The housework question

Washing Machine


I’ve been reading about housework, specifically research on housework, and I always wonder how they measure these things. What counts as housework anyway? Is cooking housework? Is cooking your own dinner if you like cooking housework or a hobby? How do you quantify washing up when the sink seems to fill up every time you turn your back? What about all the general pickings up of things that you do while you are doing other stuff?

I’m not big on housework. What takes up more of my time is general house admin. There doesn’t seem to be a category for that: ringing the doctor/dentist, getting stuff ready for school including swimming gear, costumes, food tech ingredients, etc, filling in forms, sewing repairs, logistics [ie who is going to pick up the kids],  planning birthdays, paying bills, sorting technical issues, dealing with breakages and, the big one, finding things.

Some tasks which seem to be easy ones turn into much more complicated things than you ever imagined, particularly those things that involve anything at all online billed as ‘simple’ and ‘time-saving’.

First you have to register for practically every single thing and choose a password which is supposedly different from all the other ones you use. There is no way on Earth any one person can remember all the passwords they have. My short term memory is shot to pieces so unless I have the same password for most things there is a big risk I will be locked out of my own life. And I’m still in my “middle years” and collecting ever more passwords. I really fear for my generation when we get to old age. I have failed my own security question at least twice recently. On one occasion I was asked where I got my phone handset. I have no idea. I’ve changed my phone a few times in the last decade and it could more or less have been anywhere in a 50-mile radius. I picked the closest town. Wrong! So many things happen just in one week. How can you be expected to remember something two years ago?

I was complaining the other day about only son using my phone to play Geometry Dash. “It’s more his phone than mine,” I said. “I no longer actually own anything.” The mum I was speaking to said I should put a password on my phone. I’ve got a password. It’s 1, 2, 3, 4. Only son is very nifty at keying it in. Anything more taxing would mean I risk missing an important call.

I could write all the codes and passwords down, but then I’d have to remember where I put them. In our house, possibly due to the lack of housework, things accumulate and shift around a bit. If I put them on my phone and put a proper security password on it my entire life could grind to a halt in one moment of blankness.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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