5 Minutes: Clean House and Content Soul
Original Date: Feb 25, 2015
I was recently asked by someone “How do you it all”. My first thought was “Well, I certainly don’t do it all”. To tell the truth, I get a TON of help, physical and emotional. Josh is my first and major support system. He helps out around the house more than most men probably do, and he is always an emotional support for me. He can figure out a techie problem, or untangle wires, and if I ask very nicely, he would make dinner and vacuum too. I really can’t describe all the ways that he helps me out so that it appears that I “Do it all”, but just know, having his loving support is amazing.
I also have my family support. We have Grammy’s ready and waiting to watch kids at a moments notice if need be. My MIL will watch our dog at a moment’s notice too. Our families are also an emotional support center, and have helped us through some tough times. Without their loving support, perhaps I would have less energy to do the many tasks and projects I like to take on. They make my overall quality of life and energy for life greater.
When digging deeper I realize that what people really want to know, is “How do you juggle so many different responsibilities, and still cook dinner and clean your house?”.
Another easy response is that I am home most of the time.
I L-O-V-E working from home. I have discovered this about myself, and that is a key understanding I use to plan which projects I will take on. I loose energy when I have to travel to work, I have learned this the hard way. If I am home and working, whether that means teaching classes or organizing Teacher Training curriculum, working in the Art Studio, or any other project, I can work LONG hours and still have energy. I just know how I work and I use it to my advantage. That’s how I can have multiple projects going, that might otherwise drain people. I know how I work best, and that is the only way I choose to spend my time. It took some time to figure this out, but now that I have it under control, I know when to say “NO” to things that I know will drain me personally. Often that means saying no to taking on an extra gig, project, yoga class to teach, or subbing for someone. I would love to help, but I know that is going to unsettle me, so I let someone else take it on.
Now, the cooking and the housecleaning bit… a lot of this I owe to my Mom. She is 100% Sicilian, so good food and a clean home were important qualities growing up. She is known for her delicious food and hospitality, and being able to clean out a house so that you could perform open heart surgery if needed, and no germs would be around. No kidding. I remember people coming over and being shocked at how clean her house was with little kids running around. I often compare my own house keeping to hers and feel that I fall incredibly short. In light of my mother, I don’t usually really feel like I do a “great” job at keeping the house in order. But I understand that for most people house work is a chore that falls to the wayside until the floor screams at you from its grimy tiles to pick up a few things and give it a good scrub. So I suppose I can help with a few tips that may save you some time in the long run, and make you feel like you can “Do it all” too…
1- Understand your tolerance level to mess. Help others to understand it too.
So this relates to my writing above about understanding yourself. You don’t have to meet someone else’s standard, just your own. I don’t enjoy messes, such as dishes in the sink, beds unmade, and general “clutter” but I do have a bit of tolerance for things that are dusty. So that is where I differ from my mom. My family knows this about me, and they do a good job helping out with that standard. But I in turn understand that they won’t always hold my standard the way I do, so if I have to pick up a few clothing items, or wash their dirty dish in the sink, I don’t freak out about it. I just do it to meet my own standard. If I had to clean up after them all the time, all day long, I would get tired of it, but I allow for occasional messes, and don’t make a big deal about it. We are all happier for it.
2- Five minutes a day can make a huge difference!
I rarely, if ever, spend the whole day cleaning the house. I never have to spend 30 minutes- an hour scrubbing my tub and bathroom, or scouring the kitchen, or picking up a ton of clothes. That is because I choose and prefer to spend a few minutes regularly cleaning, than many hours scrubbing. Its not how I like to spend my time, so I make sure I don’t EVER have to do that (really, this comes back to understanding about myself).
I think the Bathroom and Kitchen end up being the biggest problem areas in the house. So here is how I tackle them: After my morning shower and “ablutions”, I take about 5 minutes wiping down my bathroom. I have a little spray bottle and rag, and I wipe the sink, tub, toilet, and floor. It literally takes me about 5 minutes to do this because I do it EVERY DAY. There is never a scum build up to scrub off. And every day my bathroom is sparkly, and it makes me happy :). When I cook, I always take a few minutes to clean up my dishes. After dinner, all the dishes are cleaned, put away (we have full family support for this, the girls help out) and I again take just a few minutes to wipe the stove, counters, and table. I often pull out the broom and sweep up the kitchen. 5 minutes. Maybe 10, max. But the trick is every day. I do have beds made and clothes picked up, but that again only takes a few minutes. IT does take a little longer to vacuum our whole house, but again, I do it with consistency (meaning 2-3X a week) so it takes me about 15-20 minutes to get the whole house vacuumed. I will often take my mop and do a quick wipe over after vacuuming. In total, I probably spend about an hour or 2 every week cleaning, but I spread it out over little minutes every day, so it never feels like a big long chore. You can approach your yoga practice the same way. I like to tell my students, just a few minutes every day will give you BIG results. Its no different.
3-Be tolerant with yourself.
If you HATE cleaning, then that is ok! Maybe its just better to hire a house cleaner than to devote any time doing housework. Understand this about yourself. You would be helping them make their living, and you don’t have to clean, so its not a problem! I actually like cleaning, it helps to clear out my mind, so I prefer to do it myself. Remember, it takes time to build a new habit, so take small steps first, and maybe they will inspire you to make a few more.
So no, I don’t feel like I “do it all”. I get a lot of help, and I do a “little” every day.
What I try to have is a very good sense of what makes me content, personally, hygiene wise, business wise, family, on all levels, and I make very certain to take the action steps that allow me to be and feel content as much as possible. And in that regard, I do feel like I “have” it all. Let me know what your actions steps are.
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What is one area that makes you content, and one action step you can take today to bring you there?