Are you having trouble feeling motivated to get up and do your housework and mothering tasks all over again? So much of motherhood and housewifery involves the same tasks over and over again, with little to show for your efforts at the end of the day.
The same thing goes for housework. You wash a full sink of dishes after breakfast, but then it just fills up again after lunch and dinner. There’s hardly time to enjoy the results before those results are undone!
The tasks of motherhood and housekeeping can wear on you like a dripping faucet unless you make sure to get your head on straight.
As with most things, a positive mindset is the difference between success and failure. I recently heard a quote that applies so well to the circumstances of the stay at home mom.
I have been reminding myself of this quote whenever I find my mindset starting to slip into self-pity.
“Love What You Must Do”
I Googled the quote, trying to figure out where it originated, but came up empty, so I am unable to attribute it, but what an amazing quote!
The difference between Loving What You Must Do and Doing What You Love
All around us, our society tells us that we need to “do what makes us happy” or “do what you love”! But this mindset (especially in motherhood!), is a recipe for disaster.
Mothering is one of the most sacrificial vocations around (and this goes for SAHM’s and working moms!) Of course you love your children, but do you love changing those diapers, and all of the other tasks that go along with mothering, day in and day out?
So these are a few of the things that I do when I find myself not loving what I must do…
Focus on Results, Not the Journey
Everyone loves a clean toilet more than a nasty toilet, right? And in order to have that clean toilet, someone must clean it. So instead of focusing on how much you dislike the actual cleaning of the toilet, instead, focus on how nice the toilet is once it’s finished.
Train yourself to focus on your reward rather than the unpleasantness of the moment. This takes practice. But every time you find yourself putting off an unpleasant task, take a moment to focus on the finished task, and then, make it happen.
While you are making it happen, just think about the end result. Don’t allow the thoughts into your head about how much you dislike the job. Focus on the positive.
Focus on the Little Picture
If you are in a stage of life with lots of little children, or a large family, or the end of pregnancy, or life with a newborn, it’s time to stop focusing on the big picture in regards to your housework and motherhood.
If you focus on the big picture (the way you’ve probably been trained to do all your life) you will quickly become discouraged. The big picture is ALL of the chores and duties. If you look around your home and only see the tasks that did NOT get done, you are missing the little picture.
The little picture looks around and sees all of the tasks that you DID accomplish. The little picture is satisfied and happy with all of that hard work.
When you are in a busy season of life where little people are depending on you for everything, there simply isn’t time to complete everything AND still have an ounce of energy to take care of yourself.
So, instead of focusing on ALL of the chores (the big picture), instead, focus on the basics (the little picture).
The “Small Picture” Housework Plan: Laundry, dishes, meals, toilets.
Laundry– if you don’t stay on top of it, you will either
A. have nothing for your family to wear
B. when you finally do get around to it, you will have a day-long task in front of you
Do a little bit of laundry every day, however much that is for your family to not get behind.
Dishes– don’t let them pile up. Just get them done after every meal. This is one of those areas that took a tremendous amount of discipline for me when I was a young mother and had so many little ankle-biters under foot.
Time yourself. See how long it actually takes you to get through the dishes after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I bet you’ll be surprised at how little time it actually takes.
A clean sink is so much better for your peace of mind than a sink overflowing with dirty dishes. You can have the cleanest kitchen in the world, but if your sink if full of dirty dishes, it will look filthy.
On the flip side, you can have a kitchen that hasn’t been deep cleaned all year, but if your sink is empty and devoid of crud, you end of looking like you are on top of things!
Meals– If you don’t have a meal plan, chances are you’ll end up eating out on the worst of days, or even the mediocre days. If feeding your family healthy meals is important to you, plan for it, then make it happen.
Toilets– If you do a quick wipe down and swishing of your toilets daily, then they will never get disgusting. It will be maintenance work as opposed to the dreaded
monthly weekly chore.
Keeping your toilets clean will give you the same boost as keeping your sink clear of dirty dishes. Again, time yourself. It really doesn’t take much time at all if you aren’t having to deep clean it!
Focus on a Job Well Done
Focus on a job well done instead of a job completely done.
If all you have time for each day are the housework basics listed above, plus one or two other chores, that’s ok! Focus on doing what you CAN do as well as you can.
There’s a poem that I have my young children memorize:
Work while you work,
Play while you play,
This is the way
To be happy each day.
All that you do,
Do with your might,
Things done by halves
Are never done right.
Even if your home isn’t as clean as you would like it to be, if you dedicate yourself fully to keeping the most important chores done, then be happy and satisfied with that.
These are the ways to truly love what you must do. Find ways to delight in the everyday duties of life, give it your best, and focus on the essentials.
These hard days won’t last forever. Before you know it, your children will be older and pulling their own weight with housework. Enjoy them while they are little, and don’t waste those years being an unhappy housewife!