My ever wise and wonderful sister-in law once told me a grand truth. She said that dishes and other similar tasks in a household are like putting beads on a string with no knot on the end. You know the tasks...laundry, dishes, sweeping, mopping, dusting, tidying, etc. etc. All of these tasks are important. Yet as you finish those nasty dishes and sigh in relief, you remember that it's time to make lunch! Oh, did I forget to include meals in that parade of endless tasks?
It was evening, dinner was finished. Our girls had settled down to do their homework. I was exhausted. I had been moving and doing all day long. I had done the dishes, sorted clothes, washed clothes, folded clothes, and put clothes away. I had tidied the house at least twice. I had prepared three meals, (trying to make them nutritional). With all of that moving and doing, my house looked as though not one single task had been accomplished.
I HAD done all of those tasks but these are the type of tasks that cry out to be done, over, and Over, AND OVER, as long as life goes on. Am I suggesting that we live in a filthy home that is never cleaned? Perish the thought. Who wants to live in messy and cluttered ALL of the time? We all have relative levels of what is clean in a home. On one side is Polly Perfectionist. Her home is NEVER in disarray. Not a cluttered spot anywhere! The other extreme is Hilda Hoarder. You can not walk anywhere in her home and actually touch the floor. She has collected so many belongings that they have taken over her home. She can't even find clothing because they are literally piled so high everywhere.
I'm suggesting a different strategy. We CAN make household tasks seem meaningless very, very easily. Is it possible to view even these tasks in a positive light? As I make the suggestion you should know that I will NEVER find a way to enjoy washing dishes. The only way that I can do them over and over is by singing to music, or chatting on the phone with ones that I love.
How about if we break up those household doldrums? Ever have a party with a friend and clean? I'm always amazed at how quickly tasks can be done when I am doing them with a friend. Then you switch and YOU help them with their household tasks.
Along my life path I have come to understand that the only difference between work and play is (WAIT FOR....) YOUR ATTITUDE! That's right, I said it...an attitude of joy can diminish the feeling of CRAP, I HAVE TO WASH THE DISHES!
You can break up those endless tasks that life seems to spawn. Wash the dishes, play with your children, or your beloved dog or kitty. (Those other tasks, children and doggy are the most important!) Mop your floor, dance to "Just Dance," or exercise to Kick Boxing, or about a million other DVD's you can buy online, or at a thrift store. Take a treat to some friend...and visit for awhile.
Wash the clothes, and dance, or pick up your adorable child and dance with them. After lunch, read your child a story. I don't care that your laundry is threatening to eat your laundry room alive!
In ten years what will you remember about today? Will you remember that you cleaned your kitchen to the level of sparkling, and then had to fix a meal and all that work was undone? Will you remember that you spent time with your husband, children, parents, family? What thing can you do today that will make life better in ten years?
There is the entire crux of the matter. WHAT WILL matter in five years, ten years? Will it be the fact that your children learned to clean so well from your example that their homes sparkle? Or do your children hoard, and live in chaos? Is there a balance in their lives? Have they learned the ability to prioritize well, and to understand what matters most in life?
Sorry, I just took a break to play with my little doggy. Then I spoke with a beloved friend on the phone. There ARE dishes piled high in my kitchen. The laundry is threatening to cause a landslide hazard in my basement.
I know that in ten years what will matter is the singing, the dancing, the loving, the enjoying that I did today. So, call a long lost friend, or "friend" them on Facebook. Wash the dishes while you chat. Mary Poppin's was right, "A spoonful of sugar DOES help the medicine go down!"