I have decided that 2017 will be the year I stop doing housework.
I’m done with it. Doing housework sits tyrannically over my schedule, demanding attention. Nonstop attention. It was bad enough when I was working. If you are gone from your home for 10 hours a day, five days a week, you know that housework will factor in to how you organize your week nights and weekends. But at the same time, part of your brain will put on the brakes and say, “whoa!” when it gets too demanding. You have a limited amount of free time in your life and you know that you won’t stay sane long if you let housework dominate your time at home.
But I found something curious happened when I retired. Even though I consciously tried to attain balance in my life, I felt that housework was always waiting for me, at the start of every week, or sometimes every day, it was a demanding monster breathing down my neck. All present, seldom satisfied. I have tried any number of strategies, even as recently as this morning, when full of New Year optimism I started jotting notes projects I want to work on in January, I felt housework hovering over my shoulder, like an etheral character out of Ghost Busters about spew a green mucous of tasks all over my shiny 2017 calendar.
I knew right then, it was time to give Housework the boot. Not through means of an exorcism, but my weapon of choice, vocabulary.
You see the words we use to express ourselves play a powerful role in how we think about ourselves and our lives. We attach certain emotions and baggage to words. Certain words dredge up guilt and anxiety other words relax or excite us with anticipation. We all know how certain words can shape how we feel, think, and respond throughout our day.
Now I am not simply replacing one offensive term (housework) with a euphenism, That wouldn’t accomplish anything. I am in truth, deleting housework from my life through a combination approach. First I will no longer plan on doing housework. There are only two people in my home and we are basically pretty neat by nature, we keep up with most messes at the time they occur. Other tasks, the kind that need to be done routinely, we will do as we see they need doing. So yes, there will still be days when I may jot on my list for the day, ‘clean bathroom’ but it will not be something that slavishly feel compelled to do on a 7 day schedule. If I get a rhythm of taking care of on Friday afternoon, fine, if it goes 2 weeks and we aren’t bothered by it, that’s ok too. Sure there will be days when we are expecting company. Here I am going for the euphenism, switching my language from ‘housework’ to ‘preparation.’ But that’s fine because it puts the focus on anticipating entertaining and the fun involved and not another chunk of my week being eaten up by the “housework” monster. This maybe isn’t a problem for other people, but I will be glad to look at my calendar and not see ‘housework’ ever mentioned in 2017. I’ll keep you posted. Care to join me? Just say ‘no’ to housework… but go ahead and tidy up or prep for company as you see fit. Just don’t stress about it, like is short.