Apathy, Flylady and Contributing Factor #1

Ever since we returned from the dog grooming competition, I have been dealing with a good dose of apathy when it comes to household chores. I believe that I haven’t actually experienced this much apathy since beginning my Flylady routines over a year ago. So, of course, I am attempting to analyze this phenomenon and, hopefully, develop a solution.

During the trip, I was thinking a lot about how I spend my time during a typical day. I started thinking about that because what I was experiencing on the trip was such a stark contrast to my daily routine. First of all, I was enjoying many, many interesting, lively, funny and stimulating conversations — some over delicious meals — with family and friends. I love talking to people. I love getting to know people better. I love learning about their pasts. I love discovering what makes them tick. I love learning new things from them. I had so many wonderful interactions with so many different kinds of people that were so very satisfying.

Second, I saw scores of women my age who compete regularly in dog grooming competitions who are exceptionally talented, skillful and hard-working. They are creative and gifted and they generously share those gifts with young groomers like Jacob. I began wondering how much time they spend on a daily basis cleaning their homes. Or if it even matters to them. (I don’t know the answer to this question, by the way.)

Third, I realized the day I got home that I hadn’t had any urge to stress eat (an urge I have to conquer every day) the whole time I was gone. The first time I had to fight the urge was when I had to face some household chore. Interesting.

So, here I am. I feel like I keep going around in circles when it comes to dealing with how I honestly feel about housework and how it affects me. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 23 years. I have had plenty of opportunities to face this issue over those years. And because I am a Christian, homeschooling SAHM, I have read my fair share of guilt-inducing books and magazine articles describing how satisfying it should be to keep a household.

Once again, I ask myself WHY? Why don’t I like homemaking? For one thing, I get no inherent pleasure from completing homemaking tasks. This is Contributing Factor #1. In contrast, when I exercise — although exercising six days per week, year in and year out can definitely become tedious — I inherently enjoy the process of Jazzercising. I like dance exercise while I am doing it. Even though I am exercising to gain a reward (good health) and avoid a negative consequence (bad health), I still enjoy the actual process. It’s kind of the same with writing this blog. It can be tedious to write a post each day. But I inherently enjoy the process of writing. The process of completing household chores is physically aggravating to me. The motions involved in scrubbing surfaces, sweeping, picking things up are inherently annoying to me.

Then, there is the repetitive nature of completing household chores. Twenty-one years ago, when I had a two-year-old and a newborn, I was taking night classes to complete my Masters degree in Elementary Education. In one of my writing classes, we had to produce a body of poetry. Here is one of my senryu poems:

Vacuuming, dusting
The drudgery of housework
Just to be re-done

See? All of this is nothing new. Nothing I haven’t been contemplating for over twenty years. It would be great to finally find some real solution.

So, I keep contemplating. Tomorrow: Contributing Factor #2.

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