• Simone Dale

Domestic Dignity in Lockdown

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

Domestic preoccupation isn’t really a sign of the death of love. It’s what we start to get involved with when love has succeeded brilliantly. We will be reconciled to the reality of love when we can accept without rancour the genuine dignity of the ironing board.” – School of Life


This quote comes from an absolutely wonderful article on www.theschooloflife.com called “Romantic Realism” which, along with Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love, and A General Theory of Love, Lewis, Amini & Lannon, has revolutionised how I see and experience love.

I wanted to share it with you all because I figured nothing is going to test love like 21 days stuck in a house together without so much as a run or a wine/beer with your girl/guy friends to let off steam.


My favourite of ‘the many sorrows’ of love is section five: “there is so much laundry”. I reckon laundry, dishes, sweeping and mopping the floor, taking out the rubbish (or forgetting to), cleaning the toilet, and the wiping of kitchen counters (and making sandwiches on them) are all the potential makings of the home equivalent of World War II when in lockdown.


There is so much to learn from this essay but the key thing for me was the “dignity of the ironing board” bit. Domestic chores take up a fair portion of one’s life. More so now than ever for the average privileged South African. And they need to be given the respect they deserve. They need a clear vision (e.g. clean home, happy family) and desired outcomes set upfront, appropriately apportioned roles and responsibilities, and regular meetings to assess progress, change track if necessary, and make sure all the family members are happy and pulling their weight. End goal: Happy, peaceful, clean home. And we need that now more than ever.


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