Saturday, May 16, 2009

On Housework

Daryl Hoole suggests,

Some of us consider housework the enemy, convincing ourselves that we would be happier without it. If the truth were known, however, housework is our friend and the ideal "medicine" for much of what ails us.

There are comforts in cleaning. There are healing powers in housework. There is deep satisfaction in doing one's duty. Character is built through hard work. The Lord said to Adam, "Cursed shall be the ground for thy sake" (Moses 4:23).


[I]t is not the work that makes us tired, it is our negative feelings toward it such as irritation, resentment, anger, frustration, ingratitude and self-pity.
(Hoole, 132,134).

While my "testimony" of housework may not be this strong, I do like me a clean house. When I'm pregnant, I warn Jon that chores will not get done regularly for the next year or so. And we can just forget about dinner altogether.

But now that my human-ness is returning, I'm trying harder to keep it clean. I'm not one to keep to a schedule. In fact, I hate them. I usually try my hardest to sabotage them.

But in this case, I think I need a little bit of predictability. Now I have a specific chore for each day of the week, and then Saturday, I prepare the house for the Sabbath by doing a quick wipe down and spot check. I'm actually surprised at how little there is to do every day if I keep to this routine. Saturday then becomes virtually chore-free, more restful and a day to be together or do larger projects with Jonny home.

I basically just decided that I feel better about myself, my day, and my surroundings when I stop putting it off and just do it. Then I eliminate the inner struggle altogether. It's amazing how much a mental battle can take out of you.

I read Bill Cosby's book, Fatherhood last year. (A good, light read, by the way.) He said his son had a hard time keeping up with his school work. Nothing they did as parents could change his bad habits. He had a friend who was a pilot and Cosby asked him to talk to his son. The pilot related flying to homework (I think it applies to housework as well). He said, "It takes a lot more fuel to keep taking off and landing, then it does to just keep the jet in the air."


I liked this thought. A few Saturdays ago I asked Jon to help me clean the house really well so we could have a good starting point for my new chore schedule. I feel like ever since we moved into this house and had Felix, the entire house has never been all clean at once. I just felt like I couldn't get ahead. I was surprised how long it took us to clean the house in its entirety. Now that I'm doing a little every day, I am truly surprised at how much less effort it takes to keep it clean than to get it clean.

Once I figure out how to keep it clean myself, I'll start finding tasks for the girls to do. I'm trying to implement sustainable life-changes. Baby steps...

I hope I can keep this up!


  1. That's awesome. I keep trying to implement the schedule thing, but I have no good starting point, just like you did. Problem is Carl has so many projects going on right now I hate to take him away from those other priorities, like getting grass planted in our backyard. Maybe when the weather turns to crap again. It usually does Memorial Day weekend.

  2. I've discovered the same thing recently, with having to keep the house very clean while it's for sale. I thought it would be terrible. And it IS a lot of work, but you know what? I am a happier woman when my house is clean. So I guess it's worth the effort, at least for me.

  3. Ok, ok, I'll go clean the bathroom. I was hoping to avoid it by blog hopping, but oh well. :)

  4. Maybe Pres. Uchtdorf will use that analogy in his next talk :) It's soooo true. I have to say I still ABSOLUTELY LOVE my "no-going-to-bed-until-the-dishes-are-done rule." And I am proud to say that my goal is still going strong. The great thing is that Roger knows it's so important to me that every once in a while he'll do them for me! Ahhhh. Talking my love language.