The Housekeeping Revolution


 “Why are you asleep?” was the first thing my wife asked me when she arrived home. “You’re supposed to be watching the kids.”

The hardest thing about looking after the kids while your wife is out working is making sure you’re awake before she comes home.

“Where’s all the washing?” was her second question.

When she left this morning there wasn’t so much a pile of washing on the lounge as the kids had nowhere to sit but the floor, which was also covered in baskets.

“I’ve done it,” I told her smugly, but I didn’t mention how.

I felt I had a right to feel smug. Folding is the one household chore neither Tracey nor I find any redeeming joy in. But I tend to leave it to Tracey because she at least knows which item of clothing belongs to which of our girls.

That, and I don’t want to do it.

Of course, now that I’m a part time homemaker I’ve decided to make some changes around here and focus my not considerable man-smarts on this contentious issue. From the look on Tracey’s face I could see she was impressed with my efforts. Enough, at least, that she was no longer berating me for falling asleep on duty.

The key to folding, I’ve discovered, is new technology.

“You kids!” I’d announced earlier in the afternoon. “I want all your iPods, iPads, controllers and remotes! Now!” 

As they handed over their pretties there were cries of “But, Dad!” and “Why?  But mainly just cries.

I pointed into the lounge room.

“Now, get in there and find your clothes, fold them and put them away. Then you can have your stuff back.”

This was followed by even more cries of injustice and I pondered if this might indeed be how the French Revolution really started. Lucky we don’t keep guillotines in the house.

“And what’s more,” I said over the din, “no one gets any electronics until everyone’s clothes are away.”

Then I lay down on the lounge to supervise…

…which was where Tracey found me when she arrived home. Asleep. Snoring. But pleasingly surrounded by nothing but soft, brown leather. Even the kids had buggered off to other rooms to play, watch or listen to their devices.

The pleased sensation lasted all of two hours.

You see, I still hadn’t told Tracey about my folding method, because I was holding off wondering if folding trumped falling asleep and I was still in with a chance for that night.

It turned out it didn’t and I wasn’t.

“Bruce!” Tracey yelled from the other end of the house. “Bruce! Get in here!”

“What’s the prob…” I started as I walked into the girls’ room.

Tracey was standing in front of the open wardrobe. She was wearing her ‘I’m still trying to work out if you’re more trouble than you’re worth’ face. Not a good sign.

There was no point in finishing the question because the reason for my being summoned was untidily obvious.

It turns out two and four year olds aren’t much chop at folding and putting away clothes. Who knew.

For the record, Tracey tells me she knew.



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