Thursday, 26 July 2012

Am I really too busy for housework?

So many Mummies I know these days avoid ironing like the plague.  It is much considered to be a waste of time when there are so many other things to do in this short life of ours. So many are also lucky enough to be able to afford a cleaner who prevents them having to carry out most of the daily drudgery of keeping house.

I recall my own mother in rubber gloves more often than not .  She was always cleaning and frequently found ironing.  She had far more children than me.  This got me to thinking about how we (me) are all so busy these days.  And certainly too busy for housework.

What do mothers of this generation do with all this time that technology has given us?  It should now be quicker to vacuum, iron and clean than ever before.  We have elasticated sheets for the beds, washing machines with quicker spins, even tumble dryers if we choose.  Other lucky people (yes, I'm still bitter!) have dishwashers which prevent them being tied to the kitchen sink all evening as well.

Is it really down to Twitter, Facebook and Mumsnet?  That we fritter away our valuable time instead?  

I wonder whether some of it is because our local shops are no longer a few minutes down the road.  We have a round trip of half an hour's travel time just to get to the supermarket. 

It can take hours, if not days to renew the car insurance, home insurance and get cheaper energy bills.  We are now able to sort out our own banking online, at a time that suits us, but is it quicker than it used to be to pop into the local branch?  We have to keep all our own paperwork for our own pensions, ISAs, mortgages, etc. and take time to file them all away.  Our houses are bigger than they used to be in many cases.  An ensuite and downstairs loo all sound great until you realise that you have to find time to clean them all.  

Even booking a holiday online can take several days of your life to book as you compare prices, research destinations and compare seat space on the airlines available.  Sometimes I hanker for the opportunity to walk into the travel agent, give them my requirements and go back the next day to pay and pick up tickets.  Of course, this option is available and I would take it except for the fact that I believe I can find it a lot cheaper online.  

If I charged out my 'free time' though for all these activities, I wonder how much money it would cost?  I wonder how much less stressed (ignore the poorer part) I would be if I could just hand over the regular stuff to a willing and competent PA?  I'd no doubt be able to sack the cleaner (I don't have one right now to sack as can't afford one, but you get the idea) as I'd have more time on my hands.  I'd have more time in the evenings too.  I could maybe even take up a hobby instead of plodding through the ironing.

So, the question is: Am I too busy?  Or just too busy for housework?


  1. Modern life does seem to add a huge amount of work just to the business of existing.

    I've noticed that if I'm doing housework or cooking, there is a general air of busy-ness around, and the children are often content. If I'm on the computer comparing insurance quotes, or whatever it is, they feel neglected and are attention-seeking. So maybe more housework and less "life-work" would be good for family contentment. Just a thought. I enjoyed this post.

  2. I think you could be right. A computer or phone does take your attention away much more than cooking, cleaning, etc. Kids can pick up on this much more than we realise I think.

    Less 'life-work' would be great! Have just bought a filing cabinet today as we seem to be overrun with bank statements, insurance details, pension details, etc. Am sure previous generations never had all this paperwork to do themselves. 'Filing' is a once a month job that takes two of us over an hour. Something you used to get paid to do in an office!