Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Clean-up Duties?

Today's post  celebrates "National Housewife's Day"...yes November 3rd is National Housewife's Day.
Now in case you think the above picture is common in my household....well, don't hold your breath.

As the holidays approach, so do all the logistics for the occasions.  There is shopping, cleaning, preparing the meals, decorating and after all the celebration...clean-up.  In most households, (I know there are a few that don't fit this pattern), these magical events are orchestrated by the women of the family.  In my male- dominated household, you can probably guess which arena we fall into....well, I fall into.

I love preparing. I love decorating.  I love setting too many dishes on the table.  I enjoy cooking and all the adventure leading up to preparing the day's menu.  I love being creative......................but I don't enjoy the clean-up.  There, the counter tops are filled with all those beautiful glasses, silver, chargers, salad plates, dinner plates, coffee cups, dessert plates, serving dishes and cooking utensils waiting for me to attack.  I have been known to do them in sessions....one load in the dishwasher (yes, grateful for this wonderful, modern day appliance)...wait...another load...hand-wash, drip-dry..... and then round four into the dishwasher.  This will usually eat up the rest of the evening and part of the next day.

Saturday, my mother jumped up from the table and began washing the dishes....(the picture above is us years ago...and again we stood side by side, getting the cleaning done).  She had been the guest of honor so I protested.  Her reply, "I ate, didn't I?"  Then she laughed.  She said, "Don't you remember your grandmother never washed dishes?  She cooked and we cleaned.  She felt if you ate, then you cleaned!"  I had to nod because I was one of many grand kids who always made their way to the kitchen after each meal to clean.  My grandmother always prepared a great meal for us all to enjoy and we were assigned clean-up duty.

Another family friend had these guidelines for their family holiday clean-ups.  The family was evenly matched boys and girls (still is even to this day).  The females decorated and cooked.  When the meal was finished, the women went walking while men stayed to totally clean-up from the meal.  I mean totally clean-up...nothing remained undone when we came back from our walk...we were guests one year.

How do you handle clean-up duties?  Are they different in your in-law's house or the same?  How do you handle them when they are in your home?  Do you wait to be asked to help or do you automatically help your hostess?

Even cleaning up can become a wonderful tradition filled with sweet memories.  I never remember resenting the time all of us cousins spent in the kitchen....now I am not sure how good of job we did...but we did create memories. I remember watching my Grandmother, Mom and all of my aunts enjoying conversation during meal preparation.  I remember the load being shared, therefore, making it easier for the hostess not to be totally worn out.  The work of our hands does bring joy and a sense being a part of each holiday memory.

If you don't know what a "housewife" is worth these days...read last year's post... see (housewife).

32 Joining in with more words:

Debbie said...

Happy Housewife's Day! I didn't know!

At my house, my husband does most of the clean up. Not only do I hate it, but he is also really annoying when he gets in his Mr. Clean mode.

It was actually a problem when the girls were growing up because I felt that he was ruining them for the future if he/we didn't require them to do it. He had to learn to be less impossible to please.

Yep. I just yakked abroad his major flaw. The man is nearly perfect, but he is completely ANNOYING in the kitchen.

Maryann said...

I attended one Thanksgiving dinner at a friends house where all the post meal tasks were put on slips of paper and put into a hat. Prior to the meal you drew your "cleanup" job. Among the tasks were clearing the table, putting food away, washing dishes, drying dishes, putting the dishes away etc. (we had about twenty people) Each job was put in the hat twice so you worked in teams. To make it more interesting there were two pieces of paper in the hat that said, you get to rest and relax. It ended up being quite fun (and yes the guys enjoyed it too, they liked the idea of competing for the rest and relax paper)

Debbie said...

Good morning! Why do I love these kind of posts, haha??!

