alright, I’ll admit it. I am a fairly lousy housekeeper. Daily, I struggle with the notion that being the full-time parent inevitably leads to shouldering the lion’s share of the cleaning and stuff.
And this makes it very, very easy for me to slide into self pity. All too often, houswork = surly girlie.
Because let’s face it; I’d rather be reading, gardening, exercising, napping, chatting, writing …
So here are my strategies for attempting to keep the house hygienic whilst staying upbeat:
- Distract. Have an appropriate soundtrack
I am a big fan of podcasts. This American Life, RadioLab, The Moth, and Ideas are just some of my faves. I also reckon groovy dance music (and at this time of the year, Christmas songs) make it all much more palatable.
- Do not distract. Be present. Take an extra-sensory approach
I once read the most glorious love-letter about the act of washing the dishes, written by a Buddhist teacher. The feel of the bubbles, the warm water … by slowing it down and embracing the textures, this guy LOVED to wash the dishes. Then I heard someone talk about how she loves to vaccuum the floor – because of the sound of all that crud whizzing up the hose. And I’ll admit that I adore the smell of a particular brand of polishing oil and the way I imagine my wood furniture would feel after being doused in it. If tables were capable of emotion, that is. Now I’m experimenting with this: I look for the sensory gifts in the act of house-cleaning. Paradoxically, this was all the better for this stunning episode of aforementioned podcast, Ideas… enjoy “the Seduction of Scent”.
- Reframing: make it a gift for Future You
I passionately love having clean sheets on my bed, equal only to how much I dislike changing them. This is one activity where I try to reframe the act that I don’t enjoy and instead focus on the delectable outcome. (“I’m going to LOVE hopping into bed tonight!”)
- Find play where you can
Can you clean your kitchen floor whilst balancing on one foot? Is it possible to pick up all the superfluous paraphernalia that’s lying around the living room whilst crawling? How many pirouettes can you perform before the spin cycle finishes?
- Can’t someone else do it?Like Homer Simpson says …
Seriously, though. I want my kids to know how to look after themselves, how to be good flatmates. Little Girl is 22 months old and can put away her own laundry, Big Girl (freshly ten) is the Queen of Recycling. There isn’t much hubby cannot do. When I was a kid my jobs were: dusting the shelves in the kitchen, polishing the brass taps and maintaining a steady supply of fresh ice. Odd, but effective!
How do you cope with the housework thang when you’d rather be geekin’?