Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Sleepy Baby c.1910 - Mary Cassatt (1845 - 1926)

Mary Cassatt is well known for her pastels and oil paintings of mothers and children involved in the rhythms of every day life. Cassatt beautifully captures the deep love mothers have for their children, as well as the warmth, comfort and security children feel in the presence of their mothers. It is almost as if we are intruding on an intimate moment between mother and child.

My mother passed away over 20 years ago. I am always reminded of her by the lovely expressions on the faces Cassatt's mothers. These are perfect replicas of my mother's expression while having dinner with her family or throwing a party for friends. She had created something beautiful and brought joy into our lives. Her family, her home and her friends were her life's work.

Although my mother died before I was married or had children, she passed on to me and my sister what she considered the foundation for keeping a beautiful home - a schedule/routine. During the week, establish a time and place for all basic household tasks. By keeping to this routine, family life runs much more smoothly than it otherwise would. Children know when laundry will be done - or for my boys, when they should do laundry. Everyone knows when grocery shopping takes place, when sheets are changed and when dinner is served. A routine is especially helpful in the case of a smaller home, where bathrooms and bedrooms are shared.

Basic tasks to include in your household routine/schedule:
  • grocery shopping
  • laundry
  • changing bed linen
  • dinner time
  • bed time for younger children
So how does my weekly schedule look?
  • Sunday - Grocery Shopping - Plan for two hours round trip to the grocery store and back, then another hour to put away groceries. I usually cook a very simple meal on Sundays, because I'm exhausted after the grocery store!
  • Monday - Bed linens are changed every two weeks - But don't beat yourself up if it slips to three weeks or more. No one is going to die because of dirty linen! And I usually have pasta for dinner on Mondays because its easy.
  • Tuesday - No big chores on Tuesday, but I cook a more substantial dinner. Usually chicken.
  • Wednesday - No big chores and I cook a simple dinner or we have sandwiches. At this point I have cooked three meals in a row and I'm ready for a break.
  • Thursday - No big chores, but I cook a larger meal. My boys enjoy beef, so I often try to serve that on Thursdays.
  • Friday - Take a break! Pizza for dinner and no chores.
  • Saturday - Clean the house and do laundry. This is a big day for chores, but I prefer to get everything done in one day. Usually I work with the kids cleaning the house and doing laundry until 3:00 pm. Then we are done and ready to entertain guests or go out. The laundry is usually not all folded, but that happens a little at a time during the week.
As for dinner, we eat very late, usually at 8:30 or 9:00. I always tell the children we are on European time! When they were younger, they ate and were in bed by 8:00. But now that they are teenagers, we eat as a family after they are done with sports, after school activities and homework.

Now back to Mothers Day. Those of you who visit the the Jewel Box Home website, know that I created a cocktail - The Genny - in honor of my mother, the original Jewel Box diva. So for Mother's Day, treat yourself to a Genny and give yourself credit for all the sacrifices you make and love you give without asking anything in return!

The Genny

Pomegranate Liqueur (I prefer Pama)
Strawberry for garnish

Fill a fluted glass 3/4th full with champagne.
Top the glass off with 1/4th pomegranate liqueur.
Garnish with a strawberry and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Several years after the original post - in N.California it has been a status symbol for some time - Steve Jobs lived in a darling house down the street from some friends of mine- probably no more than 2400 sq.ft. Perfect, of course, but small