Woe to me. I am faced with yet another sink full of dishes. As you can probably guess, I have chosen not to do them in light of a brief opportunity to sit at my desk and write. But alas, they will still be present when I choose to return to my place of residency at the kitchen sink.
Sometimes I can actually envision myself in that role of the romanticized homemaker, Betty Crocker baking cookies while sweeping the floor. Housekeeping is fulfilling and fun! Lately, I’ve just been feeling drudgery. I feel self-pity. “Why me?” I could be doing a dozen other things besides cleaning the kitchen for the 6th time today. Some of these things I’d rather do could be fun, selfish-type things, like looking at Pinterest or reading a book. I’d even rather do worthy “mommy” things like reading to my preschooler or even. . .finger painting. But instead, I am faced with yet another boring, household chore.
Luckily Providentially, I have been through this many, many times before. I have felt this way probably hundreds if not thousands of times. And besides that—I have actually written and spoken about these very feelings—“I am tired, worn out. I hate to clean. Why am I surrounded with constant mess? I want some help. I’d rather be _________. Can I just read my Facebook? I don’t even know where to start, etc, etc.” So please bear with me. I am not writing this article today for just you, but also me. Hopefully when I am done writing, I can go renewed and revitalized to that kitchen.
What is that I tell women when they feel like this?
- Pray!!! Ask for Jesus or some favorite saint to help you. Try St. Martha. Or Our Blessed Mother.
- Go ahead and take a short distraction. Time it. “After I go on a walk for 30 minutes, I will come back and clean the kitchen.”
- Make a list. I love making lists! Write down what it is that you have to do. “Today I have to finish cleaning the kitchen, start dinner, finish the laundry, and clean the downstairs bathroom.” Now that you’ve written down a reasonable amount for today, start your list. If you have to carry over some to tomorrow, that’s ok. Just putting to paper what you need to get done will give you sense of accomplishment. And checking them off is soooo satisfying!
- Remember this is your way of loving your family and building a home for them! Yes this sounds cliché, but it’s so very true. The kind of home that you create for your family will be crucial to their well-being, security, and sense of belonging. It will be where they most identify love. Dirty dishes won’t make or break this—but your heaviness that you feel toward serving them and being enslaved to your house just might. (I also think that 3 or 4 days of dirty dishes piled in a sink might also dampen the spirit in your home as well, no matter how much you have baked cookies and finger painted with the children.)
- Reward yourself when you are done. Chocolate? Sure. Or even permission to sit down and read for a while. Surprisingly, a clean organized space is very rewarding in itself. We always seem to forget this when the end seems so far away. (But the end is not really that far away—you’d be surprised how much you get done is just 15 minutes of cleaning. Don’t believe me? Time it.)
- Bonus idea!!! I’ve been using this a lot! Listen to a presentation or audiobook while doing those tedious, monotonous chores. I’ve listened to the audio versions of the books my kids are reading —what great conversation starters. It’s like we have our own secret knowledge that my poor husband is in the dark about. I also find presentations online, like Ted talks. If you’d like something to listen to that helps you to be a better mother, I can’t recommend enough the presentations from the Catholic Conference 4 Moms 2015. I am now featuring them for FREE on my website SmartMartha.com just for this purpose. Please use them and get your house tidy today!
So I am off to the kitchen now, renewed with purpose and prayer. (and my iPad with the next chapter of Hollow City.)
Copyright 2016 Tami Kiser