When our girls were still living at home, they each were assigned certain household chores. They didn’t like doing them, but they were somewhat coercible…most of the time. Our biggest battle was always the issue of maintaining their bedrooms. I use the word “maintaining” loosely because it was an expectation that rarely translated into reality. When it came to the girls’ rooms, daily maintenance was sort of a pie-in-the-sky parental dream. They see things differently now that they’re grown but, back then, they simply didn’t buy into the idea that straightening their rooms every day would prevent them from having to move mountains later. In their defense, though, genetics probably played an integral role in that. When I was a kid, my room was usually a dump, too.

Still, we pushed them to tackle their rooms at least once a week. We wanted to keep weekends free for whatever might come up, so we designated every Thursday as Cleaning Day. My husband and I had our own chores, too, so it’s not like we were treating the girls as soot-covered Cinderellas. But you’d never have known that by their protests. One of their favorite fraught-with-angst mantras was, “I hate Thursdays!”  When my husband suggested changing our cleaning day to Wednesdays, they lamented, “That won’t help! Then I’ll hate Wednesdays!”  

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to confess…I pretty much hated Thursdays, too. Obviously, though, it really wasn’t the day of the week that offended us. It was the cleaning itself.

After the girls moved out on their own, my husband and I stopped observing an official weekly cleaning day. We just do what needs to be done when it needs it. Since I can’t stand living in a messy environment, I do make a concerted effort to stay on top of things…even though it’s generally under duress.  Manual labor and I have never been friends and, until recently, the only upshot I could find to cleaning was the end result.

Lately, however, there’s been a subtle shift in my attitude towards housework. I recently came to the outlandish conclusion that there are actually some chores that can have a positive effect while I’m doing them…not just after I’m done. Crazy, I know! It was another one of those living-in-the-moment discoveries that took me by pleasant surprise.

To see what I mean, click the button below and read Dust Bunnies in the Wind.

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