Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Hate Cleaning LESS, Part II

This is the second in my three part quest to make cleaning a little less painful for someone. Anyone. Why am I doing this? Because those Saturdays my parents taught me how to clean have to mean something. Because the little voices in my head should be shared to make me feel less frightened. What?

So after you know what it is your ideal is--or what you like--I think you should acknowledge the dark side of cleaning. A mental dusting out of your brain, if you will. Go ahead and name the reasons why you hate it, but be specific:

Acknowledge your biases, traps, and weaknesses.
Make a constant effort to rethink the way you want to think about cleaning by first acknowledging how you feel about it and why. I think the best way to do this (identifying how we feel about homemaking) is by revealing the stories we tell ourselves, sometimes unknowingly. For example:

*How did you feel about cleaning and organizing when you were a child?
*What did your mother teach you about this?
*Your father?
*What role does is have in your life now?
*How does it make you feel?
*What's the first thing you think of when you hear "homemaking?" Why?
I'm sure some kind of specific story could be generated from one or more of these questions that may reveal the genesis of your true feelings about cleaning and organizing today.

At different times in my life, I have felt different ways about homemaking, and that can be a freeing idea because it means that if you have a bad attitude about it, it also means that it doesn't have to always be that way. These are the shortened versions of the dialogue I had in my head when I discovered myself to be a mother of young children with demands of cleaning and organizing becoming, oh-how-do-you-say?-OVERWHELMING, and I started rethinking all of it:

*I don’t deserve this. (I'm too educated to have to do this all day.) What am I modeling to my children about feminism and women's roles by taking on 90% of the cleaning and organizing?

*I have better things to do. Reading/Watching tv is a better use of my time. It will just get messy again, but the information I learn will be with me forever.

*I’m alone in this, I’m the only one who does this. It's not fair. At the beginning of our marriage all of this was 50/50. It's like it was when I was little and the girls always did more housework than the boys. It's not fair.

*My mom ironed the pillowcases and sheets?! How do I live up to that!? She made it look easy. What am I doing wrong?

*I should keep this stuff because it's wasteful to throw things away and I might need it later. Plus, we're kinda poor and I could make something unusual and useful out of it. A different purpose for this sour cream container!

Identify these stories so you'll be able to address what specific roadblocks you have when it comes to cleaning and organizing. That way you know what you're looking for in order to resolve these issues, or at least change them in some way. Otherwise, the list seems overwhelming.


  1. Oh, I have so many roadblocks. I am currently trying the "Flylady" approach, which I am loving. It is just an area every week and you can actually get a lot done in 15 minutes. I am a person that tries to do it all and fails miserably. This approach has me taking small steps and accomplishing a lot. My parents gave me chores as punishment. I even got punished when my sibs did not do their cleaning. Now, I really hate housework and it is a trial to overcome!!

  2. This is great advice. Cleaning and housekeeping seem pretty straight forward, but I think that there can be a lot of emotional baggage attached to them. We gotta face that fact in order to change our feelings about them. And all this time I just thought I was a lazy loser!

  3. I mostly just hate bending over because it makes me feel fat and uncomfortable. I need a workaround for bending over.

  4. Patty Ann, chores as punishment is a common parenting mistake in my book. But you can relearn to see it in a different way.

    Carly, thanks for "getting me."

    Kacy, just wear pantyhose under your jeans! Just kidding! Wear a girdle! Just kidding, wear a mumu. Just kidding. Don't do that. Just don't bend over when you clean. Lots of dusters on the ends of brooms and such. I'll do a post just for that.