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To list or not to list…

31 August, 2008

About a week ago I read a now-deleted post on Morning Ramble. Then I read a follow on post on Lentils and Rice (the blog no longer exists). The premise of the original post was that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers didn’t have a list of daily chores they had to do. They just did what needed to be done.

Robyn of Lentils and Rice suggests that we don’t have home-making instincts any more – well those of us who weren’t brought up with mothers who were full time home-makers. She writes:

The article compares us list-makers to corporate executives filling our fridges with goals, plans, and objectives. She writes it’s “as if we have no instinct as to what needs to be done.”

And, BINGO, that’s exactly right.

Most of us have no homemaking instincts, anymore, that’s why we need lists to help us.

. Patty of Morning Ramble made a great comment on Robyn’s post, saying:

My point was, when the floor is dirty you can see it, when the dust is thick you can see it, when meals need to be cooked you cook them. I think many ladies today are just simply afraid they will miss something and depend less on instinct than maybe a few generations ago.

I am not the perfect home-maker. Some things do get forgotten occasionally. I’m chronic at forgetting to water my plants, for example. Without the routine I have now I would forget to change the sheets and towels as often as they should be changed. However, I don’t need that written down, I just know that, for example, Wednesday I usually wash sheets. I don’t need anything written down for that. I don’t wash all the sheets every Wednesday. I was whichever beds need washing. Most of the time each bed will get fresh sheets every fortnight. That seems to work for our family and our sheets aren’t smelly! There has been some need for lists and routines in the past as I worked out what needed to be done in a home. A posted routine can also help when I am unable to do all the housework myself, such as after our babies were born. However, these days I don’t really seem to need to refer to the list. My DH will attest to the fact that my house is not always tidy, however no amount of list-making is going to fix that. It’s not generally a matter of not following or having a list, it’s a matter of having a sick child or an unusually busy day or a teething baby or a family crisis. It’s a matter of occasionally abandoning the housework in favour of a day spent at the park or painting with the kids or reading books. Sometimes it’s just a matter of forgetting that I can’t get as much done in a short space of time now that I have a little baby. It’s never a matter (these days) of not knowing what needs to be done.

Is anyone any less of a home-maker because they make lists? No way! I think it just shows that we all have different personalities. Make lists if they help you. Post a routine and have a home management binder if it helps you. Take it all as it comes and live your life intuitively if it works for you. Just don’t be afraid to change if what you’re doing isn’t working for you right now!

And on a related note, let’s be gentle with ourselves and each other. Don’t assume a blogger is criticising you and your way of life because they are different. We all share our own thoughts and journeys.

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