"We are told that women of America have much leisure time but I haven't yet met any woman who thought so! Here the mistress of the house must do all the work that the cook, the maid and the housekeeper would do in an upper class family at home. Moreover she must do her work as well as these three together do it in Norway."
-Gro Svendson, Norwegien immigrant, 1862
This quote has made me ponder a lot about the expectations we place on ourselves as homemakers. Should we be able to do to the work of a cook, maid, and housekeeper (not to mention nanny) as well as the four, or is that plain unrealistic?
Certainly we enjoy a lot of luxuries that homemakers did not 150 years ago (i.e. dishwasher, washing machine, indoor plumbing, etc.), and there are a lot of chores they we do not have to worry about (i.e. candle making, spinning, etc.). On the other hand, modern circumstances brings its own unique difficulties (i.e. balancing schedules, deadlines, junk mail, monitoring children outdoors, etc.).
Certainly I believe that housekeeping is an important job that helps contribute to an atmosphere of order, peace, and love at home. But what are realistic expectations for a housekeeper? And in a DIY culture, is it weakness/laziness to hire help?