Monday, July 10, 2006

Day 10: What's more work than cleaning the bathroom?

When came out with their estimate that stay-at-home moms would make more than $130,000 if they were to earn a salary, there was a lot of hullabaloo about how accurate that number really was.

But what caught my attention was the calculation that an average stay-at-home mom did 21 hours of housework each week, three time that of a working mom. Now, I’ve been known to fall into this trap myself. I set a certain standard of cleanliness I expect for my house and it’s hard to let it slide back into the husband/kid-infested mess that’s the inevitability of having a family.

This no-car experiment has meant more time in transit, aka less time for vacuuming. So things are not as tidy as, say, three weeks ago. It’s been hard for me to turn a blind eye to the pile of dirty clothes shoved in the corner of the bathroom, but I do what I can.

But there’s a lesson for all the suburban housewives cleaning their bathroom tiles with a toothbrush each week. It is not necessary for you to spend half a workweek cleaning your house. The kitchen floor will become sticky. The beds will not always be made. The dog hair might stick to your couch a little.

Who cares? Get out and walk. Walk to the store. Walk to the playground. Talk to your neighbors. Plant a garden. Just leave your house.

If you live in the exurbs and have no place in particular to walk, walk around your neighborhood peaking into your neighbors’ houses.

On second thought, if you’re in the exurbs you probably have a housekeeper, and shame on you anyway for moving so far away. should deduct a portion of your pretend salary for selfishness.


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