There’s so much other stuff in life I’d rather be doing than cleaning. You know, like spending time with my family or going to the dentist for a root canal.
Whenever I feel like I am overwhelmed by my house and the housework that needs to be done, I spare a thought for my poor Nanna who was a housewife back in the 1950s.
Back then not only was she expected to have a spotless house all the time, she was supposed to do it while having her hair and makeup done perfectly, wearing immaculate clothes, and without so many modern inventions that take a lot of the stress and pain out of cleaning your house.
Having lived through the Depression and World War II before getting married and having a family of her own, my Nanna was no stranger to back-breaking labour. She’d been helping look after her own dad and siblings since her mother died when she was a young girl, and had to scrub the floors on her hands and knees.
So when she had her own home with “fancy” carpeted floors, scrubbing the floors was about to be a thing of the past. She saved and saved to buy her first ever vacuum cleaner, a humungous upright thing that just about put her in traction whenever she lugged it around the house.
We’ve come a little full circle there because I only have carpet in the bedrooms, and find it much easier to sweep floorboards in the living areas. I don’t scrub the floors on my hands and knees, of course, I have a steam mop!
After a big day slogging over the stove cooking a meal for her family, my Nanna would stand at the sink for another long time in her apron and rubber gloves, scrubbing pots and pans and doing all the dishes by hand. Today I cut corners wherever I can. I bung stuff in the slowcooker so I can spend time running my kids around to things instead of being chained to the stove, and of course I have a dishwasher too.
When my Nanna finally got a washing machine (an upgrade from using the washing board and hand wringer) it was a twin tub that still required a fair bit of manual intervention, pulling everything out of one tub, soaking wet and heavy, to place in the second tub so it could go on the spin cycle. These days you can even get machines that dry your clothes as well (although I don’t have one of those, but a girl can dream).
But one thing that hadn’t changed from my Nanna’s day all that much was the worst household chore of them all…cleaning the freaking toilet. Let’s face it, toilets are just disgusting germ-infested horror chambers. Just how dreadful it’s going to be whenever you go to clean it will depend on how gross your kids are. But this is one task that seriously makes me gag.
My Nanna says when she was a little girl they had an outdoor toilet arrangement where all the gross poop and wee and everything were collected by a man called the “night carter” and it was pretty disgusting, especially in the sweltering summer heat. But when she got her nice new 1950s house, it came with one of those new-fangled indoor toilets. So it needed to be cleaned as well.
Cleaning the toilet was something that happened every day. She’d give it a good scrub with the toilet brush, and didn’t have any of our modern cleaning products at hand to help it stay sparkling and sanitary.
Putting it simply… she didn’t have the products available to make her dunny cleaning duties much easier, and more pleasant, Iike Bref Power Active. This new generation of toilet block discreetly attaches to the rim of the toilet and just sits there, releasing a hygenic foam into the toilet and removing stains, protecting against dirt, providing extra freshness and an anti-limescale action. Because of this in-between clean hero, when I do need to clean the toilet, most of the work is already done for me… especially all the gross parts!
It gives me much more time to get on with taking the kids to the park, going out for coffees and surfing Facebook. All those things my Nanna never had time for (yeah, I know Facebook wasn’t invented yet, just pretend it was.)