Thursday, January 20, 2011


Here's an article I had written years ago that has been published a couple of times.

Throw all those schedules out the window and…

SHAKE. Shake the word routine out of your silly head. Buddy up to pause, waver and vacillate. Routine is the killer of all inspiration in housewife world. It would be wonderful to have a routine for your quilt project or for your tai chi group or to get your facial hair zapped but to have a routine for something as uninspiring as housework is bound to make you a permanent failure in this very lonely field.

REST ASSURED. Housework is a very lonely job. Why do you think maids never last or that no one else wants to do it? Nobody notices what you have done but only what you have not done; when the meals are not ready on time, when the bathrooms have not been cleaned, when the clothes have not been sorted, when the dust has not been dusted or when the dishes have not been dished. Who would think of promoting a housewife? But rest assured no one is going to make you redundant either.

NO OBLIGATIONS. To all budding housewives out there, if you really want to survive in this very lonely field never say “I will”. “I might” is much more realistic. If you do not set such daunting goals for yourself you have absolutely no obligations to keep them.

HOUSE GUESTS.  Never treat dust and dirt as your number one enemy and never underestimate them. I am not saying you should adopt a defeatist attitude but do not think that you can eradicate something as formidable as dust and dirt from the face of your home. Give them the treatment they deserve. Treat them as permanent house guests. 

DO NOT EXPECT your children to share a common enemy. They do not for as long as they are living with you. They do not see the dirt because they so blissfully believe in it.

DO POORLY. An area half cleaned today is better than an area you hope to bring to a pristine shine tomorrow. That is for the simple reason that you may, could or will not get around to it. So " A job poorly done is better than a job not done at all. " should be the motto of the day……everyday, for the rest of your housewife life.

TOMORROW NEVER COMES. Never soak rag rugs to be hand washed tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. Either treat it raggedly and throw it out or use large towels in front of your sink so you could dump it in the washing machine the next day.

GIVE UP. Learn to give up. Don’t drive yourself like a dog because you are not. You are a housewife. Stop when you are tired, step out of your dog suit and have a soak in the tub.  It keeps you from feeling dog tired.

PLAY DICE. Play dice with your universe. Go ahead play dice and go with your instincts. Don’t do what you don’t feel like doing. If you don’t feel like mopping the floors today, don’t. You can think about it tomorrow, just never be too specific about your plans.

DELEGATE but don’t expect it to be carried out. High expectations and housework don’t go together. It helps keep your sanity in check.

ANTICIPATE. Learn to anticipate. Learn to anticipate when you might have unexpected visitors. That way you will not be greeting them in a sweat, breathing heavily and with your tongue hanging out while your hide the mess. Know your unexpected visitors well. You surely know them otherwise they will not be visiting you. Observe and anticipate their movements. Always be one step ahead.

AVOID DISASTERS. Although one must be creative don’t try a new recipe on your family unless it has been tried on the neighbour. Keep yourself well informed of the latest disasters. Nothing like prime news.

DO NOT MAKE THE CAKE that you have been meaning to. Buy fruits instead. They are much healthier to begin with and you save yourself from a lot of beating and bashing in the kitchen. If you are nostalgic about baking cakes and cookies just watch Nigella Bites on TV. Learn to derive satisfaction from watching and listening rather than doing.

 NOOKS AND CRANNIES ARE FOR NANNIES. So don’t have too many of them in your home. Straight forward furniture, clean, clear cut lines are everything. Do not indulge in the clutter ideology of those country decorating magazines. You live in a city not a nightmare.

A BACKYARD IS A BACKYARD IS A BACKYARD. Drum that into your head and leave it exactly the way you found it. Don’t try turning it into a front yard. Unless you have French windows opening up to the back and hills in the horizon where you can trot off into the sunset, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can religiously cope with two gardens in your housewifely life.

DO NOT BE BAFFLED. Do not be baffled by so called facts because these are myths masquerading as truths. Things like “Nothing like home cooking” or “Mother’s cooking is best”are just meaningless proverbs. Not necessarily true. Mr. Kentucky,  Mr. Macdonald cook just as well.


  1. Zurin, I agrees to all except the last one LOL! Good one, no wonder it was published many times. Thanks for sharing some home truths and I love this particular one

    " GIVE UP. Learn to give up. Don’t drive yourself like a dog because you are not. You are a housewife. Stop when you are tired, step out of your dog suit and have a soak in the tub. It keeps you from feeling dog tired. "

    Thank you so much...keep writing, I love reading your thoughts :) it is chicken soup for my soul :)


  2. awwwwwww...thanks Elin...that makes my day :)

  3. Salam Zurin...follow this blog too...i like...your writing really on one of Martha's show,one of the guest must have a balance..must have a for me as a housewife,family is the priority...thanks kakak for more info and guidance...from penang with luv...

  4. Zurin, absolutely love this article. So many nuggets of truth and wisdom! My favourite take away for today...a job poorly done is better than a job not done at all. I will save the rest of the nuggets for the rest of the days leading up to CNY!

  5. Ahh..thanks many many. At least I know I'm not alone in this state of blissful denial of not doing housework. :) This is so fun!