[Photo(booth) by Westley]
So the lesson we learned recently (in my my last post) is Do The Thing Now. That sounds so easy, doesn't it? Take a deep breath, stand up straight. Now, do it.
What's the problem?
Well, I for one am staring down the double barrel of the overwhelm-and-resentment shotgun. My intellect reminds me that I do enjoy the housewifery thing when I stop resenting it and face it. But there's so much to face! And that leaves me feeling overwhelmed. And overwhelm plus resentment is a great recipe for Fuck this. I'm not doing it.
This is where rules come in. I like rules (except on the days that I hate them). Rules keep the devil away. Rules help me organize my mind-rants when the boulder comes rolling toward me for the fifth time in 20 minutes.
Here are my rules for home/work. Some of them apply better to the metaphorical Mount Thing than others do, but they're all great approaches to achieving some housewife harmony.
While we're hanging on that little alliteration, I'm going to tell you that I am a housewife, baby. I'm down with being a bitch and a slut—and now I'm going to lady-up and own the H-word, too. (I might prefer "haus wife," though.) Perhaps I'll start answering, "Do you work [outside the home]?" with a vehement "God no!"
Enough semantics. Let's do rules! Starting with...
0. Get really mad.
[Photo(booth) by Westley — "Angry Ghost"]
"Get really mad" is "rule zero" and therefore not really a rule because it's optional. In fact, it's preferable that you don't get really mad. I don't recommend it. But the truth is that I often need to get thoroughly pissed before I have the energy to do The Thing.
1. Handle it once.
This is actually my mother's rule. I apply it mostly to things like junk mail (which goes directly from the mailbox to the recycling bin), shoes (take them off and put them away—all one step), and bags (take handbag off shoulder, place on hook in closet). This one also keeps dirty plates off the kitchen counter and dirty clothes off the floor. I'm still working on not leaving my bra on the towel rack, though.
2. If it takes five minutes or fewer, do it right now.
The dishwasher taught me this lesson. My relationship to doing dishes was similar to my relationship to folding laundry. I would put it off and put it off and put it off (because I thought I hated it), and then when I eventually (got really mad and) did it, it took NO TIME! I can unload and reload the dishwasher in five minutes!
Identify your five-minute chores and do them. Start with them. It'll put you in the Do The Thing Now state of mind.
3. If you want something done, do it yourself.
This one isn't rocket surgery. We all know this one. But how much time have I wasted wishing Rob—or someone—magical elves, maybe?—would wipe up those drips of tomato sauce? Hold on, let me get my graphing calculator...
If you want something done, because it's bothering you, do it yourself—for yourself.
4. Your (grand)mother doesn't live here.
Anyone who's ever worked in an office with a kitchenette has seen this one, usually printed in some awful, non-confrontational font like Comic Sans, and taped to the shared fridge. The idea is to remind you that no one is going to clean up after you. And I use this phrase to mean "clean up after yourself" too. But, more importantly, I use it as a reminder that no one is here judging me for not being a better housekeeper. Furthermore, I don't have to default to ironing in the kitchen, as it were.
5. Remember Future You!
It's incredible how much work you save yourself tomorrow by not putting things off today. Think of it as a gift for your future self!
Doing The Thing Now means being present practically all the time. Which is tough. It's tough on a good day. But when you're always tackling The Thing, there is no need to take a deep breath and center and "Here we go again."
You're already there, baby!