I have a confession to make.
I joke a fair bit about being a terrible housewife but lately it has absolutely been true. I lost my mojo. I forgot how to find the joy. And it’s funny, but I hadn’t even really noticed I had lost my way until I was having a chat (whinge) with (to) my husband. It went like this…
“You know that feeling you get at work. The one where you have a huge job to do, you break it down into lots of little tasks, work your way through the list…you cross off that last task. Job done. You stand back and look at what you’ve accomplished and you feel really satisfied. You know that feeling?”
“Yeah,” replies the Mister.
“Well, when your job is homemaking, you don’t really get that feeling…”
(Only I may not have said homemaking. I may have said being a maid to your kids, or words to that effect. Oops)
The problem is that the job doesn’t really have an end. It goes on. Forever. Even individual tasks once completed are soon undone again.
You finish the dishes and someone will drop a teaspoon into the sink or leave a glass on the bench.
You just get done mopping the floor, leave the room to put away the bucket, and come back to find a trail of footprints across the floorboards.
My personal favourite is when you finally conquer Mount Washmore, Mount Foldmore and have even gone so far as to put away the mountain of clothes (seriously, who does that?!) only to find your wash basket is already near full again.
I’m sure you can think of more 😉
Reading that, you would be forgiven for thinking homemaking is simply a life of boredom and drudgery. But it doesn’t have to be. There is joy in the simple, every day tasks of the homemaker. There is profound satisfaction to be found. There is honour in choosing this way of life. You simply need to look, and to remind yourself on the regular.
And that has been my problem. I’ve forgotten to look for the joy and have fallen into a bit of a funk…
Right. Time to snap out of it. But how?
First up, we need a mindset change. Stop thinking about the never ending aspect of homemaking. Stop thinking about what’s next. Forget racing through the task, or worrying over how it’s going to be undone. Slow down and take pride in the task at hand. That feeling of satisfaction I bemoaned as missing is actually there if you slow down enough to notice it. It’s also really important to remember that some of those things we really love, whether it’s sewing a new dress or arranging flowers in vases around the home, are actually important aspects of homemaking. I would lay odds you’re forgetting those pleasurable tasks, and the satisfaction they bring, when you are thinking about your job. Yes, your ‘hobbies’ are homemaking too! All jobs have a bright side, homemaking is no exception.
Enjoy the rhythm of the day. I know, I know. I bang on about rhythm A LOT. But that’s just because it really is the magic that holds it all together. A home that hums along to a steady rhythm is a home where things just don’t become overwhelming. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s that feeling of being overwhelmed that brings us undone. A home with rhythm feels calm and peaceful, and when our home feels peaceful and calm, we find the same feelings inside of ourselves. If you’re home doesn’t have a rhythm, or you’ve allowed yours to fall by the wayside, tackle this first!
Remind yourself of why you are doing this. Your tasks in the home have a purpose. Maybe it is simply saving the money by doing it yourself rather than hiring a cleaner. Perhaps it is knowing that you are ‘doing your bit‘ to help the environment by making your own cleaners or hanging out the cloth nappies on the line. It could be that you know cooking from scratch is better for your kid’s health. It could even be something as simple as enjoying creating a home that feels good to be in- a haven from the hustle and bustle of the world.
It can help to keep a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, note down those little moments that gave you joy or satisfaction. Was it the smell of your bread baking, or the sight of your seeds germinating? Those are the things to notice. And there are more of those little moments than we give credit for. My son has a habit of asking each of us over the dinner table, ‘What was your favourite part of the day?” Today mine will be canning a small batch of caramelised onion chutney. It smelt amazing and was deeply satisfying. What was yours?
Give yourself credit, then give yourself a little grace. No one is going to honour your role as homemaker if you don’t. That said, the world isn’t going to fall apart if you don’t get the floors mopped today. There is a balance to be found between getting it done and turning yourself into a martyr. Do what you can, with joy, and don’t sweat the things left undone. There is always tomorrow, my love.
Today has been a much better day- and not just because the weather has taken a break from sweltering and is hovering around ‘hot but bearable’. Today was a better day because I remembered those 5 little steps.
1. Change your mindset
2. Find your rhythm
3. Have a purpose
4. Treasure the little moments
5. Grace and Honour
Now I’m off to hang yet another load of washing. But this time it will be with joy, because nappies on the line is satisfying, and it means I can adore my toddler’s cute little fluffy butt again tomorrow 😉