Will it all come out in the wash? or Why I need a Sarah’s House Make-Over

It’s Monday, 7 October, 1907, and, in the small town of Ashburton, New Zealand, my great-aunt, writes in her diary that the “Washing and ironing” are done. It is the first sentence of her diary entry. She is twenty, and lives at home, and seems to be Mother’s main helper. Monday is usually washing/laundry day.

Fast forward, Monday, 7 October, 2013, and her great-niece, is writing in her blog that the washing and ironing are not yet done. The washing is on its spin cycle, so it will be ready soon. The ironing won’t be done, unless there’s a national ironing emergency, for ironing is the one domestic duty she resists with a passion. In her modern house, because she has a washing machine, washing/laundry day can be any day, or any hour, and usually is. She is not Mother’s helper and she’s no longer 20.

But, despite the differences in time, place and age, what fascinates me (and, quite truthfully,  often depresses me) is that I am, like dozens of my female forebears,  primarily engaged in ‘domestic duties’. I, in common with  many women, come from a long line of apparently inescapable domesticity.  I have had a wonderful  education and a small, but certainly less than  brilliant, career  , yet,  for all that, here I remain, mistress of domestic duties.

Most of the time, I am very happy being my own boss, in my own home, because I have a good home and a comfortable life. But, sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder what might have been, and I feel sad. Which is silly, since  what might have been, never was!  But, more than missed, mythical opportunities, what really makes me sad and mad and angry, if I think too much about it, is that I devalue my domestic life because, for years and years, and, even to this very day, we are subtly told that our domestic roles/duties are ‘small change’ value, especially  to the economy. They are not  ‘real work'; they don’t ‘count'; they don’t ‘produce'; they don’t contribute to the tax base of the nation.  Our Minister of Social Development and Employment, Paula Bennett, never tires of telling us that being in the work force is where we, women, will find our full potential and our rightful place.

And she could be right, but I am a bit ‘old school’ and believe that the diminishment of domesticity comes  from societies that refuse to take in to account the enormous worth of unpaid female labour in the home and in caregiving roles. Our own  Marilyn Waring wrote The Book  (If Women Counted) on this subject. (Sadly, still to be read by me :( ) However, despite progress on how Governments/Countries account for women’s worth in national accounts, the public perception of women’s domestic contribution to the economy, as negligible, remains.

Now, just as my washing has been swirling in the machine, so have the ideas in my brain. And I think I have found a solution that will propel domestic activity to pride of place in our nations. The solution is simple; our living spaces, particularly our laundries, must be redesigned. We must bring the laundries out from the sheds, and basements and garages, and dark, back rooms, and hide-away closets, the bathrooms and the tiniest spaces. We must bring them in to the light and make them a feature room of our homes;  a place of warmth and love , the place that everyone wants to be, and to gather. Move over open-plan kitchen, TV/media room, home library/office, tool shed… welcome to The Laundry, the home of lavender and loveliness, sunlight and enlightenment. Let’s give the laundries a  Sarah’s House make-over  treatment.  Let’s make The Laundry the number one selling point in Real Estate; no more indoor/outdoor flow or street appeal when marketing a property; let’s advertise the beauty and wonder of the laundry room. And, if we can’t go quite that far, at the very least, let’s give them equality of space in our residence.2008-0707_12.pnghttp://www.sarahrichardsondesign.com/portfolio/sarahs-house-2/laundry-room

Whilst we wait for that to happen, my washing needs to be hung. Come with me to my back room laundry. It’s always good to have a helping hand. Together we can see  what, if anything, has come out in the  wash.

