I always hated to vacuum. Cleaning bathrooms was okay, and I forgave the oven. The vacuum cleaner, on the other hand, was my enemy. However, if the floors became too crunchy or dust rolled when we walked, there was no hiding my housekeeping habits. So, dutifully, I vacuumed every Thursday. My, it was dull!

Then I remembered milk money.

After years of expensive education, a friend was given the opportunity to teach children—to help them discover themselves, to guide them toward a better and happier world of their own making, to assist them as they grew into today’s hope for tomorrow … and to collect their milk money.

One day she confided, with a note of frustration, “I was not trained merely to collect milk money. My time is too valuable to bother with such nonprofessional trivia.” I agreed.

Then, finally, I saw the application: Every job has its milk money. People do lick a stamp now and then, or wait for a bus, or balance the checkbook, or creep through a report that should have died in committee. Or vacuum. None is fun—but not worth becoming a grouch over, either. Perhaps we need the menial to help us more fully enjoy the creative. Better yet, perhaps we need to discover ways to make the menial become creative.

Surely we will find more satisfaction by approaching our homemaking careers with an attitude of joy than by indulging in the counting and recounting of milk money. Martha Croasmun, Monticello, Utah

Photography by Jed A. Clark