Have you hugged your washing machine today?
I try to be aware of sending appreciation to my washing machine and other household appliances. Can you imagine what it was like to do laundry with the ringer machines from the 1800’s? Sure they were considered automatic but you still had to be fully involved in the process. Using the rollers to squeeze water from each piece of linen. Passing it through again for the rinse cycle.
go further back to the washboard days. Scrubbing each item. What a long and laborious task. Go even further back to being hunkered down on the river bank washing a load in the river. Or carrying water from its source up to the wash tub. No warm heated water unless it was hot outside or you heated a pot on the wood stove. Don’t get me started with having to tend to that stove. Gathering and chopping wood, every single day.
I have much appreciation living this century!
Laundry day in the pioneer era was a full day task. You wouldn’t wash one or two things, it was definitely an all-in task. Mostly the laundry was done on Mondays according to docents at the local Burnaby Village Museum. They said the pioneers wore their “Sunday best” because those were the only clean clothes at the end of the week!
In fact, it was a practice all families would do. Monday wash day. All of the females would do their laundry by hand. Unless they had the new-fangled technology which still required manual labour. Even young girls would help; carry water, fold clothes.
Oh, this reminds me of ironing. Another of those tasks that I dislike. The irons back then were very heavy which is what did most of the pressing. These women did not need a gym membership or diet plan to stay in shape!
After washing the laundry it had to be hung out to dry. No dryers back then, just clothes racks and clotheslines, which were considered new technology. On cold or wet days the clothes would be hung near the wood stove. Imagine the kitchen, which has always been the heart if the home, cluttered with all matter of drying clothes and linens? You would know it was Monday. I wonder if this was truly the beginning of the di, like for Mondays? At least from a woman’s point of view. But I’m sure it just seemed like normal life.
Even though laundry is the big chore of the day, cooking is a daily essential as well. This meant the kitchen was also buzzing with bread making and other tasks of making meals.
Alas, multi-tasking was born. While the stove is hot; simmer the soup or stew, bake the bread in the oven, while clothes hang to dry in the warm kitchen. Because why waste a cord of wood on just heating a room? No wonder women can do a multitude of things and still have time to think! It was bred into us from our ancestors.
Coming back to my reality, I am so very grateful for those pioneer days (and that they are over). I have a great appreciation for the meticulous nature of doing chores by hand. I have an even greater appreciation for the inventors that created the automatic appliances we enjoy today.
So instead of moaning about the piles of laundry queued up to be tossed into the automatic washer, we should be grateful. It is easy to walk away and do other things and return when the clothes have been magically cleaned, rinsed and rung out. Then pop them into the equally convenient dryer or hang them up in our already warm home without needing to stoke a wood stove or stir a pot and bake bread.
I am so grateful for these conveniences that I make certain to hug my washing machine or even just say thank you on a regular basis. (Yes, I even say good morning and thank you to my Keurig coffee machine!)
It is a good daily practice to show gratitude for these mundane tasks because it wasn’t always easy. So next time you want to complain and groan about doing the laundry, or the dishes or whatever monotonous task you must do, remember it was never this easy!
Now go and hug your washing machine!