Do: Clean your house as needed, and feed the pets, and bathe the kids, and decorate until you can no longer feel your arms. For goodness sake employ thoses little rugrats because they can reach into places you can’t, and because they made all the messes in the first place.
Don’t: Ever walk into a room you don’t know how to walk out of.
Like sands in an hourglass, so are the days of our lives. Like a house that needs to be cleaned, it never ends. As a housewife, I am expected to clean. But I wonder: am I still a liberated woman while cleaning the toilet? Will my right to vote be challenged because I consider vacuuming an aerobic exercise? Should I be taken seriously during a political debate because I do dishes and have occasionally scrubbed poop in the bath tub do to a little one’s accident? Well, yeah! Of course! You think President Obama never changed a poopy diaper? Well, probably not, but I’m sure his wife did at some point before they became famous. People still respect her!
I’m tired of feeling like a maid and my husband often reminds me that little fingers are very capable of picking up little Legos, food wrappers, and Barbie shoes. He says, “We all live here, we should all help take care of it.” That may be, but it might be even better if a woman with an umbrella would fly down in front of my house and do it for me.
Enter: Weird characters from T.V.’s past that can get anything done wearing a dress, high heels, red lipstick, and a bottomless bag of Hollywood garage-sale crap. We introduce:
1. Mary Poppins. A wave of her hand and some old-fashioned special effects before “blue” screens were invented and we have a spit-spot room complete with live dolls that clean up themselves.
2. June Cleaver. She’s magic enough with perfect beauty-parlored hair at six in the morning, vacuums in heels, is obviously sexually repressed, and everything is spit-spot by 8 A.M. Maybe it’s her “magic” pearls that makes it look all so easy. Well that and a few vodka-tonics before Ward gets home . . .
3. Alice. She doesn’t really count because she wears orthopedic shoes.
4. Samantha. Witches do seem to get a lot done, don’t they? No wand, but a twitchy nose can turn you into a frog or get Darren out of whatever mess she got him into in the first place.
5. Donna Reed. Perfection at its highest scale. I think she had her own guardian angel, and not that kooky one who can alter space and time just to show her husband that his life is worth living, and that he should fire his uncle immediately for mammoth incompetence.
Sadly, these are not real people. Most of them are even dead. The rest of us must trudge along without a flying umbrella, without a twitch, and without a guardian angel. We deserve a set of real pearls, though. I wouldn’t wear them while mopping, but maybe once I’d give it a try just to see what the fuss is about.
When there’s work to be done, you can also have much fun, just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. No it doesn’t. Cleaning sucks! I stayed home to care for my children because I’m the only one in the world who can do it “the right way.” All mothers think that. After twelve years of being a parent, my back is literally falling apart. Now some one else gets to vacuum. (But they won’t do as good of a job.) Maybe there is justice in a housewife’s world or maybe I just need a valium–spoonful of sugar indeed.
“Just as there are no little people or unimportant lives, there is no insignificant work.” –Elena Bonner