Frustrated with housework?
Do things quickly and effortlessly by changing your focus

By Nicky VanValkenburgh

Hey Mom, are you frustrated with the kids and housework? Your husband may complain about office politics and bureaucracy, but being a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy either.

Every week, Moms do unpleasant tasks like cleaning the toilet, picking up Play-doh, changing poopie diapers, and washing dishes. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a way to make these jobs easier… or even fun? Here are some practical suggestions for keeping your wits with housework.

Cleaning the toilet. It’s a dirty job that no one wants to do. Let’s clean it quickly, in 10 minutes or less. Get some of those disposable cleaning sponges at the grocery store. Armed with the right equipment, find a way to make the job fun. How about walking into the bathroom with a boom box under your arm? Listen to music as you clean the rim, lid, bowl and sides. Put a little pep in your step, sing along and dance to the beat. You’re cleaning the toilet, but there is no reason to be depressed about it.

Once you’re done, look at yourself in the mirror and smile. You might say, “This was a job that no one wanted to do, but you did it. Even if no one else notices, I appreciate you doing an excellent job!” Ok, talking to yourself sounds silly, but helps to feel good about yourself. That’s empowering!

Picking up Play-doh. Do you cringe at the sight of Play-Doh? Once your kids open the containers, it’s a big mess. The colors are mixed together, the dough is pressed into cookie cutters and plastic shapes. There’s Play-Doh on the floor, kitchen table, pressed into the carpet, and stuck underneath your child’s fingernails.

Great, why does Mom have clean it up? All of sudden, you’re bombarded with disempowering feelings. Anger, anxiety, disgust, and self-pity.

How can we change our focus to something empowering? A schoolteacher once told me that Play-Doh builds manual dexterity, and enables children to have better handwriting. Wow, that’s an empowering thought!

It also helps to establish Play-Doh ground rules, such as “only use Play-Doh at the kitchen table” and “wash your hands afterwards.” You might also make a game out of cleaning up. Find a kitchen timer or sand timer. Tell your kids must clean up the mess before time runs out. On your marks, get set, go! The empowered Mom watches from the sidelines.

Dirty diapers. Nobody likes changing diapers or soiled clothing. Do you plug your nose, grimace or groan? Do you make negative remarks, or think about how disgusting it is? That does not help. It only makes you feel worse. Instead, shift your attitude and mindset to the positive. A healthy bowel movement is the body’s way of cleansing itself. If a child is constipated, they may feel nauseous, feverish, or sick. Instead, your child is healthy and thriving! They have successfully eliminated waste matter from their body. Give thanks for that!

If this doesn’t work for you, find a way to laugh or feel good in the moment. Try thinking about something else, or focusing your attention elsewhere. Look deeply at your child, and notice how beautiful or adorable they are. It’s amazing how bad feelings will melt away, if you chose not to focus on them. Remember, you want to be empowered rather than disempowered. Find a way to be happy in the moment, rather than dwelling on negative feelings.

Washing the dishes. Are you the only one who loads and unloads the dishwasher? It’s downright depressing, isn’t it? You’d think this family could carry their own cups and plates to the sink.

Oops, our attitude is disempowering again! A victim mentality has kicked in. Instead, let’s ask ourselves: “How can I wash the dishes, and fun doing it?”

Personally, I enjoy listening to self-help cds and tapes while washing dishes. There are plenty of these at library, and you can check them out free. Recently, I listened to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Make Friends and Influence People.” As I listened, I felt happy and excited. My focus was no longer on the dishes. By listening to Dale Carnagie, I shifted my attention to something positive. Funny, I actually enjoyed my time, alone in the kitchen with Dale Carnagie… and all the dishes were done too.

Whatever you do, be aware of what you’re thinking and saying to yourself. Are your thoughts empowering or disempowering? You can easily turn things around by shifting your focus, and putting things in a positive framework. Find a way to be happy in the moment. That’s right, Mom! Whatever you do, find a way to smile and be happy now.

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