Wednesday, July 28, 2010


A while ago, I was pointed to this article by another blog I read. Although the article talks about dads struggling with work/life balance, the sentence noticed by the particular blog was the following:

"When both husband and wife work outside the home, the woman spends about 28 hours a week on housework."

28 hours a week = 4 hours per day, 7 days per week on housework. The blog asked, Where do they spend all that time?

Now, most people think housework is cleaning, but re-reading the article, I think they're lumping cooking and child care in there with those 28 hours. When we do that sort of lumping, I easily spend more than 28 hours on housework.

Take last weekend, for example. After cleaning the kitchen floor, I played in the basement with Jonathan. He wanted to drive his trucks around, and I wanted the plastic lions to attack the trucks, which was only fun for so long -- for both of us. So after a half hour or so, I continued to supervise from the couch while he pulled out the space ships, and an hour later I woke up to Star Wars toys all over the basement, and one happy little boy still playing away. Child care. Quality child care by me, the mom. That plus the floor mopping adds up to nearly 3 hours that morning alone.

And I also get to count afternoons. Lately, Jonathan and I come home and play video games together in the afternoon. I resurrected Dance Dance Revolution, in my continuing quest for my 22 year old body. I play a round, he plays a round, I play a round. I get stars for housework and exercise at the same time. I think I count as a super parent.

And then Sunday. Sunday we all went to church as a family. If church doesn't count as housework, I don't know what does. And I've been making fruit leather. Each batch takes about 6-8 hours to dry. Three batches over the weekend and woah! I'm spending way way more than just 28 hours per week on housework. I'm spending way more than 28 hours per week on housework in just a single weekend.

Who are all those lazy moms who spend less?

Irrelevant fruit update: (for my own future reference)

I am still picking raspberries. Huge patches of them have dried and shriveled on the thorny bushes, but there are enough juicy ones still out there that I'm hauling in multiple pints every other day. But we're all pretty tired of raspberries, which means, I suppose, that there is an end in sight: We will simply abandon them very soon.

The cherries are done. All picked and dried and stored. Yes! Accomplishment.

The apricots are turning orange, and we've picked and eaten a few, and they've been really really good -- far better than anything I've found in a store recently. However, the tree is still covered with enough green fruit that we can't strip the thing yet. I'm guessing that will be this weekend's project.

However, lest you worry that with cherries finished and raspberries abandoned we will have no projects until the weekend, it turns out that a tree in the corner of the back yard produces summer apples. Last year it was empty, and so we thought perhaps it was decorative only, but no. This year it is covered in fruit. The fruit has grown large, turned from bright green to pale green, and has started falling off the tree. It is kind of a sweet-tart, and definitely ripe. And so we get to do apples now. Tim and I (mostly Tim) picked a huge cooler full of the fruit this evening, and he's really only removed about a third.

What are we going to do with all those summer apples?

To make the whole fruit compulsion thing worse, I've been reading a novel in which the moon is whacked out of orbit and the tides wipe out all coastal cities and volcanoes choke out the sun and kill off all crops and everyone is starving to death. Which makes me even more eager to pick and process and preserve all those apples so that we don't die when a giant asteroid really crashes into the moon. Except that if we only eat apple sauce for a year, we will surely suffer death by diarrhea. But we will be ok up until the bitter end, because recall we've got large quantities of apocalyptic toilet paper stored away for exactly such an event.

Irrelevant fruit update ended somewhere back there. (In case you were looking for that clue to pick up reading again.)

Anyway, picking apples and raspberries definitely counts as housework. We're up past 37 now since Friday. All this housework is exhausting. Off to bed.


Mark and Emily said...

You are such a great writer!

Letterpress said...

I'm exhausted, too, but also from putting away folding chairs and visiting with upteem wonderful relatives--one of them you.

It was good to see you. Never enough time. . .