Montreal Daily Star, 22 April 1911, page 4

 

THE MONOTONY OF HOUSEWORK

 

A friend, who was temporarily doing her own work, said to me the other day, “It’s the deadly monotony of it I cannot stand.  Washing dishes three times a day.” Thinking this over afterwards it came to me that we must not let the monotony of it get on our nerves.  We must show that mind is superior to matter.  And then I thought of the thousands of women in this Dominion of ours doing housework, some for themselves, for their own families, others working for wages.  And it came to me that perhaps a few personal thoughts on housework might help these sisters of mine.  In the first place there is always the pride of work well done.  Anyone who does any work, if it is only sweeping a room, should take a pride in doing it in the very best possible way.  There is in everything in life a best way of doing things and the woman who does housework should always aim for the best.  Thousands of women go on sweeping rooms the wrong way, and thousands go on washing dishes the wrong way, and thousands go on doing other household tasks the wrong way.  They take no interest, no pride, in their work and consequently it is a bore while doing, and not a credit when done.  There is to me something intensely satisfactory in getting that great collection of soiled dishes all together, scraping them, sorting out silver and china and glass, putting the knives all at one side, then beginning with the glass and plenty of hot water, and going systematically through the lot.  What a glow of pleasure comes over one when they are all clean and shining, all ready for another pleasant family meal!  And while this is being done the mind need not be occupied with the dishes.  Duties done often and well soon become second nature and no thought is needed in the doing.  The mind is at leisure to wander where it will.  And what joy and what gain an active mind can garner in these hours of so-called monotonous work.  There is the recent sermon or lecture that has been heard from which germs of thought have been garnered in.  The writer recently heard a beautiful sermon on Charles Kingsley, and that was a subject fruitful of thought.  Or the mind might stray these bright spring mornings on Nature, on flowers and on birds.  While washing the breakfast dishes a whole garden can be planned, crocuses in that shady corner, tulips along the border, showy peonies and sweet rose-buses, and gay nasturtiums, and so on, ad infinitum.  And this thinking of flowers brings up all the lovely things that have been written about gardens and flowers.  Did space permit, I should tell you about some of them.  Ah, no, work should never be monotonous.  Any work which has to be done is worth doing with a heart and a will; and work which can be done mechanically leaves the mind free to roam where it listeth.  Every woman should be able to say:

“My mind to me a kingdom is,

Such perfect joy therein I nad”

AC

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