Getting Motivated To Clean House – A Homemaker's Story

Jill and Tawra from Living ON A Dime just sent me a great story to share with you. It's called “When Queens Ride By” and was written in 1926.

The story is about the big difference an organized and clean home can make in our life. It's so easy to let decluttering, straightening up and cleaning go undone when there are so many other “more important” things to do. Read this beautiful story and find out why that may not be a good idea.

Jill wrote a very inspiring introduction to the story that shows how the lessons learned still hold true today. I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I have.

When Queens Ride By

You are welcome to share this free ebook with family and friends. Email it to anyone who could use a little inspiration during tough times.


Susanne – The Hillbilly Housewife

Patti Winker - May 7, 2011

Thank you, Ladies, for sharing this wonderful story.

I suspect there will be some debate over the wife’s sudden awareness that her ‘job’ may be to support the family first by being a good homemaker. It’s a hard concept to swallow for many women who have fought to work side-by-side with their husbands on equal footing – doing the same work, being of equal importance.

But, this story illustrates such a great lesson in life. When you’re in a family, there has got to be someone who is creating the Home, the Hearth, whatever you want to call it. Without someone creating this Haven, be it the man or woman, the Home just becomes a house… and not a nice one.

Jennie’s change in attitude, her sudden recognition that putting on a positive front, a fresh, smiling face, and a warm welcome, changed everything. It reminds me of the ‘fake it til you make it’ way of thinking. Act like you’re going to achieve your dreams, your goals, and everyone, including you, will believe it!

If you just barely stay ahead of the rotting tomatoes, maybe you should just let them rot. Spend that energy instead creating more energy, creating more happiness, and it will come back to you… maybe even tenfold. Then, the next time the tomatoes need to be picked, you’ll feel the joy of the harvest instead of the drudgery.

That’s my two cents. I wasn’t comfortable at first reading this story, I must admit. I felt trapped right along with Jennie in her toil. But, it sure was a lesson! Thanks again, Ladies, for sharing.

Judy - May 7, 2011

Absolutely loved this story! Tells you that money isn’t always the answer .

Paul - May 7, 2011

I loved this!! Made my day as I look at my counter filled with dirty dishes. Gave me some much needed inspiration to plow through with a smile on my face for the rest of the day.


crazyliblady - May 7, 2011

I kind of wonder why the kids weren’t helping out with picking tomatoes, apples, milking, and housework. I grew up doing all sorts of things around my house, including the family’s laundry, ironing, and dishes beginning when I was 9. They are members of the family, the team, just as the mom and dad are and can contribute something. This would have helped the mother a lot.

    Jeanne G. - May 19, 2011

    The reason the kids weren’t helping was that the oldest was in school for the first time (probably first grade), the other two were younger. You say that you started helping out at 9– these littles were obviously not that old

Jody - May 7, 2011

Thank you, for this wonderful story!

Denise - May 8, 2011

Reading Jennie’s story inspired me to get dressed in a skirt, dig out the rose scented lotion and perfume set from under the sink and pretty myself up for my beloved husband. I would love to share this story with readers on my blog.

Jane Ann - May 9, 2011

WOW! Fabulous story. For me it is such a reality check. We as women can get really sucked into living in the pond of despair. What an attitude change can do. This story convicted me to keep focused on what really is important for our husbands to hear and see from us.

Susan - May 10, 2011

Sometimes, we as parents don’t want to put our children through the same things we went through as children, this could be why she didn’t put hers to work helping pick tomatoes or milking. But, are we wise in not teaching them the value of work? In todays society it is easier to sit them in front of the TV, (there is even a Baby Channel on satelite TV now.) then to expel the energy to request that they empty the dishwasher. Another thing that is obvious is that she has taken on more than she can accomplish at one time, which can be very discouraging when you look at the whole instead of just focusing on one thing at a time. This is a very inspiring story, thank you for sharing it. It has caused me to reflect on many things.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - May 10, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Susan. I’ve gotten many positive reactions to this article. It can cause a few ruffled feathers as you read it, but seems to come together and make perfect sense as the story plays out. Very interesting, to say the least. I’m glad you found it inspiring.

    tinytexans - May 12, 2011

    Regarding the children helping: The oldest child was just beginning school, most likely 1st grade, as they didn’t have kindergarten in those days. So, he would have been 6 years old which means the other children were much younger. This iwould explain why she had to do so much on her own.

Bobbi - May 11, 2011

I really enjoyed the story, and can definitely see how I can apply this to my life. Thanks for sharing, now I’m going to show this to my sister!

