When I started having children, I wanted to stay home and care for them. And I liked being home with the kids. But I didn’t like doing any of the housework.
I resented having to do dishes, laundry, and all normal daily tasks that have to happen when people live in a house.
Twenty-seven years later, I enjoy maintaining a home and look forward to cleaning and caring for everything.
What changed? How do we enjoy household chores?
- How I think about the work.
- Valuing the space that surrounds me.
- Valuing my everyday life.
How we think about the work
What are all the words that describe loathing?
Those are the words I thought of when I thought of dishes, laundry, and all house cleaning.
Loath, abhor, detest… all those hostile feelings.
And I would repeat them in my mind:
“I HATE doing the dishes.” “I DETEST the laundry.” “I ABHOR cleaning of any sort!”
And you know what happens when you think horrible thoughts? You continue thinking horrible thoughts.
None of us will get to the point where we enjoy a task if all we ever do is think about how we despise it.
What if we said those things about our spouse all the time? We wouldn’t be able to find anything good to say about them because all we ever focused on were the things we hated about them. We would despise our spouse! And it wouldn’t matter what they did – if we’re just focused on hating them, there is no way they could win us over.
What do YOU need to consider if you want to enjoy your time doing your dishes?
I had to think of the reward – the joy of having a tidy kitchen. I had to look forward to an empty sink, clean dishes, and a tidy kitchen.
But other people have found joy doing the dishes by:
- Thinking through all the things they are grateful for – a time spent in gratitude.
- Or using the dishwashing time as a time to mull over the day, meditate on scripture, or be mindful and pay attention to the warmth of the water, the way the bubbles pop, how the clean water rinses the dirty water away, or time to gaze outside and notice the changes in seasons.
- Some people do dishes with a family member and use it as a time to catch up and talk to each other without distractions.
- Some have a tablet set up and watch Youtube videos – I get a lot of comments from people saying they watched one of my videos while they reset their kitchen. Having a daily time to catch up with a favorite YouTuber can make it a time to look forward to.
Valuing the space that surrounds us.
My mom used to say, “the state of your home is a direct reflection of the state of your mind.”
In that case, I was a mess; I didn’t understand priorities, I didn’t know how to organize, and I didn’t value anything. My self, my life, people in my life, or any of the material things I owned.
NOT taking care of my home was consuming my energy.
We can say we’re lazy, and that’s why we don’t clean the house, but it takes more mental work to justify NOT cleaning the house than just doing it.
When we respect ourselves enough to maintain a clean house, being in our space is nicer. It’s nice, and it’s relaxing, it’s enjoyable.
I hid behind the idea that I was taking care of myself by not forcing myself to do those chores I hated.
But that was a lie.
If I value myself, I will clean up my space to make my home more enjoyable for me and how I want to use it.
I want my home to feel like a vacation home, where I can walk in and have that instant sign of relief – nothing needs to be dealt with, now I can relax.
Valuing our everyday life.
When I was young, I remember being very disenchanted. My first experience with disenchantment was looking at Christmas lights. I remember thinking, “why would I want to drive around and look at colored lights on people’s houses? Some put it on their bush, others on their eves, but it’s all dumb. Nothing awe-inspiring. Just some lights on everyday houses.
I went far down this line of thinking. So much of life is boring. Why do people think life is so great? You look forward to being an adult and running your own life, and then you have to go to work, pay bills, and have uncomfortable conversations with people. UGH
So many things I had to do regularly felt like a complete waste of time.
Cleaning the toilet. Ew!
Having to cook? And then clean up afterward? EW!
I don’t know where I got the idea that every moment of life should be Insta-worthy… could have been my obsession with The Little Mermaid.
Learning to be present helped me shift this thinking.
I started to appreciate someone willing to take time and set Christmas lights out in their yard for others to enjoy. And I acknowledge that I wasn’t willing to decorate my yard because I didn’t want to put out that much work – so I was happy to admire someone else’s work.
I started to appreciate a drawer full of folded laundry.
A clean bathroom.
And a tidy kitchen.
I found that cooking is another art form: we can create something beautiful and experience it with all our senses.
The funny things kids say, how it feels to be hugged by your spouse, a cool breeze on a warm afternoon.
I had to learn how precious little moments of everyday life are.
I had to learn to find the value of every day, the things there are to appreciate and enjoy every day. Because there are things to enjoy every single day.
One of the biggest things I did to help me enjoy housework more was to make sure I had less of it to do – And you can find out how I did that right here.