Saturday, August 8, 2009
No Daughter of Mine shall aspire to this!
It is 1:42 pm. I just finished chatting with my darling daughter for the last few minutes as she had just gotten out of bed at about 1:20 pm. That is correct. 1:20 p.m. That may or may not have set a new record for the time of day she got out of bed - in any case, it's pretty damn close. I pride myself on not being one of those militant parents that insist their teenagers get their lazy asses out of bed in the morning during the summer months. In the winter, I let her sleep in on the weekends only of course. She is actually very proficient at getting up when she has to. If she has an activity or lesson to attend - she is up - no problem. On days like today, with no real plan, she sleeps late. I have heard teenagers need extra sleep - who am I to argue? When I was a teenager, I was never allowed to sleep until mid day - I had to get up and get to work at my part-time job or failing that - there were always plenty of chores to be done around the house. The list was endless. For several years between the ages of about 12 and 15, I was paid $5 a week to wash my father's car every Saturday morning. This was no ordinary wash job. I had to do the complete works - the kind of job that people pay over a hundred bucks for now - I believe it is called "detailing". No piece of chrome would be left untouched. I should have bought shares in Turtle Wax, that's how much was required. That car had to be sparkling clean, ready for showing, to whom, I'll never know - it just had to be perfect. If it wasn't, I had to go back in and correct any overlooked flaws in the job. I didn't collect my five bucks until it was immaculate. Inside and out. I hated every minute of it. But I had no choice. It was my job and it had to be done. My daughter barely knows how to wash a dinner plate, let alone an entire car. I blame myself for this. I have gone waaaay to far to the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to chores. I had far too many and she has far too few. So in the end, it turns out, I am still doing it all. Just like when I was a kid. I let her sleep half the day, I don't give her enough responsibility around the house and I know I need to change something soon. In her defense, she is actually pretty co-operative when I ask her to complete a household chore. I just don't ask her enough. "It's quicker if I do it myself," I say silently under my breath. But in the end I am not doing her any favours. She will leave the nest one day and unless I prepare her for what is to come, she will end up living like a slob, or as she says, "Don't worry mom, I plan to make enough money to be able to hire people to do everything." Wow - what a concept! You go girl! What she doesn't realize, is that luxury comes with age and bigger salaries. It does not necessarily happen right out of the gates after university. (Or does it?) I have heard of recent grads landing big jobs that pay big bucks right away, but I have to figure that is not typical. It can also happen if you are in a two-income situation early on - but a girl should never count on that. I hired my first cleaning help in my late twenties, in my first marriage. We had a two bedroom apartment and unless we hired someone to do it, we would argue over who was or wasn't going to scrub the toilet. Wish I could say that simple solution saved our marriage, but at least it saved plenty of arguments in the 4 1/2 years we were together. Before we got professional help, it would take him an entire Saturday to do the damn job as he would take about 16 breaks after every swipe of a dust cloth over a table top. I could do the whole place top to bottom in about 3 hours tops. Waiting around for him to do it was out of the question I soon realized. Enter - Mariska! For a paltry $35 every two weeks, she came in every second Friday and polished the place up - I haven't cleaned a toilet since. Well almost. There have been the odd weeks or months when I was between cleaners, or trying to cut back but they have been few and far between since then and I will admit, it is one luxury I would hate to have to do without. It is utterly thankless. Martha Stewart used to say one should take pride in their cleaning. Well - blah, blah, blah to you lady - I would rather be golfing. That crazy ex-con nearly had women convinced we should actually enjoy scraping toothpaste blobs out of the sink - what the hell were we thinking? Talk about going back in time. No thanks. So when my daughter says something like that to me, I honestly think she is right. What is the point in learning to clean the house? I don't want her to aspire to it. I would prefer she never has to do it. At the very least, maybe she'll marry a neat-freak - then he can do it. However, I digress. She should know how to do such simple tasks as washing dishes, dusting, vacuuming, making a bed and so on. And she will - soon, I promise.