The ever-fabulous Peggy Bundy
"What do you do?"
"I'm a housewife."
"Oh, you don't work then. That must be nice."
I'm not sure how many of you are at-home wives or mothers, but if any of you are, do you get sick of the "you don't work" comments? I certainly do. In fact I get quite arsy about it now. I used to just smile or giggle out of awkwardness, but now I just say in a very loud clear voice, "I do work. I'm a housewife."
So for all those people who have sarcastically asked "but what do you do all day?", here is what I did today.
I was up by 5:45am. If I want to shower or do my hair or put make-up, I have to get up before S and K, otherwise they just won't give me any peace. They'll be trying to get in the shower or delving into my make-up case and generally jabbering away at me before I've had enough coffee for it to make sense.
By 6am I am cleaning and tidying the downstairs rooms. I really should be organised enough that I don't have to but I'm always too tired to tidy up after Mr H and I before bed, and it saves me having to do it later on. I put away all the crap we left out, hand washed the mugs from the night before, emptied the dishwasher, pouffed up the sofa cushions, dusted the shelves, wiped down the kitchen, swept the floors, set the breakfast table and put the baby's nappies on to wash. I also cooked breakfast. Since the start of this little experiment, I have been making a hot breakfast every day. (Can you hear Mr H cheering from over there?) Today we had warm croissants, scrambled eggs and crispy bacon with coffee and orange juice. Mmmmm.
At 7am I iron D, S and Mr H's shirts and blouse for work/school so that they are nice and warm when they put them on and I lay out everybody's clothing. I wake Mr H with coffee in bed, wake the kids and, after at least twenty minutes of shouting and threatening with cold flannels, everyone eventually gets out of bed. I supervise S washing, brushing her teeth and getting dressed in her school uniform, then wash, change and dress baby K. Finally I brush their hair and put it up in ribbons. Then we go downstairs to eat.
By 8am I clear the table and load the dishwasher. D had swimming at school today so I also packed him a lunch and his swim kit. S has a temperature so I change her back into her pyjamas, give her Calpol, put her quilt on the sofa and snuggle her up for the morning.
At 8:30am I throw Mr H and D out of the door to drive and walk to work/school, making sure that they have all security badges, glasses, keys, lunches, coats, hats, sports kits, letters, homework etc etc etc. Normally I would be leaving the house with K to walk S to school just afterwards but not today.
Monday is laundry day, so at 9am I start the washing. It was raining this morning so I put the rotary washing line up in the playroom next to the portable radiator and hang the nappies out to dry. I strip the beds and put the linens in to wash followed by a load of pinks and a load of darks after that. And even after four loads of laundry, the washing pile is hardly dented. I have no idea how I end up with so much laundry, all the time.
By 10am K is bored with 'helping' me and S has woken up from her nap so I make a pot of tea for us, along with a couple of slices of fruit cake and some biscuits for the girls. There are always homemade cakes and biscuits in my cupboards, just because I love to bake and it gives me a good excuse to buy more and more cake and biscuit tins. (I think at last count I had about ten or twelve.)
After tea S is feeling much better and wants to play, so put some Dean Martin on and whilst they're Hey Mambo-ing, I go make the beds, tidy the bedrooms (what do the kids do in there?) and scrub Mr H's stubble off every. single. bathroom. surface.
With the house clean, I was free to play with the kids. Today we danced around the living room, then we drew pictures of each other and S wrote our names on each drawing. She's getting really good too.
After a break for lunch, we had quiet time when we cuddled up on the beanbags and read books, today was Cinderella and The Three Little Pigs. After that I needed to roast the pumpkin and the chicken ready for dinner, so I got out the building blocks and left the girls to build a princess castle, which very quickly collapsed into a game of 'lets see how high we can build it and how much noise it will make when we knock it down'.
Since they were playing so 'quietly' I took some time for myself. I packed up a parcel of goodies to send to a friend in the US and then made myself another pot of tea and started knitting a pair of shortie gloves from the fabulous pattern book Mr H bought me.
D is normally home by 3pm and we get to have a good old natter before I have to start cooking dinner, but he had a club until 4pm today so instead we gossiped whilst I cooked and set the table. Tonight we had roast pumpkin soup for starter followed by roast chicken with sweetcorn, mashed potato and gravy. Now I never used to do starters but I've been doing it for just over a week (ever since the pink eggs) and it has been a huge success. For pudding we had Mr H's favourite - homemade treacle tart and custard.
Then at 5:30pm, I make sure the house is tidied up, hose down the children and I change into clean dress. I make Mr H a cocktail and put out his slippers ready for when he arrives. It may seem silly but he works very hard in a very stressful job, and it gives me great joy knowing that I can make him feel appreciated in such a stereotypical 50s housewife way
When Mr H comes home we eat dinner. We always start each dinnertime with our 'thankfuls', which is a little like saying grace. We go around the table, youngest to oldest, and we have to find at least one thing about our day that we are thankful for. Today I was thankful for S feeling better and being so well behaved, and D doing what he felt was right even though it meant standing against the crowd. After we've finished eating, I clear and wipe down the table, load the dishwasher again, sweep the floor and clean the kitchen surfaces. Then I sat down with D to help him with his maths homework. Normally Mr H would help him (maths is more his thing) or play with S and K whilst I help, but he came home from work with a horrid headache, so I put some cartoons on for the girls and sent him off to bed.
At 8pm I start the bedtime routine. I set out warm milk and bananas for each of the children and once they have finished, I brush their hair, wash their faces, brush their teeth, change them into their pyjamas and read them a story. Cinderella again. S gets tucked into bed and I try rock K to sleep with a lullaby, which doesn't really work very well as S won't stay in bed for love nor money and keeps coming to the stairs saying she's thirsty, needs to pee, can't sleep, too hot, too cold, you know the drill. But by 10pm K is asleep in her cot, S has finally given up and gone to sleep, D is in bed asleep and I have the house to myself. Phew!
Now, I don't think that I am Wonder Woman or Martha Stewart. I still check in on the dreaded facebook (not very 1950's I know), my house always looks like a bomb has hit it and I never seem to get to the bottom of the laundry basket.
I am just an average housewife and mother. I do the same as every other housewife and mother. I WORK!
Mrs H x