My life was changing right before our eyes. My two baby girls were still in cloth diapers which still needed to be taken to the Laundromat three or four times a week. I had the same garden that needed to be tended. I continued to live in a four-hundred-seventy square foot trailer in a rented mobile home space. My soul was still that of a leftover hippy. Neither I personally, nor my circumstances, had changed one bit. Two things had changed, however: my basic knowledge of housekeeping and my fundamental thinking concerning it.
I was not lazy. I had not been lazy since the Saturday morning Scooby-Doo days of my youth. I was not stupid, or blind, or uncaring about my home. Before reading that first organizational book, I simply lacked skill.
No one had ever taught me how to keep house before. Growing up I had been taught how to dress myself and to tie my own shoes, how to wash my hair, how to sew, and how to write a term paper. I had even learned how to pluck a chicken when the occasion arose. I had been given all the equipment, knowledge and resources needed to complete those and hundreds of other tasks. I had taken three years of Home Ec in high school. There I learned personal hygiene from an outdated textbook, how to wrap a Christmas package, and the importance of keeping my muffins from having “peaks and tunnels.” Somehow, the practical how-to’s of housework, time management and organization were never on the curriculum.
Knowledge by itself is not what made the difference. The biggest change came in my thinking. I was a housewife. Housewives do housework, so everyday that is what I had been doing. To me, housework had been a chore, a drudgery or, at best, an obligation. I vacuumed because that is what housewives were supposed to do. I dusted because that is what I saw the pretty flitty moms do on television. I did dishes when there were none left clean. My eyes were not attuned to the big picture, only to the tasks at hand. The biggest difference Holly’s book had made was how I perceived my job as homemaker. It changed my thinking from job-orientation to goal-orientation.