Welcome to my laundry; the main space

Laundry; the main space

Laundry; the main space

and all angles

and  all details

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Links for the heavy-duty wash;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWAuDEgRVtE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZPCESR4c2E

© silkannthreades

75 thoughts on “Will it all come out in the wash? or Why I need a Sarah’s House Make-Over

  1. womanseyeview

    Fun blog entry! If you don’t have time for Marilyn Warring’s book – have you seen her documentary ‘Who’s Counting – Sex,Lies and Economics’? It was done by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and I found it very enlightening.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I haven’t seen the film but I was hoping I would find someone who has; and that is YOU! Hooray. It’s on my list of things to see, which is getting longer by the minute, nay, nano second :)

      Reply
  2. Russel Ray Photos

    Your laundry room is clean enough to be a kitchen. In fact, that’s what I thought it was at first glance. Several years ago I did a home inspection at a McMansion. They did away with the huge laundry room (as big as my master bedroom) and changed it into their home office. They moved the washer and dryer into the kitchen, right next to the dishwasher. As the lady of the house told me, “I got tired of walking across the house to the laundry room, and since I like to do laundry when I cook, it was only logical to put the washer and dryer right here.”

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Well, I do sometimes put the breadmaker in the laundry so perhaps that makes it a semi-kitchen. I would find life too chaotic if I added my laundry mess to the kitchen one. What I would like is a mud room extension to the laundry :)

      Reply
  3. Pingback: It’s strange what comes out….. | silkannthreades

  4. violetski

    Love this post ! ❤️
    Love your guardian angle for your laundry and also that mother goose house rules!!!!
    By the way , tomorrow is my laundry day !!! After many days raining , we will have sunshine tomorrow ! 😃

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Have a good laundry day. The guardian angel was made by my elderly aunt during the craft session she attends at her retirement home. Just after I wrote the post the head of the guardian angel fell off! Was she upset about something I wonder???? ;)

      Reply
  5. lagottocattleya

    I agree totally – here in Sweden domestic work is not valued. When I decided to stay at home with my children – for five years I did – I was not very nicely looked upon. “So, what are you doing the whole days, then? Aren’t you going back to real work?”

    Someone said in your comments – maybe it was you – that people were envious. I think deep inside they maybe were, but would never admit it.

    It was so hard to start working outside home again. If I could have stayed at home, I would. But instead I chose only to work part time – not fulltime. This teaching thing has meant full time anyway, it seems. ..Now when I’m working outside of home, my husband does many of the chores. I get dinner every evening for example. The laundry is mine! I’m very particular about that. I think your idea of bringing it out in the open is very ingenious!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Isn’t it strange when people ask “What do you do all day?” when you are at home with children? ” I fall asleep on my feet because I am so tired.” might be a good answer :) I was hoping the Swedish attitude to domestic duties might be more progressive. Perhaps not. Many men do share household duties and child care but, in general, statistics seem to indicate that these tasks are still mostly undertaken by women; sometimes in addition to their outside-the-home work. And, from my own experience, part-time work is very rarely truly part-time :(

      Reply
      1. mixedupmeme

        Thank you! Sometimes when I read all the wonderful blogs and see the great photos, I get to wondering what I have to offer. I rarely write a piece. I suppose we all just express our thoughts in different ways. :)

  6. Pingback: Were Children Paid for Working on Their Family Farms a Hundred Years Ago? | A Hundred Years Ago

  7. Sheryl @ Flowery Prose

    Ah…laundry…it’s actually one of the household duties I don’t mind. I don’t have my own laundry room (apartment life) and have to share with dozens of my neighbours, but I don’t mind so much because that’s one room I don’t have to clean! LOL Your laundry room is a beautiful space, and that photo of Sarah Richardson’s design made my jaw drop.

    Ironing, on the other hand…shudder. I do own an iron, but it’s nearly new and will likely stay that way forever.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      One room you don’t have to clean! That’s a good way of looking at it. There is something to be said for communal laundry spaces though; like a community garden they can, or have the potential to be, gathering places which connect us as a community. As for my laundry being neat, here’s something to make you laugh Pegs
      Yes, I colour co-ordinate my pegs :)

      Reply
      1. Nancy

        So now I have to ask…. Do you color-coordinate the clothespins to the clothing that’s being hung? Green shirt with green clothespins, etc?

