The beauty in the duty
As soloists, we spend our lives juggling balls and
wearing lots of hats. Then there’s the minutiae of everyday life that won’t go
away – domestic chores.
Inevitably, home-based soloists have a higher than average
expectation-slash-temptation to do a bit of tidying up. Undone dishes, unwashed
clothes and the like are harder to ignore when you work from home.
In our house, Amy’s dad does most of the baby care, but I find the chores of
shopping, cleaning, making beds, doing washing and deciding what to eat fall in
John-Paul probably would do these jobs, but my impatience and low tolerance
of mess means he doesn’t get a chance.
Once upon a time, these jobs seemed to fit quite nicely around my work. When
I became a mother, the presence of these chores loomed larger and I started
developing an uneasy relationship with them.
The two things I’ve found hardest to cope with are firstly, the guilt “I
should be doing some proper work.” And secondly, I’m ashamed to admit, a sense
that “I’m better than this.”
Menial business tasks can evoke the same feelings. And they are not nice
feelings, but I faced up to them. I came up with some options to help my
Outsource the more tedious jobs
No chance – I’m too
Lower your standards
I have done this to a degree, for
example, I very rarely iron anything anymore. But I am uncomfortable being too
slovenly. For example, a sticky kitchen floor is way more irritating to me than
the chore of mopping.
Find some meaning within the work
Trying to deny their
existence didn’t work. Doing them half cocked didn’t work. If I was going to
counterattack the “I’m better than this” credo, I needed to recognise that
housework isn’t glamorous, but it is important.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not quite at the domestic goddess/flowers in the
bathroom stage, nor will I ever be. But nowadays I do try and find satisfaction
in the work by appreciating the effort these kinds of jobs require and not
taking the results for granted.
Also, I try to engage in the chores, rather than switching off.
As a result, I’ve lost the sense of superiority, thankfully. I have not
succeeded, though, in turning off the guilt about not doing ‘proper’ work. If
anyone has any tips on conquering this, I’d be happy
to hear them.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some washing to hang out.