For some time now, I have been finding a strange kind of joy in housekeeping. The apparently mundane tasks that culminate to create a welcoming home brings me a kind of peace I never knew existed. A crisply made bed with fresh linens, some delicious home cooked meals, the soft fragrance of my favorite candles and fresh flowers in the air make me very happy. I also like the feeling of routine and order that arises from the repetitiveness of housekeeping.
But I also could not help but feel that I am a little different then many in my generation. I do not openly like to discuss about this hobby(!!!) of mine, in the fear of being considered simple or dull. The other day I was reading "Laundry", by Cheryl Mendelson, during a break at work to the incredulous stares and comments of my colleagues. Nobody could understand why I would want to read about doing laundry and what on earth is there to read about it!!! Needless to say I did not take my 900 page "Home Comforts - The art and science of keeping house" to work.
It was also surprisingly hard to find these two books, there seems to be millions of tomes on interior decoration, organization, DIY, crafts, cooking and the like. But I could only find a few complete housekeeping manuals, you know the kind where they describe the purpose of all the chores that arise in a household and explain how to do them.
This really made me think.........why is a subject that is so vital to our existence has so few proper books.......and why is striving to know more about it so scorned upon? I felt, and correct me if I am wrong, that housekeeping has been for a long time, considered as a menial job, a chore that chained women to endless drudgery for a lifetime. Growing up, I was encouraged to keep things around me neat, but I was never much encouraged to pursue the subtle arts of domesticity seriously. My parents wished me to be pursue higher education and create an independent life for myself. Somehow the belief that you can not keep a good home and have a successful career at the same time was instilled in me. One must choose either one and a career should definitely be the only choice because otherwise one will be doomed to a life of domestic drudgery and financial dependence on the spouse.
I felt, that historically women felt trapped in their homemaker roles, financial dependence and limited freedom. So when it finally became possible for them to go out and join the workforce, they tried to sever ties with everything that reminded them of their previous situation, namely an interest in housework. A few new generations of women have been raised with this value, increasingly believing that going out to work is more rewarding that being a homemaker and one should definitely strive to be the former. In this process the custom of passing down simple but vital housekeeping knowledge has been broken. So we are now left with a generation of people who barely know how to look after themselves when they leave home as young adults.
Now I am not saying that we should all go back to the time of donning aprons and creating a sparkling home our life's ambition. All I am saying is that I believe domesticity is an art form and a vital brunch of knowledge. I wish, people who desire had more opportunities to learn about the art and science of creating a home for themselves. Creating a home with our own hands helps us truly enjoy the experience and the result, and I wish parents taught their children these simple traditions alongside their formal education. It really saddens me to see people, who are merely guests in their own home because they are so unattached to the functioning of their household, or people who are angry and frustrated by the condition of a house gone to seeds. I don't think learning this art will doom us to domestic drudgery, for both men and women......I really don't!
What do YOU think about this? Have you ever felt this way? Were you taught about housekeeping as a child? Please let me know what you think, I wrote this post solely so I could find out what you folks think about this.