The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Who Likes to Clean?

Growing up, I knew two things: My mother loved her four children. And she hated the ancillary jobs that came with raising us.

My mother detested housework and considered cooking an unpleasant necessity to be gotten over with as quickly as possible.

For Thanksgiving when I was thirteen, she presented a pre-cooked turkey roll she had purchased at the grocery store. My mother’s pride in finding a shortcut to the burden of preparing a holiday feast wasn’t diminished in the least by my father’s complaint that it didn’t look like any turkey he'd ever eaten. She placed the steaming tube of poultry concentrate on the table with a “tah-dah!” next to the cranberry sauce that still showed rings from the can from which it had emerged.

I never heard my mother call herself or any other woman a housewife. When someone else described her that way once her face turned stony. Later she hissed to us: “I am not married to my house.”

I'm not married to my house either. But unlike my mother, I work outside the home so I guess that technically spares me from the unfortunate title that often haunted her. Still, the house has to be cleaned and the meals made. And, like my mother, I detest housework and despise cooking.

It's a distressing dilemma because I want to raise my two sons in a spotless home and I enjoy as well as anyone a tasty, healthy meal. My husband helps, but frankly his standards are a little, well, relaxed.

So I clean. I wipe down the kitchen counters grudgingly and announce in sarcastic joy how much I LOVE spending Saturday mornings scrubbing toilets.

And I cook. But I disappoint even my own low expectations with my heartless creations. There are, after all, just so many crock pot concoctions you can pour over rice.

I wish there was someone to help. Someone beyond the cleaning service lady who visits a few hours a month for whom I have to pick up so much that I might as well do the scrubbing myself.
Someone different. Someone devoted. Someone who really LIKES to clean. Someone who considers cooking -- every meal, three times a day -- an opportunity for creative expression.
Someone like the woman we once assumed the housewife to be.

As far as I can see -- she doesn't exist. She didn't live within my mother and to tell the truth, I never missed that.

My mother was an artist, a painter and photographer. She traveled, too, and cared for orphans alongside Mother Theresa in India and took me on a safari in Kenya. She gave me gifts she might not have to give had she been the housewife of my fantasies. I, too, have gifts my family enjoys.

Still, every now and then, especially when faced with a bathroom floor that needs mopping and the knowledge that even the space behind the toilet has to be scrubbed, the fantasy returns. And I wish someone would give me one more gift.

The gift of my very own housewife.

By Laura-Lynne Powell

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I loved this snetiment and find it so comforting to know other moms have this love for family and dread of the deadening labor part. thanks for the show if solidarity

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