House-proud

26 July 2010
I had a wonderful weekend pottering around doing this and that, and I even had a sleep in my chair, wrapped in a blanket, after watching Doc Martin that I'd recorded the night before.  Hanno has been away this past week and will fly home today.  He went back to Sydney to help my sister, Tricia, deal with the realities and the real estate agents as she put her house on the market to sell it.  It's a big step for her.  A huge move, both physically and emotionally, to sell after the death of her husband a few years ago and her children making lives for themselves.  It was good that Hanno could be with her and help her through some of it.


So back at the ranch here, it's been just me and the animals and yesterday I thought I'd stop reading for a while and get stuck into some housework.  I vacuumed and washed the floors, did some laundry, cleaned benches, changed table and bed linen and made a big pot of food for Alice.  When I finished, I stood back to appreciate my hard work and a really old fashioned term popped into my head for the first time in years.  House-proud.   That was the term used in the 40s and 50s to describe a housewife who kept a tidy house.


I do feel it you know - proud, although it's not at all arrogant, it's more restrained and unpretentious.   House-proud doesn't quite get to the real essence of it either. I'm not so much proud of my house but proud of the way my home works its magic way on me, my family and others who visit us.  The work I do in my home changed  my unrealistic perception of the spray and wipe advertised version of housework and instead of trying to make everything easier, I tried to make it safer and more satisfying.  Speed is overrated. Satisfaction and comfort are more enduring and meaningful.  


I discovered, once I dived right into this way of living, that making my way through housework helped me make my way through life. Working away slowly at home calmed me down and showed me a different way of living.  It prepared me, in many ways, for what I needed to do when I went to my voluntary job and I'm sure that if I took on full-time work again, it would also help me with that as well.  You require an extraordinary number of skills to run a home, raise children, grow a garden and look after pets and chooks.  So it is not surprising that when I was out, doing all those things we all do in our daily lives, that thinking of home, and the fact that I would be going home soon, returned a calmness to me that helped me complete my tasks.


If you really do become what you do, then I am a plain and simple woman who tries to make as much at home as possible.  My home has become a centre point that has helped me live true to my values, to open up to a creative energy that provides exciting possibilities every day and to be sure that here at home is where I really want to be.  Right here is where I help feed and clothes us, I write here, I create, think and learn and I find a steadfast inspiration every day to keep doing those things. This is where I reclaim my independence and discover the contentment of living well and to my true potential.  It may not be everyone's choice to work at home doing household chores but I have been enriched by it and I doubt I would be as happy as I am without meaningful work to do every day.  I don't want to live a life where I don't have to do any work at home, and I don't want to be dragged down by it either.  I have found a good balance that requires of me that I plan, work and put in the time and in return I get this feeling of satisfaction and contentment. And yes, I guess I am house-proud.  I am proud and thankful for what looking after my home has helped me do and become.  And I am pretty sure many of you feel the same way.