When I was growing up it was a girls do it all kind of feel. Someone unlucky one hosted and did all the cooking, and decorating and preparation. The families coming brought an item like pies, salad, or rolls. The clean up was AGAIN all women and this included everyone who was old enough to dry a dish without breaking it. haha I remember it being fun for the younger girls, but somewhat of a nightmare for the older women. They always seems tense and exhausted. They men would be watching football with their pants unsnapped, and then demanding pie as we were putting the last dish away and we would start all over again. Soooo, when I married and began holiday dinners at my house I told my hubby how it had gone and he said it had been identical at his house and he had always felt it was unfair. So everything is pretty much a "don't matter what sex you are" kind of deal. I pretty much did most of the cooking, but my hubby was always an extra pair of hands when I needed them, and so were Mel & James when they were old enough. The older two HATED to cook, so I always put them to work doing dishes. We ALL worked on the clean up. No one was done till everyone was done was the rule when the holidays were at our house (and most of them were) All of my DIL's thank me now as my guys totally do kitchen work without even really thinking about it. If you eat, you clean, is what they grew up with too, haha. These days, with my knees I don't know what I'd do without my hubby. He does sooo much on these occasions. However my dil's and Mel chase me from the kitchen too, haha. I cook, and everyone is happy with that. Sorry I wrote a book...told you I love these questions. btw, I love Maryann's answer! Have a good day. HUGS

BTW, I have been praying for you. Not sure why but the Lord has put you on my heart. Hope all is fine!

Marcia said...

Wow, never heard of it. Wouldn't that be every day? ;)
I used to cry over dish duty when my mom looked in my direction after dinner. I did so even in front of a boyfriend one time. hahahaha
I'm pretty much on my own when it comes to washing dishes. Yeah, I get help sometimes but I'm the one with the title hanging over my head. ;) I laugh though because their day is coming. Muahahahaha.
Happy housewife day!!

Farm Girl said...

We have a day??? I am so going to use this today, don't you think we need a bunch of flowers or lunch like they do on bosses day. Though I might settle for a new can of Ajax. :)
As far as I can remember I have always done dishes. Now with the girls and babies I still do them because well, they need to rest. :)
I do have to say though, my whole family steps in and everyone does something so it really isn't to bad and I try and get as many dishes washed before we even sit down to dinner so that clean up is a snap.
I have a nice kitchen with bar stools around the bar and it is all open so everyone stands or sits at the tables all around me so it works out pretty well.
I think the worst part about holidays when I was a teenager is my aunts always brought these dishes with burned on food and I would scrub for hours. My Mom finally got tired of it and just started putting their dishes in grocery bags and sending them home dirty.
That helped a bunch.

Sally said...

I'm a 'cleaner' which works well because my husband is a 'cook'. I'm wiping until I see a sparkle. I got the clean-gene from my mother..ergo..that's what I grew up with.

I'm all about making it a party, though, and enjoying the fun doing something together brings.

camp and cottage living said...

I love the photos and the memories you've shared!
I didn't realize it was National Housewife Day, but I am very busy
doing my duties today. I'm switching out the summer to winter clothes, packing for a short trip, and cleaning my MIL's camp house!
How much is that worth?

e-Mom said...

What a timely post!!! When we were first married and both working outside the home, I cooked and e-Dad did the dishes (no dishwasher in those days). Even now, he shoos me out of the kitchen and out of his way.

Our kids did loaded the dishhwasher when they were growing up, because, of course, I cooked. (Now they are both "gourmets" much to my delight!)

I tend to cook and clean-up as I go, so there's really not much of a mess afterward anyway. No one has ever complained about doing the dishes, thankfully!

Happy National Housewife Day! Love your photos, Janette!

camp and cottage living said...

I'm back to answer the questions!
The clean up is the same as in my MIL's house. We all offer to help in the kitchen clean up, no matter who's house we are in.
I do have a good friend who we dine with often. Neither of us allows the other to help do dishes. We enjoy one anothers company, then my husband and I do kitchen clean up after they have gone home.

Vee said...

We all join in and clean up together. Loved seeing your vintage photos of your grandmother and your mother and little girl, you. I certainly appreciate that my husband doesn't mind doing dishes.

RetroRocketGal said...

