Since I left the army, I’ve been helping out with the household chores in my home. I had an inkling that my mother did a lot – in addition to housework like cooking, cleaning, and laundry, she holds down an adjunct teaching job in a secondary school – and thought it’ll be nice to help out and learn some homemaking skills along the way.
And it was only when I started trying all these things that I realised HOW MUCH she actually does.
For laundry alone, when the laundry basket gets full, you throw it all in the washing machine (thank God for washing machines! I would die if I only had a washboard). This happens twice or sometimes every single day, since a family of five generates much dirty clothes. It’s best to do this as early as possible in the morning so that you can hang the clothes out to dry before the morning sun stops shining on the drying area.
This washing-and-hanging procedure isn’t the worst part of laundry; the worst part was ironing the lot after it was dry. One of the first times I ironed the clothes, I worked my way through a whole pile in five hours, since I had just learnt from my mum the proper way to do it. A few weeks ago, there was one particular day I had planned to do the ironing (another big pile) in the afternoon, but I was so tired, I took a nap. When I woke up, I found out my mum had returned, AND finished the ironing!
On top of this, when she returns home from work, she has to think of what to cook for dinner. Imagine – a whole day teaching chemistry to a class of whiny brats who couldn’t care less about their future, then coming home tired, she sorts the laundry, then thinks about what to cook for dinner that has to be something that the family hasn’t eaten in the past week, otherwise the children say something like, “we just ate baked fish a few days ago!” I kind of regret how I used to give my ‘honest feedback’ about her food, because it must have been hard for her to have to keep thinking of new dishes. If I were she, my kids would be bored by Rosti Wednesdays.
My mother does all this, admirably. She has a whole repertoire of delicious dishes so we never get bored with her cooking, my wardrobe is magically replenished with clean and pressed clothes consistently, and the house is kept clean and tidy. I can only hope my assistance with the housework has made her life better in the past few months.
Thank you, Mother. You are a superwoman.