I hate chores.
Before kids, they were a mild annoyance. I could do them when I felt like, or, more accurately, when I absolutely had to because I was out of underwear or spoons.
Now, it is a chore to get a chore done.
Picture this. It is 6:30 at night. I’m cleaning up dinner. A pot for steamed mixed veggies. A pot for rice. A pot for veggie curry. Four plates. Four cups. Four forks. Cutting boards. Knives. A high chair. Random snack cups from the afternoon. One whining 15 month old, ready for her bath and bed. She clings to my legs and makes high pitched grunt noises that roughly translate to: “if you don’t bathe me and put me to bed asap, I’m going to lose my ever-loving mind.” One tired four year old, expending the last amounts of energy that he has left in his body by running full force, back and forth, down the hall way and laughing maniacally. The effort it takes to get to the dishes is greater than the dishes themselves take.
Once I’ve got them to bed, and I’m mindlessly scrolling through social media, I see hilarious posts about how much we moms hate dishes. And laundry. And vacuuming. How my house would be clean, but I’m busy making memories with my kids. Memories of mommy trying not to lose her mind in a heap of stinky socks and peanut butter covered plates. I like them and chuckle as I read through them. Who doesn’t.
Let’s be real: our shared experience in meme form is what gives me life on long days.
But those memes aren’t going to scrub my pots and pans.
I’ve written before about the power of mindset – or at least that was the point of this post. Shifting your mindset may not make parenting easier or make you magically love folding your towels. But, it is a coping skill. Parenting is still hard. Chores are still a pain. Getting them done without dread and stress is the name of the game. Or, as little dread and stress as possible.
So, here’s my trick. My hipppie dippie, kale-eating, yoga-practicing, stainless-straw-sipping meditation for chores.
When you can, focus only on the chore at hand. Send dad to give the kids a bath while you do the dishes. Park the kids with some toys while you fold the laundry.
If you can’t focus, turn the chore into a game. Turn on some tunes and dance while you scrub. Race your son to see who can fold the most towels.
Think about the purpose of the chore. My daughter’s plate is in my hand. I’m washing it for her. I’m washing it so that she has a clean plate to eat from. I’m washing it so that she can fill her belly with yummy and nutritious food. So that she can grow and thrive. My son’s shorts are in my hands. I’m folding them for him. So that he has something to wear when he is running and playing. Things he enjoys doing. Things that help him grow and thrive.
Don’t avoid it. Jump in, focus, and get it done.
Don’t dread it. Shift your mindset. Think of it as an act of love. For yourself. For your family.
Then, eat a piece of chocolate and giggle at gif’s of other moms having overly dramatic meltdowns over a dirty toilet. Banter sarcastically about what a pain chores are. Because they are! You can still dislike doing chores. I know I do! I also know that looking at chores as an act of love makes me a little less “angry tired and generally grouchy mommy” and a little more “I can get this done for my family and if nothing else, I can dance to Whitney Houston’s 80’s hits while I do it.”