When my now 6’3″ son was a little guy, housework was secondary in priority to interacting with him. One of my most wonderful memories is of taking him on a walk (and pulling him in his Radio Flyer-like wagon) to the huge parking lot of the local Target. I would put him in one of the shopping carts, and run like mad, twisting and turning and twirling the cart until he whooped with delight. This would go on for the better part of an hour. Thinking back, I got a good aerobic exercise workout, and he got a Disneyland-like ride. At the time, though, it was just about having fun together.
One of the constant complaints I get (especially from at-home moms), is about the drudgery of housework, particularly about how it is never-ending and repetitive. Frankly, I liked knowing the parameters involved with housework: bathrooms, kitchen, and washing and folding laundry. Folding laundry was my meditative exercise. I found it quite relaxing.
Attitude is the essential issue in dealing with anything in life. I had a recent caller to my radio program who was still working through her rotten childhood by yelling and being physical with her kids…but in a bad way. After a bit of a lecture from me on finally having fun in her life, and my giving her examples of getting kids to do things (like putting toys away or getting their pajamas on) with fun (complete with giggles and applause), she wrote me back and thanked me. Then I received this email from another listener:
I am in the middle of three loads of laundry (I have four boys ages 7,10, 12 and 14, so I have a lot of laundry), and wanted to thank you for being my “housework buddy.” You may not realize it, but you’ve been helping me with my housework for the last 3 months. How? I’ve always hated and avoided doing housework, because I never saw the value in it. Instead, I took part-time jobs while the kids were in school and hired a housekeeper once a week. While she put a dent in the mess, there was still a lot of housework left, and I asked my full-time working husband to help out on the weekend. This meant that our weekends weren’t much fun.
After listening to you talk to a caller about what a great gift she was giving her family by keeping the house neat, I decided to devote the three hours you’re on the air to housework. I can now happily listen to you from any room in the house. While I still don’t enjoy housework, my family and I do enjoy having a clean, well-organized home. And we have a lot more fun on the weekend. So, thank you for being my “housework buddy” and keeping me company while I work!
Everything we do is of value, even if it is the same thing every day (which, of course, it doesn’t have to be). Creativity in how we approach situations changes everything about how we feel and how much we appreciate life, love, and family. So, whatever it is you have to do, find a way to make it fun.