Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Journey to Homemaking

Part 1

This is a topic that I've been wanting to share and talk about probably ever since I started my blog (and before), and it recently "resurfaced" in my thoughts.

I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that were born with the art of being an "on top of it" homemaker in their blood. And I know there's probably plenty of people out there that don't have one iota of it in their blood and can't figure it out. Me? I was the latter. It wasn't in my blood at all. We grew up in a house that only got cleaned under one of three circumstances: a) Somebody just drove up and got out the their car and they'll want to come in, so QUICK, haul all the laundry off the couch upstairs and pile it on beds, swipe the dirty dishes off the table and over to the piled up counter and scoop all of the toys into a pile. b) Scheduled company - which wasn't often. And then Mom would declare a "clean the house" day and that's all the 7 of us kids and mom did for an entire day and the next day until the guests arrived. I hated it. c) Mom would randomly decide "this Saturday we're going to clean the house" - and that wasn't too often, either.

As we kids got older (unfortunately the older ones got "older" faster and me and the rest of the younger siblings had to oblige to their direction) - and turned into 10 siblings instead of just 7 - things did improve under the direction and guidance of my older sisters who were starting to take charge of things. We swept and washed the floors more often. We even got to the point of washing them at least once a month (living on a farm, once a week couldn't have been too often). Sundays became the day where everyone worked on the dishes after dinner (lunch) and cleaned the kitchen (yeah, I hated that, too), and eventually we all realized that it was just better to wash dishes everyday and would just do it.

Fast forward a year or two, and I was a 19 year old newlywed who didn't know how keep a house beyond doing the dishes, cooking and laundry when it needed done. There was no rhyme or reason. If I didn't have a REASON to clean the living room or bedroom, then it didn't need cleaned! And when we would decide to have company over, oh my, the emotional melt-down and failure feelings because the house was a wreck and an overwhelming mess and that meant that I was a bad housekeeper and Daniel would lovingly reassure me that I was just fine and would usually help (as if my begging and pleading for his help wasn't incentive enough) get things straightened up before the guests arrived.

About 2 years into our marriage, and a little more than a year in our house (we were renting before), the cycle continued. After company would leave, the house would be clean and I liked it. Then eventually it would morph back into a big mess and I would get overwhelmed all over again. My laundry schedule was this: When Daniel went to get dressed in the morning and put on his last whatever, he'd tell me and then I'd do a load of those clothes. And if he forgot to tell me... well, he'd dig the cleanest dirty one out and wear it. I didn't have a cleaning schedule. I didn't know I needed one. But I began to realize that I didn't know how to be a homemaker/housekeeper. And I started to look for help.

To be continued.


Elizabeth said... [Reply to comment]

Your childhood home sounds much like mine! Except there were only 3 of us :) I married Jason (a clean freak) and sat in awe as he wiped down counters that still looked clean to me and threw laundry in when we had plenty of clothes to wear. Cooking was foreign to me too because I was the baby and when my siblings were out of the house (I was 12), we just started eating out on a daily basis. Homemaking has not come easy to me but I'm learning and I'm a million times better at it than I was when we got married 7 years ago.

And now, thank to you, I even know how to chop up a chicken! :)

Meghan said... [Reply to comment]

It sounds like I grew up in your house except I only had one brother and it was very unsettling for me to live in a cluttered/messy house. I used to do the dishes, laundry, vacuuming etc during summer vacation and on days off of school. When I moved out I had a hard time keeping everything how I wanted to. My thing is if I pick up as I go or do the dishes that are dirty now and to not wait until its out of hand it tends to calm the nerves.

Looking forward to part 2 : )

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

Now, THIS is interesting! These are things I didn't know--that you considered yourself not to know how to keep a house. Well, I can't say that I have anything nearly as under control as you do, so I am waiting to learn more!! I think before kids, my work dictated my housekeeping patterns, and now, my kids and whatever stage they are in play a big role in my housekeeping patterns. Oh! Wow, what it must be like to be at home full-time and set your own schedule! Go for it! Enjoy it, and live it up while you can! I'm rootin' for you from over here!

Maria D. said... [Reply to comment]

*claps hands* More! More! I love hearing stories like this!

The cleaning system at my house, growing up, sounds a lot like yours. I could never understand why my mom thought it was so imperative to get the house clean for guests! Of course, now that I have my own place, I completely understand. ;-)

I'm looking forward to hearing the next installment!

Lucy said... [Reply to comment]

this is very interesting!! funny how the 4 big kids got older and got to dictate the rest of us around, even when we were getting older too! When's part two coming?

Rachel said... [Reply to comment]
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