        This was a fun post to read. I have a family history blog and just a week or so ago wrote a post about our new washer compared to the developments in laundry that my mother and grandmother saw in their lives.

      2. Gallivanta Post author

        Um, yes, here’s a sorry confession! Sometimes I do!!! In times of great boredom with the washing, it helps pass the time :) But it doesn’t always work that well because I can’t find enough different coloured pegs. Would you be able to give me a link to your post? I would love to read it. I went to your blog but couldn’t locate it.

  8. cindy knoke

    Oh this is stupendous! I love the Martha Stewart laundry room!! Martha Stewart is our stock trading, billionaire, felony convicted, “Domestic Goddess.”
    If I lived near you I would have a Domestic Goddess plaque made for your laundry room!
    @#$%^&* what other people think. It is what you think that counts. Do you enjoy being domestic?
    I love it! I don’t love doing the wash however! ):
    Interestingly enough, I worked for 27 years and I was always quite envious of the women who could stay home. I don’t buy that working out of the home is where women need to be to reach their feminine potential. Besides you’ve lived all over the world, you love to cook and you write beautifully, and you have an adorable, practically un-barking dog!
    Who could ask for anything more?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh, I like your @#$%^&* !!! And a Domestic Goddess plaque would be superb. At the front door, though, not in the laundry. :D I am not much of a Goddess figure right now as I slop around in my pjs, making a boiled fruit cake but I feel fine that I can do as I like in my own home. And my cute dog is asleep on the sofa (!) nearby. The window cleaner came this morning, earlier than expected (yes I was in my pjs!) and the house is now full of light and freshness; lovely. It’s a good life.

      Reply
  9. mmmarzipan

    What a beautifully written post! My husband and I have always shared all household duties and my son is already learning to cook, clean and bake (and loves it). I confess that I love being at home right now… I used to take pride in presenting projects at work and getting kudos from colleagues… and now I take quiet pride in a well organised toddler t-shirt drawer, or a clean work surface in the kitchen after a day of baking. I don’t know what this means for my future, but what I do hope is that no matter where I end up or what I end up doing with my days, I can always feel proud of a job well done… and I can always pat myself on the back, whether anyone else can see/acknowledge my efforts :)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I think that what you do right now is priceless.And it is the right now that matters. Because I belong to that generation who were going to liberate the female world, I have had to work really hard at patting myself on the back for my domestic worth. Most of the time I can do it,and believe it, but, every now and then, I fail. It’s usually because of something related to taxes, or pensions or Govt forms and policies that gets me stewing :)

      Reply
  10. valeriedavies

    Well haven’t you hit the spot! we are all washerwomen to some degree, but aren’t we lucky now that our hands don’t get all soft and crinkled like Mr Toad when he was in disguise !!!!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh, too funny! I have just reread some of the passages and can’t stop laughing: ” One morning the girl was very thoughtful, and answered at random, and did not seem to Toad to be paying proper attention to his witty sayings and sparkling comments.

      ‘Toad,’ she said presently, ‘just listen, please. I have an aunt who is a washerwoman.’

      ‘There, there,’ said Toad, graciously and affably, ‘never mind; think no more about it. I have several aunts who OUGHT to be washerwomen.’

      ‘Do be quiet a minute, Toad,’ said the girl. ‘You talk too much, that’s your chief fault, and I’m trying to think, and you hurt my head. As I said, I have an aunt who is a washerwoman; she does the washing for all the prisoners in this castle—we try to keep any paying business of that sort in the family, you understand. She takes out the washing on Monday morning, and brings it in on Friday evening. This is a Thursday. Now, this is what occurs to me: you’re very rich—at least you’re always telling me so—and she’s very poor. A few pounds wouldn’t make any difference to you, and it would mean a lot to her. Now, I think if she were properly approached—squared, I believe is the word you animals use—you could come to some arrangement by which she would let you have her dress and bonnet and so on, and you could escape from the castle as the official washerwoman. You’re very alike in many respects—particularly about the figure.’ ” Interestingly, The Wind in the Willows was pubished in 1908 which is the year of the Thor, the first electric powered washing machine, invented by Alva J Fisher.