Interesting. The only family members we get together with are my husband's sister and her husband. We have an arrangement worked out, since neither one of us feels comfortable working in another's kitchen: when she is at my house, I wait on her; whey I am at her house, she waits on me. We like our arrangement. When I am at somebody else's house, however, I pitch in to clean without asking or being asked. They can always tell me no. At my house, unless it is with guests that are practically like family, I prefer that guests not help, because it really distracts me. I spend more time telling them where to put the dishes than fellowshiping and that makes me nervous. But, that's just me. Lots of people have good fellowship cleaning together.

Christine said...

This is a hard question to answer for me. I usually do the cooking when we have guests or family. But my husband loves to do dishes. Well he preps the dishes for me, to finish after everyone has left.

(didn't have a MIL, it would of been fun to know how she did things)

Love that it's Happy Housewife Day!

Crown of Beauty said...

Well, Janette, you did it again... just wrote a lovely tribute to the Housewife... and how beautifully you did it.

Always wondered about that word housewife, as if the wife was married to the house... and in a way, with all that she does 24/7, she is!

Happy Housewife's Day to you!

You truly deserve to be happy.


Petra said...

I enjoyed strolling down memory lane with you. I always help without being asked and always feel guilty if I'm told to relax. Well, Happy Housewife's Day to you! Now, I've gotta run and tell my hubby that this is/was my day. :-D

Sue said...

I didn't know about Housewife Day, Janette, I am a little late finding out or I would have celebrated by going out to dinner.~smile~
In all the households that I have had the privilege of being a member of, the women decorated, cooked, cleaned. The men ate, watched football. lol. Having said that since all have left except us two, dh now helps. Do you think it is because there are only a few dishes to wash?lol
Loved the photos, and the memories.

Sandy said...

I love your pictures. So sweet and I know they bring back fond memories. I really had no idea we had a day dedicated to us. That's cool. We deserve it because it's hard work if you do it right and these days being a housewife is looked down upon. I guess I am really fortunate because my dear husband does help with the clean up after meals. He also starts the laundry in the morning if I don't.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

When I am at my Mom's house it is still ALL the women's work. In our home on a regular day, I cook and Evan loads the dishwasher. Now, when there is a big crowd, we generally tackle that one together after everyone's left.

LOVE your photos of you and your mom and you grandmother!! Great treasures! blessings ~ tanna

Sarah (Nikki) said...

Happy housewife day!! Who knew??? I like what your friend does.... females cook and decorate...guys clean up. Yeahhhh. Loved the post...and reading the responses.

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

All these years, and I didn't even know I had a day!

Now that ours is an empty nest, we're actually equal opportunity cooks and dishwashers. Holidays, however, usually end up with everyone helping to clear the table while the women put away leftovers and clean the kitchen. I love the slips of paper idea, though!

Joluise said...

When I cook, whether that be baking or making dinner I always full the sink with water and wash as I do things. That way, by the time I finish cooking I have no dishes and while I wait for the food to cook I dry the dishes. By the time we finish eating the only things that needs to be washed is our plates. It makes cleaning up so easy.

Marla and Steve said...

Shared, all shared in my home now. We don't do the same things every year because we've moved so much we never know where or who is going to be around or if we are visiting family. Love the traditional foods and always have pumpkin pie in the fridge, no matter where we are.

Mary said...

i had fun reading this, but i gotta tell ya i have an issue with the term "housewife"...it's so limiting. stay at home moms are soooo much more.

i am blessed with a husband that helps a lot. if i cook he cleans up, and has been seen cleaning after he has cooked!! he even vacuums from time to time. :)

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Thanks for all of your suggestions...I love the ones who gave complete instructions...this will help me guide my family of 9 toward some more workable solutions.

As for Housewife...that term for this day is just referring to those who take care of the home..with or without children.

Last years post explains more and gives a dollar amount for what we do....we would make a lot of money if paid.

Sonja said...

We WOULD make a lot of money if our job were salaried! (is that a word??)

As to cleanup, usually we are all talking so much that we just all end up in the kitchen, kids and their kids, grabbing dishes and cleaning the table. I do notice a real lack of men in the kitchen during those times! But usually the women can do it faster and better. I LOVE hearing about the exceptions to that! :)

Stephanie said...

