Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Skill of Doing Quotidian Work

Have you considered that it is a skill to do the same tasks every day, successfully and without complaining? Yes, a skill.

I have tasks that belong to each day, and when these tasks are done, I stop working and count any work beyond that a bonus. As you know, housework is endless and cyclical - it could drive me mad if I took housework on in its entirety every day.

Monday: laundry; work at desk to pay bills and organize calendar; clean bathroom
Tuesday: laundry; market; vacuum obvious dirt
Wednesday: laundry; zone cleaning
Thursday: laundry; sewing or cooking projects
Friday: laundry; sparkle and shine cleaning
Saturday: wash sheets and change bedding; yard work, porch cleaning
(I'm planning to go into detail about these weekly tasks in another post)

Sometimes I sing while I work or listen to music.

Often I talk on the phone and the work just flies.

I tell myself that I am the homemaker and these tasks are making our home.

I was raised to do any work as "unto the Lord," so the mindset is that all work, no matter how humble or repetitious, can be done to the glory of God.

I try to include the children when I have the patience, and then I take satisfaction from preparing them for life.

In general, I am proud of my housework and my home; there is dignity in well-done, purposeful work.

I do feel the satisfaction of a job well-done. Sometimes I stand back and admire the progress or the results.

Sometimes I pretend that the queen is coming to visit and I'm getting the house ready for her (please tell me you have little plays like that in your head too).

How do you get your repetitious work accomplished, whether it's housework or paid work?


Beth said...

Right now I don't have a schedule of housework like yours. I like your routine. These days, I'm still in the "get it done anytime a free minute opens up" mode regarding housework - oh, and of course there are the times when an "oops" prompts extra cleaning (the bathroom accident on the floor made me clean the baseboards in there...the broken bowl in the kitchen had me cleaning the floor unexpectedly - but was so glad to have those things done!). Also, cutting up big tasks into little ones. I think I'm going to clean my fridge thoroughly, one "zone" at a time...the left door, another day the right door, top shelf later, etc.

And you are so right about the attitude of work: doing it as unto the Lord. I struggle to remember this in the midst of the work, sometimes, but it is His desire for us!

Unknown said...

Yes, I work unto the Lord, and for myself too, I enjoy a clean peaceful atmosphere, and I work for my family, I want them to be comfortable, and have good food and good clothes...and then I sit down and have a cup of tea, enjoy the fruits of the work of my hands...I do have a schedule - I don't follow it all the time, but it's a guide - it helps me get through the week without anything going undone or getting too much of one thing done!

Deanna Beth said...

When I got to the bit where you wanted us to have an imaginary guest Queen, too, I thought..."No, my mind usually pipes in that no queen is actually coming, so I just give up and read a magazine instead."

But when I got to the last sentence, I realized that I often schedule REAL guests, so that there is something concrete to keep me accountable to finish the work.

Laura said...

I often pray while I'm hanging clothes on the line or washing dishes. I actually enjoy some tasks - like folding clean laundry, mopping floors, and making the bed. When I clean the bathrooms, I daydream that I'm Mrs. Pringle from the Miss Read series set in Fairacre - Mrs. Pringle is a zealous cleaner!

One of my best incentives for the mundane chores is to spend a few minutes reading or looking through a book on housework. Those by Monica Nussif are beautiful and have some good ideas I've put into practice. I also like reading diaries of women in other times and seeing the daily work they did - even Laura Ingalls Wilder's books can prompt me to clean out a closet or wash the baseboards.

But I think you've put it best when you wrote of doing everything as "unto the Lord!"

Christian - Modobject@Home said...

Wonderful post, Margo! I'll look forward to reading more of the specifics of your housework schedule and such. I too keep a loose cleaning schedule, although lately that has gone out the window being in "survival mode" with baby and such. I'm anxious to fall back into more of a routine, and to tweak it, which is where I'm hoping to gather inspiration from you!

And, yes, always as unto the Lord!

Margo said...

Laura, I'm off to google Monica Nussif. And I'm going to add Mrs. Pringle to my list of inspirations! I haven't read Miss Read for a while and I can't imagine why.
Last year I tried to get my hands on every book by and about Laura Ingalls Wilder - very interesting and full of inspiration for work!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the reminder of why we're doing this.

Ann at Singing Teaching in Paradise said...

Laura, I LOVE the Miss Read books and have read everything she has ever written! The list made me remember my childhood very clearly, my Mum used to wash on mondays, bake on tuesdays etc.... Oh for those days when there was time enough to really connect with reality.

Laura said...

I misspelled the name - it's Monica Nassif.

beth said...

loved your post today. Housework is a chore that needs to be done. It helps me to have company! Wouldn't want the house to be a mess then! "DO everything without murmuring and complaining"- I think that includes dirty dishes and dusting. ;)

Unknown said...

"As unto the Lord", indeed. And "Work is prayer." Thanks for a reassuring post.

Sylvia said...

I often have a lighted candle in the kitchen to remind me that a sink full of dirty dishes means I've had plenty to eat and someone to share it with. Thanks for the post!

Melanie said...

What a lovely post, Margo! And timely for me. I've always appreciated a schedule such as you wrote about, but our lives haven't quite worked out that way of late. We're finally starting to get it figured out, though, which is so good for my general sanity and peace of mind!

I do take joy in most housekeeping tasks, and appreciate being able to see concrete results from purposeful work. When I am tired or feeling less motivated, I try to remind myself of working "unto the Lord" and start out by thanking God for the people and things he's blessed me with that need my care and attention. That usually flows right into some song or prayer that sets a rhythm for the work. It also usually helps my attitude adjustment considerably ;-)

Jennifer Jo said...

I like the idea of "sparkle and shine" cleaning. It's a good way to make me feel happier about having to wash the windows.

Anonymous said...

My favorite household tasks are ones where I can go on "robot mode" while my mind whisks away to the latest story I'm writing. Vacuuming and washing dishes are excellent opportunities to work on character dialogue, particularly if they're inhabiting Regency England and the maid has just given notice.

Jacinta said...

GREAT thanks Margo!
I really need to make up a routine and stick to it. The sticking to it part is the hardest for me...


Thank you for sharing your housework routine. I like it very much as is a good example for me.

Unknown said...

It would be better to pretend that you are preparing to host a meeting of the local Esperanto conversational practice group.