How did our grandmothers, great grandmothers manage their homes?

This has been a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. How did my grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother manage her home? How did they do their laundry? My understanding is that they cooked the clothes in big pots, that wash day was Saturday and that it took all day. How did they heat their water? Clean the latrine/outhouse? How did they clean the rugs, bake bread, can food, grow a garden, and still have time for their children? How did they make every single meal (AH!), milk the cow, make the butter, render the fat, sew the clothes, heat the house, the list goes on.

My husband was raised on a farm in Ohio. He is the first generation off of the farm since the Mayflower. No, I am not kidding! He tells a story that was told to him of his great aunts. His great aunts could see each others clothes lines when the sheet was put up, and would hold contests as to who got their sheet up first Saturday morning. I LOVE that story, making fun out of a day of very hard work.

How did women end up being the keepers of the household? I know that we have traditionally (for thousands of years, actually) been the keeper of the flame. How did our society morph that into keepers of the house? Some of us are good at the job, while others have varying degree of success.  I have noticed that my husband has the same complaints about house keeping as I did when I was doing ninety percent of the job. I do not think this is a male or female issue as much as it is an issue of whoever ends up with the bulk of the responsibility.

So how did we get here? To the house being a juggernaut for whoever gets the short straw of taking care it? Of course for some this is a wonderful job and they really enjoy every minute of maintaining a beautiful home. If you are like me, I trip over house keeping. In the back of my mind I think someone is going to pick up after me; I am a slow learner!

I will be dedicating the next year to a discovery of the evolution of housekeeping, where we have come from, where we are now and what housekeeping might look like in the future. Join me in a year of uncovering the truth about housekeeping.