A Labour saving life?

Yesterday standing in my kitchen doorway I was shocked to see just how many gadgets there were. Without doing a complete inventory there were, a bread machine, a dishwasher, a slow cooker(barely used), 2 coffee machines and a grinder plus apparatus for stove top coffee, a microwave and the most important(to me anyway) the Washing Machine. All designed to give ease of use, save hard manual labour and make our lives easier.

It seems odd I know to say I was shocked. Surely at least I was there for some of these purchases. It’s not as if they met outside my door in the dead of night, picked the lock and crept quietly into the kitchen waiting to surprise me in the morning! But I think because,( unless you’re moving house) they come into our homes one by one , like stealth ninjas, the impact is lessened.

My maternal Grandmother was born in 1905,and when she was about 14 she went into “service” for a big house. Possibly as a scullery maid. My point is this was only 2 generations ago. I know for a fact that if it were still the norm for the lower classes to be in service that is where I’d be now.

I was born in the early 70’s and I still remember my mother using a twin tub washing machine and squeezing the clothes through a wooden mangle. These latest designs are innovative and each new model supersedes its predecessors but they still have to be operated by a human being.

My husband has a theory about Washing Machines. Before they became reasonably cheap and nearly  everyone had them, most people had 1 or 2 sets of clothes. Their everyday wear and their Sunday best. Since the introduction of the Washing Machine and the lowering of prices of clothes most people have whole wardrobes full. In fact some have so many clothes they have their own dressing rooms. We no longer have to visit Launderettes to wash our clothes because we can do it at home. In my Grandmother’s time they had to set aside a whole day for washing because it was so labour intensive. There was the pounding of clothes and rinsing and wringing and then pegging out. And what were you to do if it rained or fell off the line?

The thing is , the dishwasher has to be loaded, the plates have to be scraped and rinsed and then all put away again after. Once you factor in all that time there’s not  much difference between washing them by hand. They really come into their own on big occasions, like Christmas , where it would take you at least 5 lots of washing by hand to finish. That’s with help!

When I look at the gadgets we have, some bought on a whim and some, if the truth were known because our friends have them, a few of them gather dust and have very little use. We hang onto them though because they might come in handy. Then guilt sets in about not using them. My worry is that we buy these things, not to save time but because it makes us feel good. It fills some sort of need. We have so much in the West and  even so much in my house I almost want to weep because we want more and more and we buy into the lie that possessions will satisfy us.

I don’t mean to be judgemental. These things are there for a purpose and can be a real help in running a home but if we only have them because we are keeping up with the Jones’ then its wrong. What no one seems to realise is that the Jones buy everything on credit and they’re up to their eyes in debt!

Be careful what you wish for. We live in a very nice rented house. We can’t get onto the property ladder for various reasons so we rent. This is probably the nicest house we have ever lived in as a family but because it has 3 storeys and 4 bedrooms and a multitude of other rooms I seem to spend all my time tidying and trying to keep on top of it. Seems the more space we have the more things we accumulate.

It upsets me  that I’m so busy tidying I don’t get to spend as much time as I would like with the kids. I don’t want to live in a show home but I can’t stand it looking awful either. And there would be no point in hiring a cleaner(even if we could afford one) because I know I would go around tidying before they came so they didn’t gossip about me! I need to find a level of balance and I’m trying to.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with having things or gadgets. I like the latest technology as much as the next person. I do think though that things were simpler when the average family only had one tv and actually spent time together. Some of the most fun times we have as a family are when we are away camping, no tv, no electrical gadgets just some board games and each other. Its wonderful, probably because we don’t do it all the time.

I saw a sad picture recently of a family, at a dinner table, all on their phones and gadgets no one talking to each other. This is why the family unit is eroding,we don’t know what is going on in each others lives. This was only one picture and a lot of homes are not like that but quality family time is definitely on the decrease.

Technology can lead us away from God too. Never before have we had so many ways to read our bibles, or listen to Christian music or study Christian books. We can even spend all day watching God tv if we choose. But  we need to get back to basics. If I go on the computer or my phone I may have good intentions but  I can spend hours online just browsing and filling my mind with rubbish.

If I used the time instead to get somewhere quiet and pray and talk to God and read my bible I would get much more benefit.

I’m thankful we have these gadgets, mostly they make my life easier but I wish we could go back to simpler times .

Till next time.

PS Don’t even get me started on the Washing Machines incessant beeping!

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