      Reply
  11. Sheryl

    At different points in my life I’ve done different things, all of which I think had value. And, I most definitely think that domestic duties are some of the most important work there is.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Indeed. At an individual level I think there can be a lot of appreciation of the value of domestic work. The difficulty seems to be getting full recognition for its value within economic models and national policies and society at large. Some organisations are trying; but there’s a long way to go. By the way, I have been thinking how great it is that Helena is being paid for her work during the corn harvest. She is not being treated as free family labour :)

      Reply
      1. Sheryl

        I never thought about it that way, but you’re exactly right–many young women a hundred years ago probably had to work on their family farms with no pay. I might have to incorporate this thought into a future post. Thanks!

      2. Gallivanta Post author

        Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed your post and catching up on a few of your other earlier ones :) I agree about expanded thinking. I have been captivated by your accounts of life for your grandmother 100 years ago and have learned such a great deal.

  12. Clanmother

    I agree about celebrating the laundry – I have it close to my kitchen! After reading your post, I headed over to the International Labour Office and found “Measuring the economic and social value of domestic work.” There is a considerable amount of discussion surrounding your theme. Here is the first line in the preface:

    “Paid domestic work is an important source of employment for at least 53 million
    workers across the world, of whom 80 to 90 per cent are women; many more millions are
    unregistered, hidden and non-enumerated by labour force surveys and censuses. They
    provide essential housekeeping services and look after the needs of children and the
    elderly, sick or invalid members of other people’s households. Yet, domestic workers are
    underpaid and overworked, poorly regulated and protected by labour legislation.”

    http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_protect/—protrav/—travail/documents/publication/wcms_159839.pdf

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And sadly this is so. A long time ago, in the early 1980s, we lived in Lusaka, Zambia. We employed a cook/housekeeper (a man) and a nanny. Even though we paid them a weekly cash wage as well as in-kind rations, I still remember that we were required to pay in to their provident fund (pension) accounts. We were only too pleased to do so. I hope, against hope, that that contribution was of some benefit to them later in life. It impressed me ,then, that even a casual wage earner was entitled to a provident fund. It seemed just.

      Reply
      1. Clanmother

        Indeed! This is an excellent post and worthy of further discussion. There are so many themes and value systems intertwined in domestic labour.

      2. Gallivanta Post author

        It’s mind-boggling really. I am sure there are PhDs on the subject. Have you by any chance seen the documentary on Marilyn Waring that I referenced? I haven’t but it attracted my attention because it was done by Canadians.

  13. Just Add Attitude

    I don’t think any sort of work should be undervalued no matter how humdrum and it is a shame that domestic work is. I don’t know what can be done to change that perception – perhaps your idea of giving pride of place to the laundry room might be a good start. ;)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, my idea is very nice in theory, but in reality there may be some serious practical complications/implications. However, I am sure we can still make the laundry space a lovely one and a pleasant place to be. A place where ‘everyone’ can enjoy doing the laundry .(How about a game console on the washing machine control panel so kids can play battle of the wash? Impractical again? )

      Reply
  14. teamgloria

    a woman’s work is never done.

    *sighs*

    yes. just THINK what TALENTS were wasted because THEY had to do the laundry.

    makes us MAD.

    dreaming of a Jeeves.

    or at least a robot.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, a Jeeves would be lovely or a robot, although I think I would prefer the Jeeves or Miss Fisher’s Mr Butler. I noticed that in the Old Brightonian http://www.oldbrightonians.com/hall-of-fame/literature/sophia-stuart-f1985-97-ob-of-the-month-october-2013.html interview a certain person spoke of longing for a robotic Jeeves.
      Oh, and look what came in the mail today How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World
      All the way from Los Angeles From LA, USA
      Complete with a little sunrise/sunset? card Sunrise Sunset
      And the cutest little car Delivery
      Glorious. In fact, so glorious I forgot that I am supposed to be doing the laundry :)

      Reply
      1. teamgloria

        gosh that was awfully quick!!!

        we assumed it would take FOREVER to go on a cruise ship and wear gloves for supper and take a stroll on the upper deck after quoits and ask nanny to be a dear and look after the (oh, wait, we forgot to have children, scratch that bit).

        lovely.

        that’s our first EVER piece of Post sent to NZ.

