Happy Monday and happy National Cleaning Week! I look forward to Cleaning Week as much as I do Mondays. And if you know me, you know I LOVE Mondays! They’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!
Yesterday (the fourth Sunday in March) kicked-off National Cleaning Week! I’ve mentioned before that this isn’t something Mom would’ve celebrated. Dad might have, though. They always seemed to balance each other out! Mom joked about the impending disaster that would happen if she left Dad home alone with us kids.
However, before he met Mom, Dad was in the air force for a few years; and he was no stranger to cleaning chores when he was growing up, either. Dad taught me how to make my bed properly. He’d say, “a quarter should bounce on it!” Out of all the household chores, Mom hated making the bed, overall, and Dad hated “KP duty”. Again, they balanced each other out!
Even though there are calorie-burning benefits involved, Mom still didn’t like cleaning! It’s not that she didn’t do it – she just didn’t like it. My parents were, both, brought up in a generation that did what they “had to”, like it or not. Keeping a clean home was just something they were taught to do as responsible, civilized people.
When I was growing up, my siblings and I had to keep our rooms clean and our beds made. We earned an allowance, doing extra chores. My sisters and I helped Mom with the inner housework, while our brothers helped Dad with the yard and other maintenance projects, as well as taking out the trash. Back then, our 50 cents a week allowance went a long way at the penny candy counter of our neighborhood convenience store.
Before Women’s Lib developed in the1960s (and in many ways, still, today), cooking and cleaning were deemed “woman’s work”. Call me weird, but I actually grew to like cleaning. I feel a sense of accomplishment, in keeping a clean home.
I’m a little OCD – my family teases me that, in my case, it’s CDO because I like things alphabetical (and numerical) – so it’s no surprise that organizing is one of my favorite “hobbies”. Mom had her own system for organizing and I totally messed it up one time when I thought I was doing her a favor, organizing her desk. Afterward, she got the sign pictured below.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in… “No Laughing Matter”; a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer
(date unknown; circ. 1970s)
GIVE ME LIBERTY OR…
WITH ALL DUE RESPECT to Women’s Lib, I don’t think they can help me. I think they’ve done enough for me already! Frankly, I think I was doing alright before they came along. At least I could get a seat on a bus. Now I’m lucky if a man will offer to hold my packages for me.
I can also remember when cutting the grass was considered “man’s work”. These days my husband flips me two-out-of-three to see which of us gets the lawn mower and who will fix the iced tea and sit on the patio chair to watch.
Last week, I was visited by a new militant group of women in our neighborhood who are protesting the proposed 4-day work week for MEN. They advocated a simple test. If you cannot get through a two-week vacation and the Christmas holidays with a man who over-waters your house plants and alphabetizes your refrigerator then how can you get through a three-day weekend, 52 weeks out of the year?
For you must then decide if you have to run the sweeper [aka: vacuum] while he’s taking a nap, or does he have to take a nap while you’re running the sweeper. Arguing with a husband (especially when he’s your own), is like taking a shower/bath in a scuba outfit. But I have a theory!
There are some things in this liberated life, which a woman just cannot control. You have tasted instant failure when neither of you can agree on who gets custody of the only controls on the electric blanket; and if it’s fair that she who makes the garbage must also carry it out; and whose mother calls more – yours or his?
This is the same man who warned me not to go into labor on his bowling night and who, on Christmas, gave me a monogrammed tool box and a gift certificate from Sunoco for an oil change and lube job, and a can of Easy-Off in my stocking.
The liberating females of our society have missed the joy of knowing what it means to live with a man who claims he’s always out of socks, but YOU know there are two more pairs in the drawer and [of course] only YOU can find them!
Most husbands are generally quite liberal with their wives in spite of the ‘Lib Movement’… I’ll have you know that my husband has always allowed me to make all sorts of important decisions – like: ‘Does that child need a nap?’ ‘Should that baby have her pants changed?’ ‘Do you really need another new pant suit?’ ‘Must your mother call here every day?’ ‘Should we recognize Red China?’ ‘Will they find Howard Hughes?’
The only liberation I want is to get away from the kids once in a while, without having the school counselor label me as a parent who doesn’t care. When you cannot free yourself from the oven encased in molten lasagna and apple pie fossils, you know that liberation is but a piper’s dream in your soap opera saga.
On the other hand, my husband takes a realistic approach to my emancipation. He claims women have never had it so good… (What does HE know?) His trying to tell me about women’s rights is like trying to tell General Eisenhower about World War II. However, I look at it this way: ‘Either give me liberty… OR GIVE ME A CLEANING LADY!
If you don’t like to clean, as Mom didn’t, make it less intimidating. Break it down into smaller tasks, doing only one room at a time. Don’t forget to take personal breaks! I start by cleaning the ceilings first, especially around crown moldings, light fixtures, and fans. Then I move to the walls, door and window moldings, picture frames, shelves, and other decorations. I follow that by cleaning lamps, table tops, and other furniture; leaving the floor for last.
Plus, if the achievement, itself, isn’t reward enough; create something that is. Thirty minutes of doing various household chores, vigorously, can burn numerous amounts of calories. According to 20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn, by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd. (HowStuffWorks.com) you can, in 30 minutes, burn 252 calories moving furniture, 153 mopping, 84 sweeping and/or vacuuming, 80 dusting, 74 making dinner, and 72 folding laundry.
Since today is National Something on a Stick Day, here are Mom’s copycat recipes for Corn Dogs & Fresh’s Mild Mustard; as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 110 & 23). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
March is still celebrating, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Women’s History Month, and National Sauce Month! Moreover, it’s unofficially Maple Sugaring Month!
Today is also… National Black Forest Cake Day!
Friday is the beginning of April, which observes, among other things… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Volunteer Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and Stress Awareness Month!
April 2nd is… National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day and National Reconciliation Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in April (for 2022), it’s also… National Love Our Children Day, National Play Outside Day, and National Handmade Day!
…13 down and 39 to go!