I know I always talk about this. It's my way of proving to you that it really is an obsession. I just read another homemaking book called The Ultimate Career by Daryl Hoole. Like every homemaking/stay-at-home-mom/organization book I ever read it starts out inspiring me and ends up making me think, "People live like that?"
For example, there is a part about how you need to practice "selective neglect" when illness or a new baby slows you down. This is your minimum maintenance mode for emergencies when you only have time and strength to do 5 things on a daily basis. Hoole suggests "preparing simple meals, doing the laundry, picking up throughout the major rooms of the house, keeping the kitchen clean, and keeping the bathrooms clean." I don't mean to sound obtuse but, uh. . . what else is there? I'm lucky to keep up on those things when I'm operating at full capacity and with maids. Seriously. Oh Daryl Hoole, you make me laugh. I picture you as a cartoon moving at double speed. "Emergency! Emergency! Alert," your high-pitched robotic voice cries, "day one postpartum. All lace-making operations on hold. I repeat: Cease tatting until further notification."
Depending on my mood, I find this kind of book either infuriating (misogynistic rhetoric that keeps women guilt-ridden) or handy (menus!). Like I said, it depends on my mood. Over the three days I spent reading The Ultimate Career I found myself thinking her advice was pathetic, "Write down things you've already done on your To Do list so you can cross them off for a real energy boost!" Then I decided she was wonderful and I was pathetic because I don't use convenience food to my advantage. It was a real roller coaster.
She writes about how therapeutic scrubbing and kneading bread dough are and at once I thought, "Could it be true? Is housework a blessing?" Then I craved Del Taco and went off to find a handful of chocolate chips.
She mentioned that they have a rule in their house that whenever the mom makes a meal or treats for someone in the ward, some of it has to stay home to show the family that they come first and are just as important as the person their mom is serving. I can't stop thinking about this rule and how, when all is said and done, it's just way more work for the mom. I can relate to this because my mom was always making good things to take to other people and it was disappointing when it wasn't for us, but it didn't ruin my life. Not eating the brownies for the Young Women was about the only kind of restraint or self-sacrifice I practiced as a kid. It was good for me. Here's a thought: Why doesn't Dad bring home a gallon of ice cream so the neglected family won't get their feelings hurt while mom is out selfishly taking a meal to someone who, let's be honest about the type of people (new mom's excluded) who need meals in the ward, probably has fibromyalgia.
As a whole, I actually enjoyed this book. If you don't like your house duties but you have to do them anyway, you may as well think of them as sacred and life-affirming (if it makes you feel better). Hoole has some good ideas and encouraging quotes. There's all this buzz about showing your family love by cooking homemade things for them and setting a nice table. Part of me thinks this is probably true but another part of me knows for a fact that I enjoyed eating Totino's pizza right off the cutting board with my mom and sisters more than any pizza she ever made us from scratch. So. . . I'm not sure what to make of it.