Thursday, January 14, 2016

What's the Point of Housework?

Housework has a bad reputation as drudgery. Many people simply do not see the point of keeping house and investing time in tasks that have to be re-done cyclically.  I think if we look at housework as an end in itself, that negative view makes some sense. It is easy to fall into myopic sight when faced with the daunting daily rounds of laundry, meals, cleaning, et cetera.

Instead the key is to look at housework as a means to an end.  Vision is the most important element in crafting a domestic life, and all of the smaller goals, practical steps, and tasks need to fall in line with the vision; otherwise, they lose their meaning and worth.

My vision for our home life is to create a space that will allow us--all of us--to become the unique people God created us to be.  Our home is a place of nurturing, peace, rest, beauty and inspiration (for ourselves and others); it is a springboard for us to live an authentic life.  

So for me, for instance, the point of organizing the house is not to have an organized house--and certainly not to have an organized house for the sake of simply showing it to people.  The point of organizing is to create space and breathing room for our family and to allow us to have the time and tools to become the people we were created to be--to become ourselves, as it were. The point of any system should not be the system itself.  

This is not to say that we cannot enjoy the act of housework as we go about it!  There are tasks I genuinely love to do--folding laundry, using my glass-bottled homemade lemony spray for cleaning, vacuuming everything, planning, tidying, ironing.  There are tasks I genuinely do not like, too! I simply suggest that when we feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task (each year I make roughly 900 meals, wash and fold over 300 loads of laundry, vacuum the house around 100 times....) keeping the end in mind is beneficial.

All those meals nourish my family and provide a time for us to gather and talk.
All that laundry allows us to dress in fresh clothes and use fresh linens.
All that vacuuming keeps us healthier.
And so on!

Knowing when to stop housework--having a daily standard that triggers a "good enough!" feeling--is so useful to those of us who keep seeing things to do and doing them all day long.  Figure out when to know it's "good enough" and then spend time on the endeavors that define you--hobbies, recreation, reading....creation of the culture of your home. 

1 comment:

  1. "Vision is the most important element in crafting a domestic life..." Profound insight, beautifully put!