Housework is dangerous.

This morning as I wiped the dust off the top of my bedside table, I thought about how much I really don’t like dusting. Or mopping. Or scrubbing toilets. Or washing windows. Pretty much all housework.

What are these for and why do I have them?

“Where does all this dust come from?” I asked myself, collecting a dust bunny from the floor with the toe of my stocking foot. I look forward to Halloween so that I can declare that cobwebs are an intentional part of my holiday decor.

It wasn’t so bad when I was a child. Every Saturday, my mom had a list of jobs we kids could choose from, and I liked cleaning the bathroom the best. I scrubbed with Clorox powder, and there was something about making the white porcelain tub sparkle that I found rewarding.

After my three little brothers went to bed, I’d sometimes grab a broom and sweep the crumbs off the kitchen floor (without being asked). A family of eight tended to drop food under the dinner table at a must-sweep-every-night rate, and I felt good when I could see the difference that simple task made.

Another regular job at our house when I was growing up was folding laundry, especially back in the days when my twin brothers wore cloth diapers. There was something about folding soft, warm-from-the-dryer diapers into orderly stacks that was kind of peaceful and comforting for me.

I do give my mom and dad permission to refute any of the above claims of me helping with housework, because I also remember that I learned to avoid cleaning up after dinner by practicing the piano. My memory tells me that my mom enjoyed hearing the piano so she didn’t mind my ducking out of that chore.

My daughter thought housecleaning was fun when she was little.

Why is it a game for children and a chore for adults?



Be careful if your little ones “help” fold laundry. One morning while my oldest daughter sat on the floor next to the laundry basket, she picked up a washcloth and started biting on it, the way teething babies do. Suddenly I realized she was choking, as she had pulled off a label and it was stuck in her throat. Thankfully, I knew infant CPR and was able to turn her upside down and dislodge that tag.

See? Housework is dangerous.

I hurt my back one time vacuuming, too. That was about 20 years ago, but, hey, it could happen again.

A bright person can always think of something better to do than housework.

Ruby Lou Barnhill

I don’t even know who Ruby Lou Barnhill is, but I like her.

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