't have time to do. With the exception of May, which will be devoted to planting the garden as I do every year.
- For general how-to references I will refer to Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook and Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson.
To make each week start on a Sunday, from April 1-3 I will be reading the introductions of each book.
Most importantly, to keep me accountable, I will be updating this blog on a daily or weekly basis. I'll figure out how often once I actually get started. Please post your thoughts and opinions!
So, books in hand, here I go! Wish me luck :)