Joyce from Loris - May 12, 2011

As a die hard independent working woman all my life, I have to say that I loved this story. Yes, I have always been independent, but it was because I HAD NO CHOICE. So, I was not offended by the reference to taking care of home and hearth, husband and children, as the roll of the woman. I agree. When our morals and values in this nation have sunk to level that we witness today, with the outrageous pure “nastiness” of television, I believe that the women who decided to work outside of the home, or had no choice as I did, have contributed to this situation. It is so simple to believe that God created man for a role, and then created woman for her own role. It’s sweet, it works and it benefits the whole family, and especially the children. Thanks for sharing this story, as, Thanks to God, I am now in that “role”, and love every second of it!

tinytexans - May 12, 2011

I have mixed feeling about this story, too. Men often reach for the stars without proper planning and investment and the wife is left with all the responsibilities of picking up the pieces plus caring for the children and the home. This is a lovely romantic story and the kind I enjoy reading. However, I’ve been in the trenches for many years and don’t find myself easily inspired. After 15 years of homemaking while we struggled financially, I’ve recently come to terms with the reality of today’s world and am having to look for a job. Meanwhile, my femals relatives and friends who have worked all these years, are financially secure and have lovely homes. My friends who have been homemakers like me are poor and barely getting by. But, I hope this story is helpful to younger women who are just starting out. I’m sure that some people do find success as full-time homemakers.

Michelle - May 12, 2011

This story was hugely inspirational to me! Thank you so much for making it available for free!

Stacey - May 12, 2011

I cried when I read this story.
She is ME.
I’ve worked PT outside of our home most of my 17-year marriage, before and after babies, when we made the decision to homeschool my oldest son, and even now that ALL four of my sons are homeschooled. I literally get up, work with the boys all morning/early afternoon, leave the house at 2:30 and do not return some nights till 8:30 or 9:00 if I pick them up from an activity.

My husband works nightshift, and I am sure you can imagine how much sleep he gets. We’ve never needed childcare this way…but we have almost no relationship anymore…which I know he HATES.

I’m exhausted, and I have begged him to let me quit. I would rather try to “squeeze by” on his salary (which is much better than it was 17 years ago), than keep trying to live a dual life. He agreed that if we have most of our remaining debt paid off, I could when August came around….then it was Christmas…and now he’s saying we’ll talk about it and maybe it will be next June. I can’t make it that long. I’m stressed to the breaking point now.

BUT I have printed out this story to remind me to concentrate on the things that matter…and I’ll leave the rest in God’s hands. Thank you so much for posting it!

Marla - May 12, 2011

Wonderful story. Very inspirational. But it is also hard work to make a house a home and i’m sure it was even harder in 1926. I really enjoyed it. Thank you 1

Audrey - May 12, 2011

I read this story twice because I enjoyed it so much! I also shared it with my mom, and she told me about her mom and all she did on the farm. Whew! Talk about a ton of work!! She did keep up with the home, cooked 3 huge delicious meals a day, and helped her husband with the 4 am milking. She also was in charge of the garden, canning, picking wild blackberries, and at times she helped in the fields. She never got to do anything social but Sunday morning church. She also sewed and quilted (she was very artistic) and painted. I really wish I could’ve known her. Her heart failed her early…probably from the very hard work she endured each day. What’s amazing though is how she still had a positive attitude. Mom remembers her waking up the girls (mom and her sister) in the mornings by singing “Oh what a beautiful morning” really loudly from the kitchen as she cooked breakfast. It’s really amazing to me, and goes right along with this story on attitude. 

My first reactions to the story were to grumble along with Jennie! I could totally empathize with her. And I understood her bitterness as she watched the shiny cars drive by. I also understood her shame as she encountered the pretty stranger. I’ve totally been there! Sometimes it really does all feel so overwhelming! 

Now, what I was NOT expecting about this story is what ended up happening. I thought she would just be challenged to change her attitude and somehow “do it all.” I didn’t foresee her being challenged to actually drop some of the work and then call it helping her husband (I guess I really follow exactly how Jennie felt through all this!). But I got really excited as she started cleaning the house and preparing a nice dinner for her family. It felt so right! And the rest of the story is just icing on the cake! I did find myself wishing I could see what daily changes she would make about the outside work and I want to know more about how it affects her family and the farm! But I have a feeling she learned how to manage her home more efficiently. I just have a good feeling that this couple figured it out and ended up running a successful farm. :-)

    The Hillbilly Housewife - May 13, 2011

    In addition to all those reactions, Audrey, I also warmed up considerably to the husband when he sat down to do a bit of rethinking and calculating, too. I also liked how he was wise enough to go right along with the pleasantries of the evening dinner as if they happened every day. Between Jennie and her husband, that banker didn’t stand a chance! I was on pins and needles hoping that the husband didn’t give anything away or worse, get angry at Jennie for not tending to the chores as usual. I’m so glad I could share this story with you and all my readers. It is rather an emotional roller-coaster, isn’t it?

