So I'm going to start a little series on ways you can help to release guilt from your everyday housework/ housekeeping. This first installment of the Guilt Busters is about doing a little mini Praxes several times through the day.
First, of course, you have to know what a Praxes is. This is a word from Simpleology, so if you've not started it, do so now. I've explained often enough why, if you do nothing else to change your life, do that.
So for those not far enough along in Simpleology to know what a Praxes is, it's basically writing down everything you really NEED to get done through the day, and then doing it first before you do ANYTHING else from your day. You've heard the old saying, "Do your work first, then play," and that's what the Praxes is partly about. It contains other very important elements, but this is the part of the Praxes we're going to focus on for our Mini Praxis.
Based on that, what is a mini Praxes? It's doing a sort of "Praxes" after each mean, and right after putting your children to bed, or right after arriving home from school. Whenever it fits into your life appropriately.
So, here's the basic idea we want:
I just did my Daily Target Praxes, and now I'm making lunch. I make lunch and we all eat. Now, before I go on with the rest of my day, I close my eyes for a moment, and think how I want my kitchen to look. I enjoy and bask in this vision for a few minutes.
Then, real quick, I hammer out cleaning up the lunch dishes, and clean two or three other dishes, too. I have my child help me, with the understanding that if she will help me clean up the lunch dishes, I will spend 15 minutes of quality time with her.
Then the rest of the afternoon, until either dinner time, nap time, or home-from-school time (whichever fits your life), I can go on about my day without guilt for enjoying something like reading a book, browsing the internet, or whatever.
This teaches our children to do their work quickly and efficiently, focusing intently... and then to spend the rest of the day guilt-free. It teaches them to do a few short Praxes after important daily events, and then to enjoy the rest of their time.
With time and devotion to this simple practice, you will eventually have that kitchen that you envision after each meal and before cleaning it to head out and do other things. You'll also have spent a total of at least 45 minutes of quality time with your children-- as well as having taught them valuable skills for their own lives.
So the Mini Praxes after each meal, or after a nap (a Mini Praxes here might be to make the bed and pick up the morning's toys), just before bedtime (where we pick up the afternoon's toys), and at other events throughout the day; helps us to relinquish guilt about what's not being done.
It helps to slowly get the house in order, as well, because we only do a couple of extra things each time-- yet up til now, most of us have been not only not doing the extra, but not even the basic maintenance.
This is your daily maintenance. This is the secret key to keeping your morning (or afternoon) Praxes simple, short, and easy, as well. At least with regards to housekeeping. If you've kept the kitchen clean of the meals you've made the day before, you don't have to do make-up work.
Always, with everything, involve your family in what you do.
You do enough work through the day that your husband can help you clean up after dinner. Your job is the household, his is outside of the household, but by evening, you're both responsible for the house.
When you value what you do, and expect help, you're more likely to get it. And you DO deserve it.
Plus, it's healthy for your family to have a meal together and to clean up together. The key word here is "together," which is a word that has become less and less of a real, concrete experience for families these days.
Eating and cleaning up together is better than no time together. And as a mother (or father), it's time for you to start insisting on it. Getting the help and assistance you deserve isn't the only good reason to insist on it.
Which is a good thing, because most of us wouldn't insist on it if that were the only reason. Too bad, too, because it's a fully legitimate reason to insist on something.
But if "because we need family time together" is all you can manage to insist on right now, I say roll with it. It will help everyone in your family, on many levels:
- It improves your relationship with spouse and children both
- It creates together time
- It teaches your children excellent life habits
- It helps decrease your overwhelm by keeping the house cleaner
- It improves the mood of the household (cleanliness almost always does)
- It gets rid of a lot of the clutter that closes in and overwhelms
~ Livin' the Rhythm with Kimberly Weston