OK, I’m not bossing you about. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
To be fair, if you’re not too worried about getting your chores done it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be loved – the world won’t suddenly stop revolving – your friends won’t suddenly abandon you – and your business won’t suddenly collapse around your ears.
It really is not the end of the world if you’re living in disarray and you’re happy like that.
But it can be a problem if you’re a work at home parent who needs to devote a considerable chunk of time to your work or business, or whatever else it is you do (like studying or honouring community commitments).
It can also be a problem for people who don’t want to live in disarray but can’t seem to get on top of the chores (regardless of whether they’re a work at home parent or not).
This isn’t about being snobby or precious about how your home looks (although it’s good to take a pride), but it’s more about making it easier to make a success of the ‘work’ part of working from home when you have the housework under control.
It’s about maintaining your sanity, feeling good about yourself and living as you want to live.
14 Compelling Reasons for Getting the Housework Done
- For you! It’s your home. You’ve got to live there. You’ve got to work there. You will spend more time there than anyone else, so make it nice. Make it peaceful, make it ordered and calm. You’ll love yourself for doing it and when your family eventually get the message that they need to play a part, they’ll love it too. Make your home somewhere that you want to be– somewhere you can’t wait to get back to.
- For you! Again for you! Especially if you’re feeling out of control in other areas of your life. Getting control of just one thing can spur you on, build your confidence and raise your self-esteem. Just ask the thousands of FlyLady fans who have sparkling sinks.
- You can find things when you need them – and because of this you can avoid one of the biggest causes of stress and fiction within a home. Being unable to find things is almost guaranteed to send your blood pressure soaring and spoil your fantastically creative state of mind. The morning school run springs to mind as a great candidate for producing bad tempered exchanges. Not everything has to have a place and there doesn’t have to be a place for everything, but it’s not a bad idea to make sure the important and crucial things have a place and that there’s a place for the important and crucial things.
- You can have people around without feeling ashamed and without spending a frantic hour before their arrival hiding the mess (and hoping they don’t find it) only to have to deal with it properly later.
- You can combine it with other activities – it might sound a bit odd but actually it’s a good way to spend time with your children. They get to see that you have responsibilities and that you discharge them with the minimum of fuss. You also get to talk to them in a pressure free situation and the activity helps them feel they’re not being interrogated. Because you don’t need to keep eye contact all the time you could even talk to them about sensitive subjects. It’s also a great way to get them to do some homework. My own children need to do a certain amount of reading aloud and this is a brilliant time to have them do it. Or you could just use the time for idle chatter and enjoy the time together.
- When it’s done it’s done – I feel good when the house work is done. I feel that I’ve accomplished something worthwhile because I know what it means to me and I know that it makes for a nicer experience for my family.
- The tidier it is, the less tidying you have to do. I suppose that’s pretty obvious, but you only realise the significance of that statement when you’ve let the housework slide for three days and you have 8 hours work ahead of you instead of two. A good place to start is to declutter your home… the fewer things there are to clean the less cleaning you need to do.
- Being on top of the housework gives you more flexibility. At short notice you can go off and do other things knowing that it will only take a short time to catch up.
- Clients can come to your house in person or as part of a video conferencing arrangement. When you’re on webcam you look great in a tidy setting – As much as I try not to be judgemental it’s tough not to notice the chaos going on around in the background.
- You have more time for you, your family or your friends. You can enjoy your hobbies. You can enjoy some social interaction, or if you’ve got babies and infants… you can get some sleep.
- It’s one less thing to procrastinate over. Even if you are lucky enough to work in a custom built home office in the loft, you will still be distracted with clutter and other things that need to be done around the home. And that’s even if you can’t see it! It plays in the back of your mind. When you’re out of the house at a place of employment it’s different because you know there’s nothing you can do about it. But when you’re in the next room it’s too easy to put off a tough work related task when there’s some brainless chore to be done instead.
- It prevents arguments and bad feeling. Whether you like it or not there’s often an expectation from the ‘bread winner’ who’s been out at work all day, that when they come home, they’re coming home to domestic bliss. You may have another arrangement, but mine is that I do most of the housework (not all, but most). If I find my wife doing a chore that I haven’t done, I get cross with myself, and if I haven’t done any, she gets cross with me.
- It can help with the creative flow. Some of my best ideas come to me while I’m ironing and frequently I’ll get a sudden burst of insight about something that’s been troubling me. It’s as near to meditation as I ever get!
- You can go to bed not dreading getting up the next day. That has to be the second best way to end the day.
Just the clarify: I used the word ‘must’ in the title and I’m sticking with it. If you’re a work at home parent, getting the house in order is essential. You can let it all slide and still cope for a while, but eventually the problems you create for yourself will compound to the point where your home life and your work life suffer. How do I know? Personal experience.
So is my home pristine all the time? Are you mad?? I’ve got 4 children, 3 dogs and plenty of things to do. Of course it’s not. There are days when my best laid plans are blown right out of the water. But most days I get it done and that’s good enough.
What does it take?
I’ll come back to this with another post, but for now I’ll say it takes a little sacrifice, some good routines, some good habits and a very mild obsession. I’ll also add that it doesn’t require perfection and it doesn’t require you to go minimalist or even spartan. And there is absolutely no obligation for you to become an unbearable snob just because your house looks good (that’s purely optional).
Can you think of any other reasons to get on top of the cleaning?