*8Things: A Gratitude Practice

*8Things iconHello Magpie! It’s *8Things Thursday. Time to check in with our Gratitude.

I’ve not been very grateful this week. I opted for being pissy instead. Specifically I’m pissy about my ratio of housework-to-writing. My kids help. My husband contributes. We even have an occasional housekeeper. We don’t keep a spotless house by any means. And yet I struggle with the unending entropy that is an organized/clean/functional home. I don’t want to be a housewife, and yet at least half the day every day (plus evenings) I am.

A former housemate of mine once pointed out to me that I was bitching about a beautiful 6 bedroom home. (OuchandThanks.) So before she has to say it again, I thought I’d focus my gratitude practice this week on housewifery. (This friends, is where a spiritual practice really is a discipline.)

What *8Things are you genuinely grateful for today? I”ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours…

I’m grateful …

1. we have enough clothes to do 8 loads of laundry a week.
2. no one has to go without shoes — as is evidenced by how many pairs of them are around the house. (Just two generations ago, my Grandfather’s family only bought shoes for the oldest two kids.)
3. we’ve been able to house so many friends in our downstairs room — Rebecca, Sharon, Souren, Josh, and Kristen have all lived with us from 3 months to 3 years at a time.
4. I can see the city glow at sunrise from my bedroom window.
5. the kitchen can hold all the appliances needed to host 18 for Thanksgiving.
6. we have the money we need to run kids to the naturopath, dentist, orthodontist and hair dressers.
7. ditto for jazz choir, piano lessons, and the occasional cooking class.
8. for my responsible, creative, kind kids — because they are pretty damn AWESOME.

*8Things iconWhat about you Magpie? What *8Things are you grateful for?  Put the short version in the comments, or grab a button for your blog. Give us permalink below so we can stop by! Your list will help others find their gratitude mojo when it’s running a little thin. Thanks for playing!
*If you have a little extra time this week Magpie, please give me a hand! How do you reduce resistence around house-work and parenting requirements? For those of you who are reluctant homemakers, how do you make peace with your momhood/dadhood? And if you are a work-at-home-parent, how do you protect your work time from the siren call of dirty socks?

Grow your gratitude. Live Satisfied. Join us on Facebook for our weekly *8things roundup.

Kat November 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Oh my, you have hit the nail right on the head! My husband and I have reached an impasse on this very issue: I would like to engage the services of a cleaner; he would not. I am comfortable with signing on a chap recommended by a friend, and having him come through when I am home; my husband is adamant he does not want a “stranger” in our home.
No amount of reasoning, pleading, cajoling will budge him from this position.
I am happiest doing housework when I am in the mood, on my own in the house and have my favourite music blaring. I make it silly and fun and it feels a bit like cardio!
Sadly, that’s not very often.
I’m actually quite a tidy person, and like clearing up (it makes me feel calm and in control). But clean? I have just resigned myself to the fact that my floors will always be grotty…

GailNHB November 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm

One thing that I do in terms of housekeeping is keep it in short chunks. Fifteen minutes at a time – as recommended at Flylady.com. In fifteen minutes, I can dust my whole house. Another 15 minutes and I can vacuum the whole second floor and even the staircases. 15 minutes – all four toilets and sinks are done (there are four of each…). Same thing in the kitchen: in 15 minutes I can clean the counters, make sure all the dishes are done, and move on to something else. After enduring labor with two kids, I am certain that I can do anything around this house for 15 minutes at a time. I don’t do well if I have to spend an hour or two at a time cleaning.

I have used the same strategy with each of my kids – “Just do these two things. I know it will take less than 15 minutes, then you can get on with whatever else you want to do.” That helps a lot. And as for any resistance they put up – like “I didn’t use these dishes or I didn’t make a mess in here, so why do I have to clean it up?” – I ask them, “Do you want us to establish the rule that we only have to clean up the messes we make ourselves? Would that rule also apply to me? Cuz I’d love that set up… that would work out really well for me, if I only had to clean up after myself.” That usually ends that discussion pretty quickly.

I guess one of the things that helps me when I think about this stuff is the knowledge that I’m not the only one who looks around my house and thinks: didn’t I just vacuum/dust/wipe/load/unload this yesterday???

Jenny November 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Rachelle, it helps me to think of it cyclically. My husband is a huge help; my kids, not so much. Having said that, we tackle the needs very differently and I’ve tried to find peace about that. We have cycles where we get much more done than other times. I want it amped up at the season changes, holidays…I know now I will hate my windows next June and can (haha) set aside money so I can pay someone, etc.

My peace about being the “homemaker” (hate the term housewife. I’m Todd’s wife.) comes in cycles, too. On my good days/years, I’m so thankful for the flexibility. I can think that I’m better at the heart part than my man, so if my home is going to reflect my heartbeat, convictions, etc, I guess I gotta do the doings. That if my kids are going to leave with good memories and a sense of connection, I have to spend a lot of time on that part, which for me includes beauty, order and the fight against entropy. Damn. :)

Jenny November 3, 2011 at 4:52 pm

PS Great list!

Unseen Endings November 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

For some reason the housework beast hasn’t been bugging me so much this week. Perhaps I’ve just lowered my standards enough not to notice or care about the entropy?? (or resigned myself to the fact that there will be catch-up sometime over the weekend…)
I also have been known to set a timer – somehow knowing that I’ve only got 15 minutes to get as much done as possible is motivating enough to send me into a cleaning/tidying frenzy.
As for the “housewife” part – never in a million years did I ever think I’d want to be a “stay at home mom” – but lately, I’m thinking it wouldn’t be so bad, and I might actually love it. Of course, that is more about vocational angst than the joy of housework, for me. That and that with an almost thirteen month old I’m learning that the days may be long but the years are short.

Daniela November 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm

The best way to make peace with my momhood for me… is to remember that my son will be 2 years old (or 3, 4, 5…) just once… and this time is a treasure.

For everything home-making… what works for me is to do the ugliest tasks early in the morning, eat the bigger frog first, and define a schedulle. I mean to be realistic about the time I have… for example… “ok, now I need to do laundry, cook, clean, feed my child… how much time does it take? how much time do I really have for my things?”… and from there… do the planning. Is the way I find to avoid some dissapointment and frustration about not having all the time I’d like to have for myself.

Rachelle November 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Hmmm…ya’ll are making me think. Here are some of the take-away’s I’m personally having around this helpful discussion.

First, I need to stop trying to keep the weekend pristine of work/housework. Reality check: Saturday was chore day when I was a kid, and it probably needs to have more of that now that I’m the mom.

Second, that 15 minute tip is a good one. I’ve used that technique in the past and I will employ it again.

Finally, I’m not alone. This is a common connundrum. (Somehow, that helps.)

Thanks for your companionship, Magpies. ‘Cuz there ain’t nowhere to go but together!

Much Warmth,

*your magpie girl

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