Mothers Diary
I took the housekeeping test in This Week magazine – and I tell you! I really didn't expect my answers to prove that I was a "natural-born housekeeper" as This Week termed it. But I also didn't figure to be completely and openly exposed as "fatally allergic to dishes, vacuums and mops," either.

I absolutely cannot resist taking all these tricky and psychological tests that appear periodically in magazines and newspapers. Usually, I come off pretty well in them, because I can be tricky, too, and it's easy to persuade myself to check the answers they want me to check.
But this one!!!

How could I possibly answer that I would rather teach handicraft than history. I can't do handicraft myself – let alone teach it. Martha's sewing teacher at school knows this.
"Martha will attack a sewing problem every way she knows," said Eleanor during conferences, "and work at it by herself until she has to ask for help."
"Martha doesn't know there's any other way," I said gloomily, "she's never gotten any help at home unless Nancy's here."
"Well," laughed Eleanor, "It's better to learn that way than to run for help before she's tried."
"I've been able to help her a little with cooking," I said, still gloomily, "but sewing is a different matter."
"You can do other things so why should you know how to sew?" Eleanor comforted me.
"That's what I keep telling them," I said.

But it's not much of an excuse, really. Because there are so many other things I can't do, either – according to that quiz. Like backing and parking a car – I can't even drive forward anymore as far as I know.
Or putting together a jigsaw puzzle – they needn't have been invented as far as I'm concerned. (And what have jigsaw puzzles to do with housekeeping? Well, they admitted the test was tricky). The last time we had a jigsaw puzzle around was when Bruce was home. He loved them and was good at them. Does that fact make him a good housekeeper? I remember how his room used to look after all!

Then there was the part about doing things in 15 seconds. Could I, the quiz wanted to know, tap a pencil on the table more than 70 times in fifteen seconds? Now I ask you!
I tried it.
I was worn out by the time I tapped 25 times, panicky by the time I had tapped 45 times, and out of the 15 seconds by the time I had tapped 55 times.
So what did that prove? I was so irate that I didn't even bother to try "dealing more than 30 playing cards into a pile alternately face-up and face-down." (I didn't even try to figure out what it meant!) And I didn't try poking a toothpick into 20 salt shaker holes either.
I don't have that many salt shaker holes around here. And they don't need poking. And I'm a good enough housekeeper not to waste time and energy doing things that don't need doing.
If they'd said pepper shaker holes, now, they would have had a job that needs attention. I have a pepper shaker on a shelf in my kitchen that could stand a little hole poking. But the only time I think of it is at 8 o’clock in the morning when I am peppering the eggs like mad out of the one open hole in the shaker and the youngsters are all sitting on the edges of their chairs waiting to gobble their eggs and dash out the door for school. Obviously, that is no time to hunt up a toothpick and poke it into the shaker holes. And when I have enough pepper on the eggs by dint of much shaking, then there obviously is no further use for the pepper shaker, so why bother poking the holes?
So that makes me a poor housekeeper? Well – yes – I suppose it does.

So I put the test away and looked around me at the "wall to wall clutter," as described in the article. I didn't need any quiz to prove to me that I wasn't a perfect housekeeper. As a matter of fact I had never claimed to be a housekeeper, period. I do what has to be done, but my sole aim in life has never been gleaming floors, flawless table tops, or dustless venetian blinds.

I picked up the quiz again. As I said before, I can't reset them. I had to know what my score was. And I had to find something I could answer 'yes' to.
But -
No. I haven't made any definite plans for my retirement years or for my 1963 vacation, or what to do with my savings. Who knows if I'll ever have any of those things?!

I guess I don't plan parties carefully either – so there was another 'no.'
Well – I take that back. For Martha's 4-H meeting Monday night, I asked her if sandwiches and cocoa would be all right and she said yes, and I said that I must remember to order extra milk.
And I did remember it and that's pretty careful planning for me!

Would I rather have my daughter neat than have musical skills? Well – now – there you have one! If you ask me that at the right time I'd say 'yes' very loudly and equivocally! And the right time is when I've listened to 20 minutes of very loud scales and discords on the piano and I have just looked at their rooms!
But I couldn't say yes to the one about wanting my son to marry a good housekeeper. After all, why should my sons marry women who will show up their poor mother for the lousy housekeeper she is?

I didn't do very well on the quiz. I had 'less than 8 yeses' which put me in the very doubtful category of not having a well run home. As a matter of fact I had only 2 answers that were yes in good conscience. I knew what was hanging at the left end of my closet, and I knew that our clocks all have Arabic numerals.
This was worse than the authors figured, so that's probably why they had eight as the decisive category, instead of 2 or less. I'm glad I don't know how they would have judged me if they had known.
Well, as Eleanor said, I can do other things. Now, let me see – what are they??

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