Tag Archives: Housework

I Don’t Make My Bed

I don’t make my bed every day. Many years ago I wrote about the fact that I often don’t make my bed in my weekly newspaper column. I was surprised how people responded. Some seemed shocked, others judgemental. They said things like…..”Why making the bed is the first thing I do in the morning.”  “I practically make it before I get out of it.” “I would never leave the house without making my bed. I just couldn’t! “

unmade bed pixabay imageI exempt my mother from all blame for my laid back attitude to bed making  She taught me how to make my bed. It was a required chore. Perhaps as a teen I was less than diligent about it, but I was raised to believe in the virtue of a tidy bed.

It was my husband Dave who corrupted me. After we were married in 1973 I felt we should take turns making the bed. Dave,whose mother I suspect, had always made his bed for him, just laughed. “Go ahead and make the bed if you want to,” he said “but don’t expect me to do it. What’s the point? Why would you waste time making a bed when you’re just going to crawl back into it again in a few hours?”

For a few weeks I didn’t make the bed in protest. Surely Dave would take on the job if it was left undone. No way. He simply wouldn’t make the bed! The unmade bed didn’t bother him at all. Finally I decided, I too, would stop worrying about our unmade bed. So for most of the forty plus years we’ve been married I’ve only made the bed when I do laundry or when I know we have guests coming over. Perhaps this is a sign I still feel somewhat guilty about not making my bed.

 Polls report that anywhere from 21% to 59% of North Americans don’t make their beds everyday. Marriage counselors report that arguing over which partner should make the bed is a frequent point of contention between couples. Apparently an efficient person can make the bed in about 90 seconds so it really isn’t time consuming.

My work room by Mary Cassat creative commons

My Work Room by Mary Cassatt

There are some people who believe a ‘made’ bed changes your life and makes you feel more organized and peaceful throughout the day. Zen and feng shui experts say if you don’t routinely make your bed you should try it for a week and you will become a completely different person. A room looks chaotic when the bed is unmade and you will sleep much more restfully if you get into a neatly made bed. Apparently if you persist and make your bed for 21 days it will have become a habit and you will do it almost automatically each morning.

The only words of wisdom I’ve ever heard about making the bed are “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it. ” The proverb’s message is clear. You have to accept responsibility for the choices you make. I guess I’ll just have to live with the consequences, whatever they may be, for my many years of delinquency when it comes to making my bed.

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Housework

housework2According to an article in London’s Telegraph it will 2050 before men and women do equal amounts of housework. Women still do 70% of housework.

 I’m doing my own house cleaning for the first time in thirty years. I’ve always been a full-time teacher and initially, I managed to do that job as well as maintain some semblance of order in my house. However, once my children arrived, I just couldn’t keep up with everything. After one particularly frustrating week when the demands of a toddler, teaching and toilet cleaning had me in tears, my husband Dave volunteered to help out with my routine Saturday clean up of our home.  I ‘d suggested previously we hire a housekeeper but he thought it was too expensive. One Saturday of vacuuming, dusting and scrubbing shower tiles had him singing a different tune. “Let’s hire a housekeeper,” he said.

So we found someone to come in once a week and spend four hours cleaning our home. It was so nice to open the front door after work and find everything looking pristine and orderly. I’d just stand there for a minute inhaling deep whiffs of the fresh, clean smell of our house. I got an extra job writing a weekly newspaper column and that kept me in enough money to pay for my housekeeper. I always said I’d rather spend a couple of hours Saturday morning writing a column, than cleaning my stove or washing floors.

The downside of having someone do your housework is that you get out of practice doing it yourself. My husband Dave and I both retired this year and as we planned for living on a pension, at a substantially reduced income, we discussed ways to economize. I suggested we do our own housework. So for three months now, I’ve been doing my own house cleaning.

The 70% statistic about male/female involvement in housework would hold true for our household. This is not to say that Dave doesn’t do any work for our family. He handles all our finances, does our income tax returns and pays all our bills. He takes care of car maintenance and does all the driving on long-distance trips. He fixes things around the house. He does lots of grocery shopping and his fair share of cooking. He is our travel agent, and in the last six years, that’s been lots of work, because we’ve usually made at least a half a dozen major trips a year. He books flights, car rentals, accommodations and tours. He is our social coordinator, planning most of our movie dates, supper outings, dinner parties and get-togethers with friends. He helps shop for furniture and other household goods and buys presents for our children.  He just doesn’t clean toilets, do laundry or wash floors.

Last Saturday we were expecting guests and so I spent hours scrubbing, dusting, and cleaning glass. I only got through it by playing loud lively music to keep me motivated. Frankly, it wasn’t much fun.

They say by 2050 men will do an equal share of housework. That may help my granddaughters but it’s not going to ease my housecleaning burden. I think I might need to find a part-time job, so I can afford a housekeeper again.  

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Filed under Family, Retirement