Friday, April 20, 2012


I've been really trying hard to waste less time on the computer. That means looking for other things to do with my time. It's not like I don't have other things to do, but the thing that usually most needs done is something I hate to do.

Housework. Dusting. Vacuuming. Disinfecting. Sweeping. Wiping. Scrubbing. Cleaning. Ugh. As I've said before, I'm more of a project person. I'm not a good "maintainer". Housework is maintenance, and it drains me. I know it has to be done anyway, and I do it, but it drains me.

I remember reading a magazine article decades ago that compared the nature of traditional husband work to traditional wife work. The man's jobs, it said, tend to be more project oriented -- repair this, build this -- stuff that has a start and finish date and generally stays done. The woman's jobs, however, are the stuff that gets done over and over and over again, sometimes within a couple hours -- cooking, cleaning, laundry, diapers, dishes . . . Of course, this article didn't discuss yardwork and taking out the trash, both repetitive chores traditionally done by the male, so I think the gender issue is not as pertinent. But it did make a good point about the nature of the work we do on a regular basis, one that hit home to me anyway.

Maybe it's the dreary weather. Maybe it's my husband being out of town. Maybe it's that my brain is occupied thinking about the play next week. But this week, the thought of disinfecting my kitchen counters has exhausted my spirit. They will just get dirty again after the next meal. No one will see this clean counter but me and my daughters, and my daughters won't even notice. In fact, that's another thing about housework: it is only noticed when it doesn't get done. Nobody goes around saying, "Wow! No dust on that table! No streaks on that mirror! Clean dishes are in the cabinet! Good work!" There's no positive reinforcement for doing it, only negative consequences for not having done it.

No, I will not hire a cleaning service. I did that for a while in Jersey and it rankled my soul. Ridiculous to pay someone to do what I should be doing myself. I just need to figure out how to make it less draining . . .


Sarah Boyle Webber said...

When I was struggling years ago, a dear friend sent me a copy of Kathleen Norris' Quotidian Mysteries ( It helped. Give me your address and I'll send you one.

Coram Deo said...

AAahhh, Gwen, I'm there too. Suffice to say that your struggle encourages my soul as to keep up doing what I need to do because I'm not alone in this. I am a sahm now with no children in the house during the day, it is hard not to waste the time, so listening to your words give me a glimpse of hope for my situation now. Thank you.