I talk about housework motivation a lot, but it’s because I’m always looking for some. I know that what I focus on grows, so I need to focus on the good things and that inspires me to do even better.
Today I found it in the form of imagining what I would most like my home to be. An elegant sanctuary immediately came to mind. I also decided to rename ‘housework’ to ‘housekeeping. ‘Housekeeping’ sounds much better to me than ‘housework’ so I decided I am not going to say the HW word anymore.
But ‘housekeeping’, that is a word I don’t feel too bad about. Housekeeping sounds crisp, clean, efficient and inviting. It makes me think of a luxury hotel with their housekeeping staff making everything look sparkling, polished and neat. It’s funny how different words can make you feel. Because housework has the word work in it, I resist it and eventually do it begrudgingly.
I also need to change my beliefs around housekeeping. I want it to be fun and enjoyable, because believe it or not, even when I am doing something like cleaning the toilet, if I am in the right frame of mind I am happy to do it.
But for the longest time I have not been in the right frame of mind. This produces resistance and then guilt when I don’t do much or any, because I do want a home that feels good, and I feel so much better when I’ve been pottering and cleaning.
And it’s not like I don’t have time. If I apply the time I spend mucking around not being productive on the computer or lounging around needlessly snacking, there is plenty of time to make our home an elegant sanctuary.
I thought I’d try doing Gillian Riley’s four step method that she uses with food (I wrote about it here), because it seems like it would apply to everything.
Step one is naming something – what I am feeling now is guilt and resistance towards doing my housekeeping.
Step two is to let myself know I can do whatever I want, whenever I want – I don’t need to do housekeeping now or ever, I can go the rest of my life without doing any housekeeping if I choose to. However I also need to accept the consequences of avoiding housekeeping, which are things like:
Our home will be dirty, messy and unpleasant to be in
It will be embarrassing if someone comes around
I will find it hard to find things when I need them
The energy won’t feel good
People may judge me
We won’t enjoy spending time at home
I will feel lazy and like a failure as a wife and partner in this marriage
I can imagine a downwards spiral of momentum if I don’t clean our home
Step three is to allow myself to feeling the resistance towards housekeeping. Allow myself to be in it and feel it through. Don’t resent it or feel guilty. Just be with it.
Step four is to remind myself how good I feel when I have organised and cleaned our home. Remember all the ways my life is better when I keep up to date with my housekeeping.
How I feel after a day of ‘home-loving’:
Satisfied with a job well done
Our house feels peaceful
I am proud for Paul to come home
I have no guilt
I discover things to use that I forgot I had
I have plenty of time and enthusiasm for cooking dinner because I know what ingredients we have on hand (from organising the pantry, fridge and freezer)
I tidy, clean and reorganize areas that are bothering me, one every so often. I get the thrill of something new which means I am happy with what I have rather than thinking I’d like to buy something new
Not being so black-and-white about things has helped too. I don’t need to clean every single thing in the house on one day, that’s just ridiculous. Having my core tasks that I do each week means everything else gets done a little bit at a time when it needs to. Sometimes a chore might go a bit longer and really need tending to and that’s ok too. I’m sure if I compared my home to someone down the road it would be cleaner. And isn’t that a crazy thing to think to make me feel better?
If I’m ok with it then it’s ok. And I don’t want to make this an excuse to live in filth, it’s not that. I’m not sure if we are more cleanliness-phobic than our ancestors and really, it’s a never-ending task that you could work all day on and never have it finished if you allowed it to rule your life like that.
As long as I feel peace and ease when at home, I’m happy. Plus I have been remembering that I will get done today everything that needs to get done.
What about you, do you have as tortured a relationship with housekeeping as I seem to?