Heather Cook - May 13, 2011

Have wanted to read this story for a long time. Thank you for having it free. Kinda remindes you of the saying “If momma aint happy nobodys happy”. I am a stay at home homeschooling mom and we have had many times of struggle financially. We have always believed it was my place to stay at home and take care of the house and children , HOWEVER even though that is what I want I have not always been cheerful doing it. This gives me inspiration to have a more cheerful attitude and be more organized. It really does make a difference when things are clean and tidy and the house is running smoothly.. Thank you for the reminder

Jody - May 13, 2011

I love this story.
I don’t think it is about working outside the home v. in the home. Jennie already has a full time job. Jennie and her husband farm. Running a farm is a job. People work off the farm sometimes now, but not in the 1920s not so much. Jennie will never be a full-time homemaker because she lives on a farm. She has just come to the understanding that she is going to have to do things differently.

The story is about organization, priorities and understanding the impact that caring for a home and children properly has on the morale of the family. One success will lead to more success. Despite having a job outside the home EVERYBODY has at least a part-time in the home, unless you employ someone to do your cooking, laundry, cleaning and child care. Today, all family members must pitch in especially if both parents work outside the home.

When I first read this story I was really scared when the nicely dressed woman showed up because I thought she was from Child Protective Services. In my job, I see the results every day of families whose skills in these areas are lacking and it is not pretty. Children suffer deeply from chaos, despite the fact that their parents love them very much and treat them kindly.

When I was in college, one of my instructors would often state that she did not do housework. Other classmates would chime in with the same sentiment as though it would make them sound , I don’t know, more modern or worldly or something. What ridiculous statements. Of course they do housework. Or at least somebody in there household does. Then a classmate with some brains chimed in and said, “Well, I do. I have a baby and I clean my house. When you have a baby, your house should be clean.” Amen.

Fiona - May 13, 2011

I appreciated reading this story and found it an inspiration. Thank you Susanne for sharing this here.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - May 14, 2011

    You are welcome, Fiona. I’m glad you found it inspirational.

Lynn II - May 16, 2011

OMG!! This is my story, like Jennie I changed my whole life and I feel so much better for it! I have spent the last few months *learning* to stop, organize, and cheer up. I have never felt better and so does my better half. I’ve painted the interior of my home, made my own curtains and drapes, proudly show my huband everything I’ve done that day after we have dinner together which I have made.
Working construction for the last 25 years took a toll because I had to work 6/7 days a week 10 to 12 hours a day. When I stopped and said no more, it was tough for a few months, but now it just couldn’t be better. My sweetie is happier. Yes, indeed, sometimes you have to do the right thing for the people you love. Thanks for the story, made my year!! :)

    The Hillbilly Housewife - May 17, 2011

    Thank you so much, Lynn, for sharing the story of your personal journey. I hope it inspires others to take steps to get out from under their burdens. Taking charge, moving forward, making tough decisions – none of it’s easy, as we know. Thank you again.

CRYSTAL - May 17, 2011

I have not been a very religious person but a year ago a friend told me god will show me the way. See my husband and I are much like Jennie and John. Day after day year after year we struggle through. When times are tough I use the “big dog concept” of sound fierce and it will go away. I think this is very similar to queens riding by only much shorter in duration. This story gives me another outlook on life and being a mom. Make it be, even if only in your mind, and it will be. I think God has showed me a way I was missing with this story. See when the newletter came I just didnt have time to read 22 pages. I have far to much to do. But I didnt delete the email and everytime I checked my email there it was. I ever downloaded it once but still didnt have time to read it. After reading some of the comments today I couldnt ignore it anymore. I see it very parallel to the story. Jennie =Me Tomatoes=all the stuff that needs done lady in gray=the story handkerchief=the email Thank you Jill and Hillbillyhousewife tomorrow I will wash my hair to and get on with it with a whole new perspective

    The Hillbilly Housewife - May 17, 2011

    Thank you for taking the time to read the story, Crystal, and for commenting here, as well. I am thrilled to see that the story not only touched a nerve for so many people, but inspired so many folks to take a look at their own burdens. It’s true that often we wait for a sign, something that will point us in the right direction for our life. I happen to believe that we receive knowledge and understanding when the time is right for us to receive it. I’m thankful, and I have to say quite humbled, by the idea that this story has given you a new understanding, maybe even the sign you were looking for. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Crystal.