National Housewives Day? We have a day? Wow! Wish I would have read this on "the day", I certainly would have made a bigger deal of it to my husband. So, marking the calendar for next year. For the holidays, I don't think I helped out a lot at my grandma's, my grandpa usually did the dishes. But I remember my Mom lending a hand most of the time. We don't really host any of the holidays, but I try to help out as much as possible wherever we have them, because I know how hard the work is. I don't complain about not getting a lot of help in the kitchen, because I figure I reap what I sow. Since I didn't help a lot growing up, I figure its my turn now. Sounds like a lot of fun and memories around your place during the holidays. God bless you this holiday season.

A multi-dimensional life said...

Janette, I love your photos! You bear a striking resemblance to your mom!

I love creating, decorating, setting, all of it! But...
I also hate clean-up! :) I usually try to clean as I go, as much as possible of course (and have learned to create lots of one pot meals as a result) :) For the holidays though, you need all the pots, pans, etc. but one thing I chose to do several years back is take pleasure in the clean up too. As I clean, I thank God for each dish, glass, keepsake piece of china, etc. passed down to me and all the memories attached to them past and now present. It has helped me to slow down (since I have a habit of wanting speed through and just get it done) and has helped me to feel a more deep connection to the blessings I've been given.

I also decided years back to do the same thing while grocery shopping. I used to hate it, but chose to thank God for each item I placed in the cart and for His provision (this came about when my husband was out of work and God provided every single need). I love grocery shopping now! :)

What a great post...I'm thankful that you have caused me to recall these blessings!

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

Ah, the holiday clean up, I remember it so well. Growing up it was always the women who did both the cooking and the cleaning. Over time I dreaded the holidays because of all the work they entailed. Now, not so much. With family spread out too far to get together for every holiday, they are much quieter.

When I was young, I really didn't mind, but as I have gotten older, my feet can no longer tolerate standing for too long, my hands don't work quite the way they used to. Added blessing, my husband does the major amount of cooking and clean up since he is retired and I am still working.

I do sometimes miss the chaos of the huge family gatherings, but I don't miss all the work.

Great post, Janette.

Catherine said...

Dear Janette, My son and daughter always help with the clean up. My daughter loves to cook and make everything look pretty. My son helps set the table and the three of us get everything done. It also brings us closer together to do the preparing and cleaning up together. I think it makes memories and appreciation. Blessings, Catherine ox

Sharon said...

First of all, I cannot believe how much you look like your mom! Wow - sisters.

There is a Housewife's Day?? How come I didn't get a card?

My husband is a Neatnik (I actually love that about him, because I am a notorious Messy) - and he does a lot of clean-up around our house (which just means me 'cause the kids are gone!)

But, I am the first person to help clean up when I am at other people's homes. It just seems like the only polite thing to do. They've been kind enough to open up their house, so it's like my *payment of love* to them.

BTW - I loved Maryann's idea. Clever - maybe I can suggest that at Thanksgiving!


moreofhim said...

I can't believe I missed Happy Housewife's Day! Is this another day where I can ask for a gift of some kind or sit back and let the guys clean up that day?!! LOL

In answer to your question, in our home growing up, it was the women who helped clean-up. Every one pitched in to clean so we could get done faster. There was much talking and laughter and it went by fast. Then when I married my husband, my MIL's motto was that she had "done her duty for years" and it was up to us younger girls to do all the cleaning while she sat. There was no talking and no laughing...just drudgery of trying to get through it.

With my own little family, my sweet guys always help me clean up and we talk and laugh while we're doing it. It just makes it so much more fun when it's not a drudge!

I'm like you, though. I love the decorating, cooking, and preparing...clean-up, not so much. lol

God bless you - Julie

Carol said...

You sure look like your mom!
Personally (gasp!) I LOVE cleaning up my kitchen! Especially after a big dinner.
However, on weeknights Mister cleans up afterward. Having said that, I clean as I go, so mess is minimal for him after we eat!

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

hmmm.... I like the commenter who mentioned drawing chores from the hat! Holidays it seems to be women, but I don't mind. Hubby has put turkey in when I'm off at a morning activity and usually is a big helper. Day to day we trade off. Lately I'm out teaching late n he starts dinner (that I put out) so I am blessed!

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