Those of you who have dropped in on me unexpectedly from time to time know that I am not Ms. Suzy Homemaker. And those who know me well know that I am a master at placing blame for my inefficiencies on other people. Well, I have always blamed my messy housekeeping on my mother. I was always the “outside” worker in my family. It was my job to help in the garden, mow the grass – feed and water the animals, etc. My mother didn’t particularly enjoy housekeeping either so we had a house cleaner, Miss Josie, who came in on Saturdays - and it took us the rest of the week to find what she did with all our stuff.
I can remember going for sleepovers at friend’s houses and we all had to pitch in to wash the dinner and breakfast dishes. I very rarely had to do that at home . The dishes just always seemed to get magically washed sometime between bedtime and breakfast. On Saturday mornings, under stern instructions from Miss Josie, I did have to pick up my room and put all the dirty laundry in the hamper. “Girl - you ought’a be ashamed o’ yourself, piling up those dirty clothes like that – don’t yore mama teach you nothin’!” I can just hear her say it now. So logically, it was my mother’s fault for not teaching me to clean house.
But recently I had a revelation, which I have quite often now that I’m retired. Not the Biblical kind of revelation but like the revelation of realizing that the job you held for almost 30 years will not crash just because you left – or like the revelation that not working means you can’t spend as much money – you know, those minor little things. Well, anyway, it hit me that I only lived in my Mom and Dad’s house for 18 years and I have lived in my own for 45.
Children do learn by observing the adults in their lives. But we have plenty of time in our adult lives to learn what we need to know. Maybe I’m just a slow learner. Whose fault is it anyway that I haven’t learned how to keep a clean, organized house? You’re off the hook Mama - and you did teach me how to love, laugh and be a good mother so you did OK!