I think it’s important to talk about housework and the skill of home management, because it occupies such an important part of the time, and the lives of many. And also because it’s a hidden, secret place to those who have never done it.
Often unappreciated or looked down on, by a materialistic society that has, it sometimes seems, forgotten the impact of intelligent and capable home management on harmony within the family. And on the family health – physical, mental as well as emotional.
I write this post as a full time piano teacher with flexible working hours that give me time to be a homemaker. I actually work the same hours I did earlier when I had a corporate career, except that I now have no commute. Being self-employed gives me the freedom to work at timings that suit me and it has had a very positive impact on our ability to have family time and slow down the pace of todays busy life to the extent we need.
I’ve tried to be as clear and precise as I can with the time we need for chores, but I know I have not been as precise as I should be. I still thought it was writing this post, to throw some light on what home management and housework is. And the value that it creates for society.
So I hope you’ll be kind and forgive me for inaccuracies.
What parts of home management are not included here
- Paperwork and bills.
- Time on household and appliance repairs – done ourselves or outsourced.
- Time spent on childcare, education and parent-child activity and interaction – that is associated with raising independent well-behaved children with a practical, as well as formal education.
- Time spent on family commitments which might include any or all of the items of home management in this post.
- Time spent being a caregiver for family members.
- Stress saved with home-made cleaning and personal care products. They take some prep-time, but have reduced the weight and number of items I had to carry in groceries substantially, so I’m a lot more relaxed when shopping and spend less time on it. Time wise I’d say it’s not much of a difference.
- Who does the work isn’t factored in here. It’s just an assessment of the work that needs to be done. Maids are quicker at house work than I am but then, we organize and tidy our stuff before the maid arrives. Family, on the other hand, organizes while cleaning. So I think both take the same time.
We don’t have children, so I’ve skipped childcare.
For the other points above – it was really difficult for me to plot these aspects of home management over time, so I’ve left them out.
My Thoughts: The commitment to look after children and elderly might arise from love and caring, but IS very much an activity that takes an investment of time, effort and even skill and knowledge of the right kind of family activity – a walk, a game, a reading session, etc.
These are activities, that outsourced, are only as important as the content of the activity.
In the hands of a parent, they provide value over and above the activity as they provide a medium and time for family bonding. This added value is covered below, under ‘What is not housework’.
What is not housework
There has been some discussion on housework and home management on social media and it’s generated some confusion. I see that people confuse acts arising out of personal relationships, love, affection and caring with activities needed for the home and family to operate smoothly.
So, I’d like to be clear. Personal interactions and relationships are not home management. Therefore, they just don’t figure here.
Continued in my next post Tales Our Housework Tell Part 2 of 2
This second post plots changes our housework over the 22 years of our marriage. The events which drastically increased home chores. And those which brought tremendous ease.