Reflections on Little House on the Prairie

Housework: Ma Ingalls did a LOT of work. Just reading about all the work she did makes me feel exhausted. And it’s like, who cares if their dresses were clean and pressed? Nobody is there to see them. Me, I think I’m exerting huge effort to put on a pair of wrinkled cargo pants to make my way to Target (see below re: Target), and there’s Ma wringing things out in the creek by hand, and then IRONING it afterward?! I mean, I applaud her determination to look nice, but it’s sort of akin to…I don’t know. I have no comparison to make here – it’s too crazy for me.

Racism and Prejudice: As impressed (and bewildered) as I was with Ma’s cleaning and cooking, I didn’t like her attitude toward the Indians. Yes, she was a product of her times, but not everyone was so jerk-faced about them. What I most appreciated was Laura’s innocent questions such as, “Isn’t this the Indians’ land? Aren’t they sad to have to move?” but those questions were silenced (see below re: never speaking at the table). Pa didn’t seem nearly as judgmental as Ma did, and I’m wondering if it came down to fear. Ma was really really afraid of the Indians, and Pa had a more balanced view?

The Family Dinner: The part about how kids aren’t supposed to speak at the table, unless they are spoken to? Made me nine shades of nostalgic for something I’ve never experienced, because most dinners I can’t get a word in edgewise to Homes. Ma and Pa could shut Laura up with three words: “Laura, that’s all.” And she’d stop. How did they do it?

Material Goods: Mary and Laura were SO THRILLED at getting their own tin cups…and that’s the sort of thing I’d pick up at Target without even a thought. Not to mention the occasional random art supplies like construction paper or notebooks or markers or stickers…. Imagine how thrilled they’d be!

Crazy Talk: What would’ve happened to them if Pa died? I mean, that’s a huge risk they’re undertaking, going off into the unsettled prairie, and as capable as Ma wields her spider-cooker thingie, I don’t think she’s quite up for chopping down and hauling lumber, and building cabin-sized things (like cabins). I guess I’m not enough of an adventurer to be a pioneer, but it’s hard to sympathize with them when they’re endangering not only themselves but their very young daughters by venturing into the great yonder. There are snakes and wolves and things, and all kinds of other dangers!

Do It All Over Again: And then, after all that work making that sweet little cabin with the Ridiculously Symbolic and Special china doll on the mantel, they had to abandon the cabin and venture off again to start over. All that work. I need a nap now.

One More Thing: No, I don’t know what is up with all the gopher drawingss. I can’t seem to stop.

The Weekly Chore Schedule (Or, Trying to be Less of a Slacker Mom)

Welcome ┬áto my home. Wait, wait, don’t step there. Ouch. Those Duplos really hurt. In fact, you might want to keep your gaze on the floor as you navigate our hazardous halls. If you stumble on a stuffed animal and grab the piano for support, you may want to wipe off the dust that sticks to your fingers. I’ll turn around and pretend not to notice if you want to use the curtains for this.

Yes, welcome to my home. I know I’m not completely alone in this. My house is cleaner than some, but much messier than others. It’s messier on days when we come back from the library and I have a delicious new book to read (Hello, The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams–wow!)

To give myself a tiny bit of help, I devised a chore schedule. This is the slacker mom’s chore schedule. Please realize that I’m easing into this chore thing, and I’M A SLOB OKAY!? There’s my disclaimer. Even as easy as this chore schedule is, I STILL don’t get everything done.

This is embarrassing. I can’t believe I’m posting this. Okay. Here goes:

Monday: sweep and vacuum

Tuesday: dust (This is a stupid chore. It always gets overlooked. Besides, whenever my mother visits she is so appalled by the layers of dust coating everything that she dusts. So I don’t have to.)

Wednesday: whatever (Yes, seriously. Wednesday is “Whatever Day.” Maybe we run errands. Maybe I read a novel.)

Thursday: laundry (Actually, I do laundry all week. Thursday is “fold the mountain of laundry in the family room” day.)

Friday: clean sinks and toilets

Saturday: clean tub and shower

Sunday: Whee, Sabbath! I try very hard not to do chores on Sundays. This is the chore day where I SHINE. Except for dishes (see below).

Every Damn Day: wash dishes (Oh, how I hate them.)

I am sure there are stay-at-homies out there who do all those things in one single day. The thought of this makes me break out in a rash. My mother has hope for me yet. Two of my Christmas gifts:

I really hate dusting. Yesterday was dusting day. Z and I got it done, but just barely. We didn’t use the Swiffer Dusters Extender, though. Maybe next week!

I hate the dishes too, but as they’re unavoidable, I’ll use the fancy dish drying mat. Thanks, Mom! (Um, that is said without any trace of sarcasm, really. And just so nobody thinks anything bad about my mother, I will also disclose that one of her gifts is sending me to an SCBWI conference. So she didn’t just get me housekeeping accoutrements.)