About perception and finding joy in doing household chores

Western society’s fast pace isn’t for me, I admit. I see others combine work, family, hobbies, outings and social life. But every time I try to keep up with this rhythm, within months I’m completely exhausted. Combining everything is just too much and it’s going too fast. I’ve learned and accepted that I have a much slower pace. I love to live slowly, so I can be present in everything I do. To take care of myself, my partner and my loved ones in a sincere way. To have time to do nothing and to sit, stare, wonder and dream.

The first step towards self-realization is always acceptance. It allows you to stop judging yourself and instead embrace who YOU are. Unfortunately accepting that I need a different pace, is only the beginning of resolving the issue. It doesn’t allow me to immediately quit my job and live according to my own rhythm. It would be great, but I haven’t found the solution (or money :)) yet. Which leaves me the ongoing challenge of finding and keeping my balance in everything I do, and staying true to myself.

A while ago, however, I’ve discovered a new perception of my career which makes me feel much calmer. Besides that, it also brought me a newfound joy in doing household chores 🙂 I’ll tell you how this happened.

A new insight on ‘work’

Throughout my career it’s been a challenge to find a job in which I felt happy, useful and balanced. I’ve lost count of how many jobs I’ve had. Even this year I’m already starting my second job, changing from receptionist to HR coordinator in the same local health care center (read more about this in my first blogpost). The former position didn’t match my rhythm at all. Hopefully the new job does. But only through trial and error can we learn 🙂

For the first time however, I’m letting go of all my ‘professional’ expectations. Since I quit working as a criminologist in the criminal justice department end of 2018, I freed myself from society’s (and personal) expectations (read more about this in Eve’s story). Proving myself in a job is no longer necessary. Having fun and being useful, all the more. We don’t have to ignore our talents and capacities. But the kind of job you do, doesn’t change your value as a person.

You are beautiful, regardless of what you do.

Since I started looking at ‘work’ this way (and that’s still very new), I already appreciate doing household chores much more. Crazy but true, the resistance I’ve felt against it for many years, started to slowly melt away like snow in the sun 🙂

The housewife cliche

Before I continue, I have to tell you that my partner does his share in doing household chores too 🙂 And we don’t have children, so the tasks are manageable. But there’s always some cleaning, washing or cooking to do, right. Even when you’re on your own 🙂

I used to look down on doing household chores. A lot. Identifying myself as a housewife made me feel small and trapped in the pattern of gender roles. I always wanted to resist the cliche, by being a strong and independent woman who travels around the world on her own (read more about that in my previous blog post :)). Not by doing menial tasks, and definitely not for others.

I know now that I made a thinking error. Every association we make is subjective. We believe that what we think is true. We create images around a word, a person or a concept and we build our own definition around it. I defined doing household chores as some kind of subordinate job. Of course I was influenced by history and public opinion. In general women have never been valued for being a housewife.

But once I let go of society’s expectations (I don’t need to have a career based on my degree to be successful, or any career at all), I felt that I could appreciate any kind of job again, without any judgment. And that includes doing household chores 🙂 If we can find true meaning and joy in what we do, whether it is valued by society or not, that’s enough. Even more. It’s beautiful. And very liberating. (foto 4)

Tips to find more joy in doing household chores

Does this mean I become very enthusiastic every time I see a pile of dishes or a full basket of laundry? No 🙂 But the fact that I changed my perception of it already makes it a lot easier. In addition to that, these tips helped me find more joy in doing household chores:

  • Choose the right moment: A very important one for me. Don’t start cleaning when you just came home from a hard day at work and you’re all tired and stressed out. Often our mind is still restless and in ‘working’ mode, already making a list of all the things we have to do next. And so we put pressure on ourselves. First, take some time to relax and reconnect with yourself. Step out of your mind, by for example going for a short walk, doing 30 minutes of yoga or any other form of movement. I try to wait until I feel peaceful, before I start on household chores.  
  • Put love in every task: Tell yourself that by doing these household chores, you are taking care of yourself, your partner and your family. You are bringing harmony into your house and living space. Right before you start, make it your intention to put love in every task. I love this one, because working with intentions brings much more meaning to our actions.
  • Don’t do too much at once: We often think that we can only find peace when everything is done. But nothing is urgent. Even if you don’t feel like cooking, just be gentle with yourself and skip the task (or blend a quick soup or smoothie :)). I use the guideline to do only 1 or maximum 2 household chores a day. It makes me feel less stressed and at the same time my commitment remains clear. The rest will wait 🙂
  • Put on some music: Sometimes we just need some extra motivation 🙂 Put on some music and dance to your favourite song while going crazy with that vacuum cleaner 🙂

End thought: where you are now is exactly where you need to be

I always find it interesting (and funny sometimes :)) how a new insight suddenly changes our perception on something. This change can be scary, making us prefer to stick to a certain point of view or conviction, sometimes even for a lifetime. It can feel confronting to realize that the way we looked at something wasn’t wholesome. Especially when we grew up with those beliefs or when they were taught to us by parents or loved ones. But there’s only one way to move forward, and that’s our own.

Since we’re all unique beings, only we ourselves can define how we (want to) view the world and our place in it. And that’s an ongoing journey, because nothing is everlasting. At times, it makes me really tired. More so when I feel impatient and want to continue my growth. That’s part of my unique nature 🙂 But with time I learn to appreciate more where I am now, and I have faith in everything that’s happening. The quote I carry with me along the road is simple but very true: “Where you are now is exactly where you need to be”. Take a good look in the mirror today and smile to your beautiful self 🙂 Have a great day!