        _tg xxx

      2. Gallivanta Post author

        It was quick! It may be my first ever post from Los Angeles :) And it was the only mail in my mailbox today!!! Btw, as this not so young person says, did you see my post with my little bit of history. Would Who You Are in Real Life give you permission to look ;) ?

  15. utesmile

    I do share your enthusiasm of ironing….. twice a year is too much. My iron lives under the bed too. I always buy clothes which do not need ironing, or I hang them up wet. There are ways around it. Your laundry room looks rather efficient, I just have the washing machine in the kitchen. So glad we have a washing machine and don’t do it by hand like our ancestors in 1907. We are spoiled. The man who invented the washing machine should be more celebrated, (not the one with the iron though) :-)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Who did invent the washing machine? I must investigate. Perhaps that person deserves a Nobel Prize :) I used to love helping with the ironing when I was little. We had a small iron and a big iron and I was allowed to use the small iron. And it was perfect for handkerchiefs and teatowels etc. And there was also a bottle of water with a special top on it which we used to sprinkle water on the clothes to make them easier to iron. It was fun then.

      Reply
  16. tiny lessons blog

    Great new design ideas! “Make what counts, count”! :) Although I’ve always been in the workforce, I truly appreciate the work done at home. Living in Africa, we had wonderful help and I remember that when we moved to the US, the laundry just piled up and up…and I let it, because my family seemed to expect that somehow, magically, it would be taken care of…My relationship to ironing is very similar to yours…only in emergency.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh, I like that expression “Make what counts, count”! I experienced similar problems, post overseas postings, with the family’s belief in magic taking care of the laundry! The comic strip ZITS has a lot to say about how my life with teenagers used to be; it still makes me laugh http://zitscomics.com/

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I wonder about that too. When I gave up my little part time job, I had a lot of regrets but, after awhile, I realised that it was a privilege, a rare privilege, to be at home. I worried about money at first, but discovered that I needed less of it than I imagined I would. However, sometimes those old regrets rise to the surface again; silly me!

      Reply
  17. Forest So Green

    I guess someone has to manage the house. Times have changed a bit and I know men who are staying home with the children and doing the housework but I don’t think they get much respect. It seems that work associated with women is still devalued. How sad.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Fortunately, times are changing but I like your point that it is ‘work’ generally associated with women that is often devalued. Men, who attempt to share or carry the main job of domestic work, are often ‘looked down upon’ (in subtle ways) as much as, if not more than, a woman who does the same work.

      Reply
  18. Mrs. P

    Oh forgive me in advance for this long reply…but it is very much appropriate.
    When I was younger, in my twenties, I worked for a church and cleaned houses to pay the bills. I eventually married and had a child, gave up the church work but still cleaned house to pay the bills so that hubby could continue to work for the church.

    After five years of this I thought…what is is that I contribute to society? A clean house, happy clients. It didn’t see enough. I wanted to do more…enter my teaching phase of life for the next 17 years. After than, back to working at the church again. Now without small children, I devoted every minute to my goals. I was really a workaholic from the time I started teaching until I snapped twenty three years later…not severely but just enough to say, you need to change what you’re doing.

    This began my six months of do, nothing except those things that bring you pleasure…in the simplest forms. No work, no responsibility. It was very therapeutic. And, even though I felt I should be doing more, my family was very supportive.

