Monday, February 2, 2015

How to Pick Yourself Up When All Housekeeping Motivation is Lost


For the past week or so I have really struggled with motivation in regards to cleaning my home, keeping up with the dishes, preparing meals, and doing laundry. I rarely find these tasks to be fun, but usually my desire for order and blessing my family keeps me on track. Sure, my house is never perfect, and I'm never quite caught up, but we get by and it is good enough.

Not lately. Four days went by, and though I washed dishes every day, still a stack remained constantly towered on my counters. I hadn't cleaned the bathroom since getting back from Ireland a few weeks ago. And unfortunately my in-laws dog didn't come home with us- he was so good about eating everything my kids dropped from the table that I forgot how disgusting my floor gets after just a couple of meals with S and W.

Part of it was having a really sick kid. Stomach bugs create quite a mess of their own that needs constant cleaning and attention. Between wiping up vomit, rinsing underwear after accidents, and waking up to a crying child and staying up with them for an hour or two every night, I felt tired and burnt out.

Yet the mess was crowding in around me, suffocating and taunting me at every turn. What's an exhausted housewife to do???

There is no easy answer. Because really, at the end of the day the work just needs to be done. It will take time, energy, and effort that you just might not have. But here are a few ideas that helped a bit in pulling me out of the no-motivation-funk.

Do the fun job first. I almost always have an organization or decorating project on the back burner of my mind. Something that I would love to do, but because it isn't quite a necessity doesn't get my attention.

I always feel like I have to wash all the dishes, wipe down the counters, and sweep and mop the nasty kitchen floor before clearing out my pantry. Or that I should really have my kids help clean up all the toys {so much harder than just doing it yourself! oh the cajoling, and encouraging, and reminding and threatening...} before clearing the clutter from and redecorating my daughter's bedroom shelves.

And yet... if I do the fun thing first, it usually gives me a big joy and energy boost! Once my pantry is pristine, I'm a little more inspired to do the dishes, wipe the counters and clean the kitchen floor. If I organize and decorate in the kid's rooms as I talk them through the clean-up, more is accomplished and I am far happier with the results.

In the name of all that is good for my housekeeping, I resolve to here after always do the fun job first!

Listen to a delightful audiobook. I think I've read every single one of Jane Austen's six completed novels at least 5 times each.... and yet somehow they never get old. I still find snippets of wit to smile at, life lessons to glean, and intriguing peeks into the absurdities and nuances of human nature.

Almost every year I give them a re-listen on Librivox {a 100% free collection of audiobooks from the public domain}. Some narrators are better than others. Give several of the versions a listen {there are usually 6 or 7 for each Austen novel} and choose your favorite. Right now I am loving Karen Savage's rendition of Pride and Prejudice

Also I've found that if I play audiobooks or podcasts over speakers for my children to hear, they object. The whining and chatter grows louder- it's as though they feel slighted, like I'm attempting to drown them out. The most effective method I've found for listening is to play it on my phone, one ear pod in and one out. That way they don't know I'm multitasking, and they play happily with me still able to hear both them and the book.

Set a timer for just 5 minutes. Or 10. Some small increment of time, so that you at least get something done in between snuggling a sick kid on the couch, reading books to the littles, or changing yet another diaper. Because something is seriously better than nothing. Five minutes of dishes right now is better than tagging that 5 minutes on to the 55 minutes you will already have to spend on dishes catch up when you finally get your energy back. Or when the necessity and desperation so compels you.

Or, if all else is lost, invite somebody over. Because we all know that:


That's all I got. How do you find motivation when all desire for duty is lost?

For further encouragement...

This post from Ann Voskamp seriously gave me a kick in the pants one particularly unmotivated afternoon last week. Specifically the first half of it. "Life is pain- and you get to choose: either the Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Disappointment."

Also, if group tasks and online accountability is just the shove you need, Sarah Mae is doing another round of 31 Days to Clean.

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