Integrity

Today we had a wonderful visitor - my friend Caroline, together with our friends' boy S7, who we were also really pleased to see. Being lucky enough to have school holidays free, I enjoy having other children over whose parents are not so lucky (and other children more generally). We loved having B11 over earlier in the week before more vomiting put paid to visitors of any age.

We talked about lots of things. Cuba, childcare, vaccination, the Green and Labour parties, motherhood, local community challenges and politics, the tragedy and ripples of a local murder, gardening.

I brought up the issue of kiwisaver and I was so relieved to find someone besides Favourite Handyman and I in agreement. To my mind there are just two options. The first is that the big guns get a lot of money to speculate with and squander. The second is that we have a comfortable retirement off the sweat of someone else's exploited labour. How else are returns generated from investment?

Caroline talked a little about living a life of integrity, even if others did not recognise it as such. Even though we were talking in my dining room, I felt as though I had come home. I am not insane (or not on this particular charge anyway). Our choices are careful choices, not random and not stupid.

Less wonderful was the rest of the day, which I declared the entire household's day of cleaning and got very grumpy with anyone who didn't work hard (Ithey all did, eventually). The house is indeed a lot cleaner and us adults are now enjoying a well earnt wine or beer as a present. I am moving closer and closer to getting my friend Cathy to come and clean for us fortnightly - notching up to weekly next year if I increase my paid work hours then.

Amongst the blogs which I read and enjoy, a pride in housework is a frequent theme. It is not one which I can relate to. Passionate though I am about good food and home gardening, housework sends me into a grumpy slump. Such a grumpy slump that it never entirely gets done and builds up slowly, usually to be dealt with in an almost good enough bang each school holidays.

I remember cleaning for others as a student and valuing the money it paid. At the time, three hours of cleaning paid for my weekly food bill in our frugal flat. I would do it again if we did not have enough money to eat, keep warm or stay dry. But we are in that privileged position where we can eat, keep warm and stay dry without me cleaning other people's houses and frankly I can't stand much cleaning of my own home. I like my paid work and consider it a useful comtribution to the society I live in and the shape of the society I want to live in. I like parenting (mostly), gardening, cooking so we eat well (mostly) and writing.

My friend who cleaned for me when I was so ill after the birth of my daughter that I could not walk - she does need more paid work in order to look after the basic needs of her family. It is money well spent and I look forward to Cathy, a woman who I admire greatly and have learnt much from, being part of our family life (routine seems not quite to be an appropriate word for us) again very soon. If I am less of a woman for outsourcing my dirtiest work, then so be it. I would rather spend my money locally and connectedly than gift it to the usurers.

Comments

Christy said…
...the day the cleaner is coming also provides a wonderful impetus to tidy up so they can actually see the floor they are vacuuming... for me it is interesting that i feel so guilty about having someone clean for me for a couple of hours every week. and if you ever confess to an acquaintance it feels like they are judging you, although maybe they aren't. so mostly i just keep quiet about it, knowing that it keeps me sane!

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