Monday, August 4, 2008

Yesterday's News

While reading the paper yesterday, I discovered that sociologists and family relations experts (whatever they are) have coined a term to describe the housekeeping standards of today’s working women: “clean enough.” As one Kansas City, MO, woman explained it, her house is “clean enough to be healthy, dirty enough to be happy.” This, it seems, is an inevitable compromise for women who spend as much time working outside the home as their husbands do, and who think that quality time with their children and spouse, or even time to read or exercise, is more important than being able to bounce quarters off bed sheets or to see themselves reflected in shiny chrome bathroom fixtures.

But this “clean enough” theory has opposition. The husbands, you think?

You’d be wrong. It’s the mothers and grandmothers of these poor, stretched-to-the-limit women, the ones who scrubbed the toilet every day, had no dust bunnies under their sofas, and raised the level of spring cleaning to religious ritual, who stand in condemnation, who are aghast at the thought of their grandchildren being raised in homes where they can write their names on the tabletops, who cannot understand how their daughters and granddaughters can abandon the feminine mystique and stoop to such dusty depths.

A woman from Indiana overcame the problem by hiring her own mother to clean her house. It gives her mother extra spending money, the woman explained, and she gains a clean house and a little peace.

Well, I’ll never get a spotless house that way. Both my mom and I have been living by the “clean enough” theory for a long time.

We’d like our houses to be cleaner, though. Anybody got a mom who needs a few bucks?

(From “Clean enough: The new standard for housekeeping” by Federica Narancio, Arkansas Democrat Gazette 2A, Sunday, August 03, 2008)

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