By: Revanche

Scent triggers and domesticity

May 12, 2010

“When did you become Martha Stewart?”

One of my friends was suitably impressed by the dinner I prepared over the weekend and that I cook as much as I do each week.  The evidence of my evolution into frugal domesticity was rather striking this weekend, come to think.

I came home from work, did more work at home, made a three course dinner with dessert, served brunch, second lunch, picked up supplies for my friends the intrepid painters, washed, dried and folded a combination  of laundry for three, and made dinner again. 

As I suspected, several long years ago, supporting my family financially isn’t all there is to running a household. Housekeeping is hard work.  I can’t even begin to imagine how much more challenging this would be combined with having children.  And pets?  No wonder my parents resisted our pleas for dogs so long.  Every little bit eats away at your previous time and energy.

The extra effort in having guests who are old friends would be well worth the company alone.  In this case, it’s more than repaid because they’ve cheerfully taken on the task of painting the apartment (not my plan or idea, but I can’t get into that right now).  All I’ve got to do is provide support services like cooking and cleaning so they can handle the stuff my shoulder and various other joints won’t allow. Our friendships don’t require currency but it’s nice that we’re good about exchanging favors like random chores or emergency break-up moving services.

As I was folding our laundry, the thought occurred to me that the next time I buy detergent and fabric softener – a long while from now as I only use a wee dash at a time, I need a different scent. Something about this combination reminds me of someone I was once fond of but am no longer.  It’s strange how something as simple as a fragrance can influence future shopping habits.

7 Responses to “Scent triggers and domesticity”

  1. Jersey Mom says:

    Certain fragrances trigger my memory as well. I believe studies have been done on that.

    Managing a household does take a lot of time; even more when kids, pets, and house are involved. Not only do I cook, clean, and do the laundry, I also manage finances, manage/DIY maintenance of the house and property, chuffer the children around, teach the children, and much more…

  2. I’m a firm believer that the sense of smell triggers memories. I remember walking down a street and smelling someone’s laundry and it reminded me of the ex because that’s probably the same kind that his mom used.

    My mom managed the household when I was growing up, and looking back, I can’t imagine how she did it. She cooked, cleaned, laundry, gardened, and much more. She took care of myself, my 2 sisters, and she also ran a home daycare and cared for 2 small children and up to 4 toddlers. She also taught us Mandarin on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 to 4:30. 🙂

  3. I actually just like walking down the soap aisle in supermarkets because the scent is so refreshing.

  4. Shelley says:

    Since we line-dry, I can’t remember the last time I used fabric softener. Come to think of it, I do miss the nice smells! I’m impressed with all that energy. And thank you for the statement that housework is hard work; it’s not just me then. There’s a real reason I’m tired!

  5. Scents are amazing. Sweet pine tree smells remind me of my grandparents and just the smell of my husband’s after shave makes me smile.

    Running a household is tough. More power to you!

  6. It surely is a lot of work. Undervalued work, IMHO.

  7. Revanche says:

    @Jersey Mom: I wish there was a way to harness that power for something more useful …

    I still don’t know how you manage it!

    @aspiringminimalist: I wonder if giving birth/taking care of children triggers the Super Mom gene.

    @InvestingNewbie: There’s a good reason we have Bath and Body Works and other such stores. I’m a total sucker for delicious scents.

    @Shelley: Absolutely there’s a real reason you’re tired! I line dry a lot more than I used to but there are some things I’m still picky about wanting dried. Towels don’t dry well here, they smell musty.

    @Crystal: I love the smell of sweet pine.

    @Funny: I meant to reference your post about that, actually. Or wait, did yours come first or mine? I think yours did.

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