    Having gained back my strength, I was ready to tackle the world again, this time on different terms. I needed to get a job, any job and decided to be a housekeeper at a skilled nursing facility. I applied for the job and they offered me a director position. So for the next two years, I supervised the housekeepers as well as other duties. And, occasionally did the work. It is HARD work, physically exhausting…day in and day out. I appreciated my girls for what they accomplished and made sure to tell them.

    Then I moved across the US…for love…just as the US economy crashed completely. In all my life I have never had to work at getting a job…until then. Over five hundred applications, zero responses. Being over fifty years old is a barrier to getting an interview…I know with certainty. The only possible jobs available were minimum wage jobs, where you actually lost money by the time you figured transportation costs.

    By now, I am mad, I have used up my savings and really need work. I thought, not everyone has been crushed by this economy. Some people are still making money. Those are the people I need to talk to. I vowed to do anything, including housekeeping. The next day, I found my first client and for the past five years I have been a Domestic, Girl Friday, Landscape Artist, Event Coordinator, etc., I make more money than ANY of my previous jobs while only having to work part time.

    Remember always…women are the executives of the home. Never think lowly, thing management!
    I have made my peace with my career. It has provided me food, shelter, stature…even birthing services. But most of all, it has allowed me to pursue writing, photography, gardening…being a wife (poor first hubby, I was never there) and grandmother. And…I love it! :)

    Oh…and I have such a wonderful “new” hubby who feels that I work too hard cleaning for others and refuses to let me do any work at my own home…that includes, cleaning, cooking…. and laundry. You have every right to be jealous.

    When I saw the pictures, I thought…now that’s an organized person…then I saw Sarah’s which completely tops any of the one’s that I clean. It looks more like a kitchen or office with a washing machine in it…and I clean some pretty nifty looking laundry rooms. Now that I have made myself late I have to shove off…thank goodness I don’t have to punch a clock!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your story is heartwarming and I love your spirit and positive attitude and energy. And how incredibly hardworking and determined you are too. You show us how valuable are the domestic arts and how to add value to them as well. Lovely :)

      Reply
  19. lensandpensbysally

    Truly, a heartfelt commentary on the state of society. No matter where you live, females continue to be the main “housekeeper.” Certainly some of that has changed, but how much. We continue to be steeped in male and female roles rather than shared ones. Sadly, not enough has changed since the 1950s and the feminist movement.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, I have a good laundry space really but I love all the neat storage spaces in the Sarah’s House laundry and the colour coordination. In one of her laundry make-overs, I think she has a chandelier in the laundry…now that is classy, if impractical :)

      Reply
  20. Ralph

    Hi Gallivanta. My two cats ensure that I am domesticated as their sole purpose is to keep me busy by piling rugs into the corner of a room, paddling cat litter stones all over the apartment and hiding their favourite toys in places unbeknown to me. Other than me washing up, Toni my neighbour does my washing, cleans my apartment and cooks my meals. She is a dream !! Ralph xox :D

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your cats know how to keep you in order, Ralph! They have you well trained and domestiCATed. I know you have done your share of unpaid labour in the home, and with care-giving, so hugs for you. And hugs to your lovely Toni who takes such good care of you.

      Reply
  21. Travelling Kiwi

    I love the warm steaminess of a laundry room – especially in the winter. But I’m afraid that my laundry room is a very noisy room when it’s in action, so any family bonding taking place at that time would probably be heard by neighbours and passers-by. Perhaps we should invite them in as well :-). Or perhaps our inventors could work a bit more on noise reduction of washing machines and dryers.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Definitely, the laundry process should be a social event (like the women at the fountain or by the river ); invite them in! And, definitely, definitely, some noise reduction on the machines is required. My new washing machine is supposed to be quiet; yeah, right!

