Saturday, April 20, 2013

Division of Labor between Me, Myself & I

“Division of Labor – who does what when deadlines loom?” Well, as I said to Jeffe Kennedy when this week’s topic came up, there’s only me and The Cats, which means there is no division of labor because I Do It All LOL. Yes, I will admit the cats guard the house against vermin and pests and sleep to keep their strength up. And that’s a fulltime job – you know those pesky vermin, always poised to swoop if the Cats don’t pay attention!

I’m kind of the bookend to James’s Monday post, in that I’ve been a widow for many years, so I’m very experienced at this household chores and other deadlines thing all being on my shoulders. My late husband and I had kind of the standard split, I think, where he handled the outdoors and anything requiring a trip to the hardware store or the garage, and I was Mrs. Inside. We split the parenting duties pretty much down the middle and he could cook while I could bake. We both worked outside the home  as well and he had hobbies and I had my writing (which is not a hobby).

But when you flash forward to my life now, all that falls away. So I went out and Googled for quotes about division of labor. Turns out that’s a heavy duty economics concept (“Economic history is the development of the division of labor” said Ludwig von Mises, a noted Economist). and I always loathed economics classes so…next thing I knew I was reading quotes from Erma Bombeck and laughing my head off. That’s kind of what happens to any author when they set forth to do research. We start looking up one thing and something else shiny comes along and we end up in ancient Egypt. Well, I do anyway LOL.

Speaking of Ancient Egypt, Bastet the Cat Goddess became a kind of patron of the home, but she focused more on singing and dancing. (See paragraph one on the feline approach to life!)

My attitude toward housework has always been pretty lackadaisical, partly because my mother and grandmother were fanatical about housework. So I rebelled. I do the basics required. As my idol, Ms. Bombeck once said, “My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be.  No one else cares.  Why should you? “

I think Mark Twain and I might have had some things in common: “Have a place for everything and keep the thing somewhere else; this is not a piece of advice, it is merely a custom,” was his advice. Or this from A. A. Milne – “One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. “ YES! Of course the things I’m excited to find are rarely the thing I started out searching for…
Actually I approach the management of my time via the To Do List. I have even been known to add things to the List, so I can have the pleasure of crossing them off.  I have a really bad habit of doing one thing and getting distracted and trying to do something else at the same time, thereby getting neither thing more than 80% completed. I have to be quite disciplined. I also allot myself chunks of time – “I will spend fifteen minutes sorting that box I moved in a year ago and never unpacked.” Usually I end up spending more time on the task and actually completing the assignment, which is a good thing.

I’m very disciplined at the day job and I’m highly organized in my writing. I don’t miss deadlines and I don’t do too much faffing (a word from Downunder that I adore) when I’m supposed to be getting words on the paper.

I’ll let Rudyard Kipling have the last word here: “You sometimes see a woman who would have made a Joan of Arc in another century and climate, threshing herself to pieces over all the mean worry of housekeeping.”

(My Cats' view of themselves no doubt!)


  1. Love the Kipling quote - I really think that's true.

  2. I'm with Erma. As long as it doesn't block my path to the food, I can let it ride. Now, if the food gets up and walks away, that'd be a different story.

  3. A good post...really. Just the tiger picture pretty much stole the show. Love his face!