Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Lessons from the home front
- Our week as a Nielsen family
- Stop throwing money out the windows
- Point/Counterpoint gets a makeover
- All too quick to judge
From the RoundTable blog
Young women are pursuing degrees in housewifery at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am not paying their tuition bills, so as much as it aggrieves me to do so, I will bite my tongue.
Then I got to engaging in that dangerous past-time for a woman -- thinking. If they desire an education in this discipline, perhaps I could, within the course framework, offer lessons their school is sure to skip.
I will do this because, like most women my age, I am immensely qualified.
Granted, I only keep house part time and partway, but to reassure you of my credentials, here's last weekend's résumé:
Washed six loads of laundry, cleaned the house (OK, maybe just the downstairs) and the car, dropped the dog at the groomer's, brushed the twigs out of the cat's fur, took an overly picky child shopping for clothes and a Halloween costume, cheered her cheerleading, made no fewer than three trips to the grocery store, sorted through school assignments, signed permissions slips for lord knows what, paid a couple of bills, gave some serious thought to yard work, and oh, yes, baked 20 dozen cookies -- all of this after falling and twisting an ankle.
Need I go on?
Surely no one makes it to college today without having been home schooled into the wash-day miracle that squirts out of a bottle of Shout. And if you haven't said hello yet to the Tide to Go stick, then let me introduce you to your new best friend. Tuck one of these in your mom purse with the waterless hand sanitizer, Neosporin, Band-Aids and tissues.
Colorfast and forgiving fabrics have made it difficult for even the most inattentive of homemakers to pull less than a "C" in laundry, but beware of two pitfalls:
First, while fabric makers have figured out how to make washable suede (bless 'em), they have yet to discover a cure for the common crayon. You mustn't panic if you wash one of these. Save the terror for when you dry one. Sorry, but even the Maytag man isn't going to be of help.
To avoid this failure, ban crayons from your home -- even so-called washable ones. Reconsider only if Crayola invents dryable ones.
Second, no matter how careful you are at keeping the pets at bay while sorting laundry, there will come the day when the doorbell rings unexpectedly. While you walk toward the door, the cat will hop on top of a pile, the dog will dive in after him and emerge victoriously with your panties clutched in his jaw. He will then rush to greet your visitor.
Should this happen, please do not allow embarrassment to paralyze you with an open door. You must stop the dog before he bolts and buries your unmentionables in the neighbor's yard.
You may wish to sew matching dresses and suits for your little ones or knit a handsome sweater for your sweetie. This is fine. But here's a clothing construction secret that Southwestern probably won't warn 20-year-olds about.
Know those mom jeans? They are in your future. Sure, you say you'd never buy roomy-in-the-seat-and-thigh jeans that taper to the ankles. Wouldn't be caught at a soccer game in them.
Well, don't bet your secret meatball recipe on this one.
Some day you will wake up, pull on your jeans and find that no matter how hip the style, they will, as they do now, conform to your body. And what shape will you now have? One that's extra roomy in the seat and tapers to the ankles. A mom body.
On this day, those of you who formerly complained you could dye your hair purple, wear a burlap sack and your husband would say, "Honey, you look fine," will finally appreciate that being unobservant or blind is a highly rated quality in a mate.
This is not my area of expertise, but I do have this advice:
Don't get hung up in putting the exact recipe ingredients into a dish. It'll only slow you down and zap all the surprise out of the finished meal.
Anyone who doesn't like what showed up on the table knows where the cereal is kept.
The pizza boy belongs on speed dial.
Most important, keep a secret stash of good chocolate on the top shelf.
Value of a Child
While you are sitting in class dreaming of your children-yet-to-come, you will wonder how anyone could question the value of a child.
You will need to hold this thought during the morning-litany-yet-to-come: Wake up, brush your teeth, wash your face, eat your breakfast, you're not wearing that, go change, not that either, where are your shoes, your backpack, your homework, can't you ever put things away, why didn't you say your science project was due today, how could you forget, I don't care if every kid in the school uses the vending machine, stand still, stop pouting, your face is going to freeze that way, you're going to be late, don't give me that look, have a nice day.
Lively Dinner-Time Conversation
Traud is a member of The Roanoke Times editorial board.