      CRYSTAL - May 18, 2011

      Last night I went home and truely took the story to heart. I gave my kids a small snack and started dinner cleaning the kitchen up while cooking and interacting with the kids. They were much calmer than when I am running from room to room trying to do things. When my husband got home he was surprised that dinner was almost ready and me and the children were sitting in the living room watching tv relaxing. After dinner I finished the kitchen and did a little decluttering. Something I never get to. My husband leaves for work very early in the morning. When I got up and came down there was a note on the counter how nice the kitchen looked. It made me smile that he noticed. I will try everyday to improve my household one way or another.

CRYSTAL - May 17, 2011

just wanted to share that Jennie’s Journal can be found on if anyone is so moved to continue ready about her life it says it is contination of the original story not the same author but still inspiring for those of you like me just cant let things go with out knowing what goes on next

Cathy - May 18, 2011

I had mixed feelings over this story too. I love old stories like this. They make me feel connected to the past. And I agree with a lot of it.
I don’t think my husband ever cared but I always felt so much happier with a clean, organized, comfortable home. And with myself cleaned up too with more than my sweats and slippers on all day.
But at the same time, I don’t think the practical part of me could just let those tomatoes and apples rot.
I did really enjoy this story though and I thank you for making it available for us.

TexasRose - May 18, 2011

This was a “cute” story, and I believe I do understand the moral of it, but I’m not finding the “inspiration” that others are finding.

I tried to stay at home 23 years ago and my marriage almost crumbled as a result. I was certain that my place was in the home, but my husband believed otherwise (and still does.) My father was the same way.

I’ve never wanted to be rich, famous or anybody’s boss. All I ever wanted was to be a homemaker.

This story reads as if the wife “chose” to do all that work. But it sounds to me like her husband wasn’t able to handle it on his own. Even with both of them working they couldn’t make their mortgage. Why would faking it for one day change anything?

I’m thinking maybe they shouldn’t have been farmers.

Anyway, thanks for sharing it. I really do enjoy your website and emails very much. I know a lot of hard work goes into doing this and I, for one, appreciate it :)

    Kathleen - May 23, 2011

    thank you TexasRose for sharing…i agree…

    Mary - July 28, 2011

    It’s not that she wanted to do the work it’s the idea that by her doing the work it made her husband feel less a man and in turn lowered his ability both mentally and physically. It made him feel worthless and it turned around and did the same for her by making her feel she had to do a mans job. If i had let my husband be the man of the house instead of just doing everything myself I’d still be married. Instead now I “have” to do everything myself and then eat my meals alone, sleep alone, watch tv alone, I think you get the picture everything I do is alone because my husband got tired of me thinking I had to do it all if he didn’t get it done the day it needed done. I never allowed him time I just did it myself and no one can do it all I leared the hard way and it cost me so much more of value than a cart of produce going to rot.

bugladynora - May 19, 2011

Man I feel like Jenny right now. I am trying to take care of the kids, the house and make us some money and I feel like I am barely treading water.

I really enjoyed the story and I do think attitude can make all the difference. God has been speaking to me about this all day, and all week. I admit to struggling a bit lately with trying to do it all. We started a artificial color/artificial flavor free which means home cooked diet and my life has turned into a bit of chaos. My house is trashed and it is really under my skin. It seems like I am working a whole lot and getting not as far as I would like at much of anything. I had decided earlier that I was going to devote some time to each project until it was DONE and hopefully that will help. So far two loaves of bread, a double batch of biscuits and a batch of tortillas done, plus all the dishes that go with that. Now to go finish the floor.

Enjoying your blog and now I need to get started going through your home cooked convenience food ebook. Blessings!

    The Hillbilly Housewife - May 20, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you are on the right track and feeling better about things. Also, thank you so much for purchasing our convenience foods ebook. I hope you find it useful in your quest for the lifestyle you yearn for.

Elizabeth - May 19, 2011

Thank you for sharing this story with us. It just goes to show that things haven’t changed much in 85 years. Men and women still need each other, and prioritzing what’s important still matters. When we take time to keep our homes and ourselves in good order, life goes more smoothly and it’s worth the effort.

Sandy - July 28, 2011

The story would not load when I tried it. I assume it’s supposed to load like a file and then we can read it on line or forward it, yes?

It sounds great and I really would like to read it. Is there another way to get it?


Mary - July 28, 2011

I loved this book I just wish I had received it about 2 yrs ago, if I had it might have saved my marriage. I hope that all the women young and old will learn the lessons offered in this wonderful little story about “real” everyday life and how it effects everyone in the home. I’m going to print out copies, bind them and give as gifts to the women I know for Christmas this year. I hope God blesses each and everyone who reads this, and thank you ladies for your wonderful site and all the help you offer.

Jessica - August 4, 2011

Love this story, it’s EXACTLY what I needed right now!! :)

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