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Cleaning and Dreaming Together

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Let's look at the saying "A woman’s work is never done." If by "woman" they mean “mother” and if by “mother” they mean, well, "servant", then, no it isn't ever, ever done. If by "woman", they mean “corporate executive” or “free-spirited artist” then I suppose her work still is ever incomplete as there are books to balance and campaigns to run, canvasses to cover and symphonies to orchestrate.

But what about that most mundane of work which historically fell into the quaint category of “women’s work?” What about housecleaning?

In a recent sociological study (my own) I found that many, many two person or less households employ people on a regular basis to clean their homes. By two people or less I mean perhaps it is a couple or even a single person.

Many families with loads of boisterous children also employ cleaning people and that seems to make sense; in fact, it all makes sense if you think about it. Who wants to scrub a toilet?

But here’s a little insight, perhaps to be scoffed at or deemed extremely silly, and therefore just a little humming thought for my own head. Nevertheless, it is my personal experience that cleaning with others can be a bonding experience that not only gets the job done, but can reaffirm your aspirations as home or apartment renters or owners, lovers, roommates or family members, community members living in the same little microcosm of a world, sharing a dream together.

Many hands make light work is another old expression and this one goes without explanation; the more of you there are the faster and lighter the workload.
But there’s another element to this lightness. It means that you’re sharing a common goal together. If you clean your home with the people you live with, you can have incredible epiphanies, such as “Gosh, where has this Elton John CD been for five years?” or “The more I think about it, I really can’t stand this shade of puce for the sofa…” and so forth.

At times there are even more dramatic awakenings such as: “I actually have a dream of blowing out this wall and turning this whole bathroom into a shower…” or “Did you know this house makes me think about moving to Buenos Aires someday?”

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Aimee

You know, I was in disagreement here (probably because I clean alone because no-one will help me) until I remembered a couple of months ago we were cleaning the inside windows. We had to get a ladder into the foyer so I could get up to the big ledge area by the central window where people often place fake plants (ie; dust gatherers) so I could vacuum up there, wash the window and the antique trunk and small suitcases we display up there.

All was well until I tried to get down. I'm afraid of heights and get dizzy (yes, I have skydived, bungee jumped and paraglided and heights still freak me out, even if it's just up a ladder!) so I took a step to get off the ledge and got too scared and sat on the ledge saying I was going to stay there all day. My husband was laughing and my three kids were upstairs, looking through the spindles, snickering their heads off at the entertainment. I got annoyed and sent them to their rooms but then told them to come back out because despite my situation, their amusement made me laugh!

I finally got down after several attempts and a few shrieks, and everyone clapped. The kids still say "hey Mom, remember you got stuck on the ledge and got all mad because everyone was laughing?" and we end up laughing about it again. Silly stuff but it'll be a good memory for them when they're older.

Thanks for this post, it made me laugh again :)

May 17, 2011 - 8:50am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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