Last week I started a post about reducing the mundane parts of homemaking to make room for the sacred things in our life. I focused on the ways that clutter, excess, and waste become obstacles to living an intentional life, a theme you may have heard me talk about before. (And, don’t worry, I’ll have some ideas for you on how to do that easily in Friday’s post.)
But as I was writing, I realized that the way we approach the “have-tos” of homemaking impacts us as much as the activities on our to-do list. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the never-ending pressure of multiple loads of laundry a day, kids who insist on eating every few hours, and a house that seems to attract dust and dog hair leaves me grumbling and complaining about it all.
So before we dive into simplifying those chores, maybe we need to start by checking our attitudes.
A few months ago in the Live course, Meagan Francis of The Happiest Home talked about approaching chores—things like laundry and dishes and meal prep—as acts of love. I love that perspective and the idea that we can choose to embrace chores and have-tos as opportunities to love and serve our family rather than dreading them as something we have to do again and again and again.
When we see these acts as sacred, as part of a bigger purpose and tied to our callings as moms, it really does change the acts themselves. The more we complain or dread a certain chore, the worse it gets in our mind, like the fear of scary monsters hiding under the bed. And the worse it gets in our mind, the more irritated we get as we match socks and fold t-shirts and scrub egg yolk off plates. But when we see each of these as a tiny act of love, as an opportunity to serve our family—as a vocation—then we can approach them with love and joy and thankfulness.
I’m not naive enough to think that we can just decide to approach all of the tasks of daily life as sacred and suddenly they will feel that way every time we do them. There will be times when we’re performing amazing feats of strength to change the sheets on the top bunk in the middle of the night or mopping up muddy footprints for the third time in a single day when we’ll just be doing what needs to be done. And that’s okay too. But we can practice approaching them as sacred, as acts of love, as privileges so that our overall attitudes are focused on gratefulness rather than dread. Because I’m pretty sure we’re all thankful for the little people who pee the bed in the middle of the night and come inside with mud-covered shoes.
To be clear, I am not saying that a mom’s greatest calling is dishes and laundry and cleaning the toilet.
And I’m not saying that we should always do those things as if they’re our greatest purpose in life. In our family, we approach life as a family unit that all works together, and my husband and kids do plenty of chores. Holding these acts as sacred doesn’t mean mom is the only one who does them; it means that when we’re doing them, we see each tiny act as part of the bigger picture. And it means that we’re passing on that same attitude and approach to our kids, so that they too can approach chores as something important, as a way to serve and show love to the rest of the family.