When I worked as a business consultant and as a lawyer, I had the wonderful feeling of having something accomplished most of the days. There were deadlines to meet, projects to finish, meetings to organize and hold, presentations to prepare and deliver. I had a boss and clients who would tell me whether they liked my work or not.
At home it is completely different. Nobody seems to acknowledge the things I accomplish every day. Housework not done for a couple of days/weeks will attract attention sooner or later. But not in a positive way. Housework done every day is just a matter of course.
How do I stay upbeat and motivated?
1. Housework is my job, but not my life.
I take my job seriously. And I do what needs to be done. But I try not to be perfectionist. To be honest, I like a clean and tidy home. But I keep telling myself that it is relationships that really matter. The relationship to God, to my husband, to my child(ren), to my family and friends. Relationships take place in the home (at least partially), therefore housework is a means to live these relationships. Not more.
2. I have a to-do book. It’s main goal is to battle my maternal amnesia and give me a feeling of accomplishment.
I am not a “to-do list”-type of person. At least not naturally. Especially long to-do lists make me feel uncomfortable.
However, without a to-do list I struggle. Especially, with my maternal amnesia and constant interruptions by little ones. My compromise is an intentionally messy to-do book. It basically is an old calendar book (loose sheets don’t work for me). Whenever a to-do comes to my mind, I jot it down. When done, I cross it out. The bookmark indicates the page with the last open task. I try not to have 2 to 4 pages with open to-dos.
I like the messiness of the book. It gives me a non-scary feel.
3. I have structure/routines customized to my needs. And I don’t expect to be done with housework ever.
I am not a routine-type of person. At least not naturally. Routines are kind of boring for me.
A woman calling herself flylady changed my mind on this subject. She has a very encouraging way to help you incorporate housework routines into your life. Her system was a bit overwhelming for me at first. But the principles stuck. Based on these I have developed my own system which I am happy to share in a later post.
The idea and motivation behind my routines is not to be ever done with housework. Because this will not happen. My only goal is to do the routine. When I have to clean the window because my routine says to do so: I clean it. Even if it rains. I check the task of my list. And I forbid myself to get annoyed if the window gets dirty directly afterwards. The window will get cleaned next time when it is on my list. It will not stay clean until then anyways.
4. I ask my husband for words of praise.
I don’t expect my husband to see what I have done during the day. Still less I expect him to praise me on his own (though he sometimes does).
If I feel like I need some praise, I tell him what I have accomplished that day and ask him to praise me. He is always happy to comply. And I am happy to hear some words of praise.
What do you do to stay motivated and upbeat?