Browsing the reader today, I stumbled upon Helen Hayward’s blog entry about the values of good housekeeping.
Which propelled me back to a time, when “schöner Wohnen” was all important to me. For many years, SCHÖNER WOHNEN (beautiful living) has been the leading home interest magazine in German speaking countries and a household name for tasteful interior design. I use the magazine title to subsume, what I try to relate here. The world of sun-dried, fragrant bed linen, shiny floors, sparkling kitchen sink and a well stacked pantry. Ready to receive guests at all times, prepared to have home cooked food ready in no time, always.
Later in life, when I was single again, I spent weeks and months to furnish, repaint and decorate my own, big (and expensive) flat in Berlin. After massive ruptures in my emotional life, this was part of the remedy in order to piece myself together once more. Creating a space of my own, that I felt comfortable coming home to.
Boy, what have I come to, nowadays. Shopping and cooking are the job of my sweetheart, a cleaner comes in once a week to restore a certain degree of cleanliness and she also does the ironing. I do basically nothing any more. Apart from the laundry and handling the dishwasher. And gardening, of course. But this is a past time and not a chore.
In a nutshell, I’m out of the housekeeping business. And by all means I am completely out of the “schöner Wohnen” business, looking at my surroundings. Instead, I enjoy my scarce spare time. Writing this blog, for instance, petting my cat or lazing about, watching TV, playing Tetris or some such nonsense.
How did this happen? I was brought up to the task of looking after a household and a family, so I think, in my younger years, I just tried to do that to perfection. Never realising, that I also always worked a full time job. Even with no kids to raise, this is too much to ask of any individual. If one wants to do it to what I used to consider the minimum standard of home life.
Tell you what, it is not such a bad choice I took. I am much happier now than I used to be during all the years I ran my impeccable places. Although once in a while I still get the “schöner Wohnen” blues. Dreaming up all the changes I want to make to our dwelling place. But then I immediately remember all the hard work it takes to accomplish this, and I revert to lazy mode instantly. Life is all about compromise, isn’t it?
I just don’t know, how the millions of women manage, who have to do both: looking after their families – often without the help of a partner – and work full time jobs. This is to you, ladies, great job! Although it shouldn’t really exist.
2 thoughts on “schöner wohnen”
I remember your house in the village – always pristine, smelling of various cleaning agents – the rugs and furniture regularly deep cleaned and polished. The boyfriend coming home with 6 surprise guests and you whipping up a meal for all of them on the spot. I was in awe.
And yet, your current place has a feel of contentment that I never sensed in the village house. So much for “schöner wohnen” hey?
And yes, cleaning ladies are the unsung heroes of our times. Mine is in the kitchen right now sorting the old inedible vegetables and fruits from the bins and making the stove top look brand new. Next she will remove the tumbleweed sized dog and cat hair dust-balls from under the furniture and vacuum away 1000 tiny pieces of chewed up sticks from the library carpet. When she is done, there will still be piles of miscellaneous crap all over the house, but it will be neatly stacked and the whole place will smell a bit less like gym socks and an old dog. I love this woman.
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aw, thanks! It’s because two content people live here. And at the precious times you are around, I am the happiest anyways….
And there is nothing better than a cleaning lady. Period.
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