So the 1950s Housewife Life continues. This week was much like last week. I kept up with the daily cleaning, deep cleaned two rooms, and made some discoveries along the way. OH YES, and a pandemic broke. More on that later.
Overall, my perception is starting to change and I think I’m beginning to see things like my tidy-person spouse does naturally. Case in point, I looked at this sink, and thought, unironically, “The dishes are really starting to pile up, ugh!”
Things are getting sparkling around here. I did the basic daily cleaning (dust/sweep/tidy) every weekday and did the deeper weekly cleaning in the kitchen and living room. AHB suggests I should be able to deep clean every room in two days, but that wasn’t quite do-able. I suspect that once every room has been deep cleaned, future cleaning sessions will be shorter.
No one can be dogmatic about the daily cleaning of various rooms in the house. So many things influence the amount of work that can be done–the quantity of dust or soot in the air, for example, the philosophy of first things first, the number of rooms that must be cleaned, the size of the family, the age of the children, and the help or lack of it that the homemaker has.
…[W]e set before you an ideal. How nearly you can approach this ideal, especially as to daily cleaning, we cannot know.
America’s Housekeeping Book, 1941
Me neither, AHB. Me. Neither.
Just as it would be silly to take Martha Stewart as the prototypical homemaker of today, looking to the home management books and magazines as an “authentic” guide to what every homemaker did in the mid 20th century is a mistake. As our pal, the AHB tells us, we’re talking about ideals. The mere fact that all these manuals exist speaks to the fact that “how to housewife” was not universal knowledge.
Here is the secret: The reason I knit so much is that I watch way too much television. I have made the deal with myself that if I am knitting, or otherwise fixing/making something, it isn’t rotting my brain.
The other reason I knit so much is that I can’t afford fancy vintage reproduction sweaters. Here’s what I’ve finished up lately. You’ll notice that all of it is from free patterns, and all of it is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes. This is coincidental. I have other yarn, I swear.
When everything in the modern world is focused on convenience, and “hacks,” and recipes that take 30 minutes, there’s something to be said for slowing down every once in awhile. Tedious projects give us the chance to build our concentration, unplug from the frenetic pace around us, and test the depth and variety of our vocabulary of curse words.
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