      Reply
  22. coulda shoulda woulda

    Isn’t it funny that a whole day was spent on laundry…But even to this day it seems that no one want to air the laundry. I don’t know what I find it so hard to do when all I do is open throw stuff in pour powder and click a button… It is crazy and illogical but I have a distaste for housework – though important I still have hangups about women always having to do it so I rebel. You are so lucky to have a separate space!!! Ours is in the kitchen…Ah, glamorous London eh?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am lucky to have a laundry space even if it isn’t the laundry of my dreams. How do you think it would look with some of your favourite de Gournay wallpaper? Your blogger friend Adelaide Villa has a fine idea for wallpaper in the laundry :) I like a rebel. I am just not very good at being one when it comes to housework :( Although if I had to do laundry for a whole day, as of old times, I might find the strength to rebel.

      Reply
  23. Tracy Rhynas

    I confess, my laundry is in my basement, hidden away from all! Although I work full time, I get quite defensive when people belittle and devalue the worth of domestic roles. If they were not being performed no one else would be able to go out to work, go to school or be freed up to run the country! I have a very nice lady, Menzie, who comes and helps me with the washing, ironing, etc. (I too detest ironing – I would look perpetually wrinkled if it was left up to me), and in doing so, she enables me to go to work and she provides for her family as well. Without her help I would be lost, and I certainly would not have any spare time to make jewellery! I salute all domestic goddesses – but my laundry will remain in the basement :-)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am sure it’s a very nice basement laundry :) I praise all women who engage in domestic duties. I think the ones, like your Menzie, are the saviours of the world. The helpers in my domestic life have been invaluable. When I was on my own so much in Lusaka, it was Monica who kept me company and kept me going with a small, sleepless baby. It was hard to say goodbye, so hard.

      Reply
  24. Heather in Arles

    My guilt over no longer being a wage-earner weighs on me at times. I work hard to keep things running smoothly in the house and for the dogs and yet in my mind, it doesn’t seem to count.
    I most certainly see what you are saying about giving more appreciation to the laundry space but it also made me giggle as, in our current apartment, the washing machine is slotted in to a tiny corner of the kitchen and the iron and drying rack (hardly anyone has dryers in France) live under the bed when not in use! I am sure a Feng Shui specialist would go crazy over that one…

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, my laundry idea is a little impractical and fanciful :) and I don’t know what a Feng Shui specialist would say about the iron under the bed, but I might say, “JOLLY GOOD” and OUTA SIGHT, OUTA MIND. I do understand that feeling of guilt , but it makes me cross that I allow myself to feel guilty. Most of the time, by being mindful, I can forget about it, but sometimes it jumps up and ties me up in knots.:(

      Reply
  25. tableofcolors

    I’ve often had the same thoughts as you. Domestic work is not given the same value as other work unfortunately. But maybe the most important thing is that the family members value it and all help(including all ages and gender)…through work they learn to appreciate the work and maybe in this way slowly society will change. I grew up in a family where both the boys and girls were required to do laundry etc as well and in truth they are quite handy to have around even now :)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, I notice in your posts how all your family are engaged in helping each other with tasks around the house, and it is lovely to see. In my family, too, we all had our duties and my father and brother cooked and washed etc and there was equality and appreciation of working together as a family unit. The change must start in our family units. Everyone, paid or unpaid, is a vital member of an economy and the well being of a nation.

      Reply
  26. ordinarygood

    I think you have been reading my mind. I have been mulling over issues around “feminism”, what it means to be a woman, the stereotyped gender roles, the drudgery of housework, the endless undervaluing of care-giving and so called “domestic duties.” and the reduction in choices available to us all thanks to Govt decisions and policies.

    I love your dog’s ultra comfy bed and superbly tidy laundry room…..the laundry here contains a huge amount of history, flotsam and jetsam.

    I do like to achieve a good billowing line or two of clean washing!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I love the dog’s bed too. But he prefers the bean bag or the sofa!!!! The bed is where he goes if he is going to get a treat but that’s its main purpose as far as he is concerned! We had good weather over the weekend so I spent a lot of it doing the washing; laundries were very much on my mind as well as many of these other issues that bother me from time to time! I am not sure of your age, but another ‘thing’ that gets to me is the constant talk of raising the pension age without any recognition of the need to consult the people who are not engaged in the wage economy.

      Reply

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