In spite of the “rush of modern life,” a woman who has a home ought to be willing to give some part of her time to its daily supervision. Eternal vigilance is the price of everything worth having. If she gave this she would not have so many tales of woe to relate about the laziness, neglectfulness, and stupidity of her cook and housemaids. There is not a single housewife to-day who has not had many bitter experiences. One who desires information upon this subject has only to call on the nearest friend.
To the uninterested person, to the onlooker, the helplessness of the woman who is at the head of the home, her inability to cope with her domestic difficulties, is often comic, sometimes pathetic, sometimes almost tragic. The publications of the day have caricatured the situation until it has become an outworn jest. The present system of housekeeping can no longer stand. One of two things must occur. Either the housewife must adopt business principles in ruling her household, or she will find before many more years elapse there will be no longer any woman willing to place her neck under the domestic yoke.
If the principles set forth in the following pages can be popularized in a comprehensive plan of which all the parts can be thoroughly understood both by the housewife and her employee, ignorance and inefficiency in the home will be presently abolished.
The present unsatisfactory condition of domestic labor in private houses is not confined to any special city or country; it is universal. Each year the difficulty of obtaining women to do housework seems to increase and the demand is so much greater than the supply, that ignorant and inefficient employees are retained simply because it is impossible to find others more competent to replace them.
There is hardly a home to-day where, at one time or another, the housewife has not gone through the unenviable experience of being financially able and perfectly willing to pay for the services of some one to help her in her housekeeping duties, and yet found it almost impossible to get a really competent and intelligent employee. As a rule, those who apply for positions in housework are grossly ignorant of the duties they profess to perform, and the well trained, clever, and experienced workers are sadly in the minority.