Saturday, June 20, 2009

Requests From Our Readers: Week 8

This week we are talking about self motivation. Check out what our reader said:

"Another topic that would be of interest to me would be a discussion about how to stay motivated to do the parts of being a homemaker that you don't enjoy. I love spending time with my baby and am almost always motivated to get on the floor and play with him, but I really struggle to do things like clean the bathroom, do the dishes, etc. sometimes. How do you guys keep motivated!?!"

We've talked before about setting routines in your house and making sure that your clutter doesn't turn to entropy. So we've discussed HOW to get it done, but we haven't discussed how to WANT to get it done! So help her out.

Do you ever feel like you don't want to do your house work?
How do you stay motivated to do house work and other homemaking tasks?
Share your successes and failures!

Keep it coming - we have only 1 or 2 reader requests we haven't gotten to yet, so be sure to shoot us an e-mail if you have a good question or concern. We appreciate your responses - thank you very much for making this discussion forum a success!!


Jared and Delia said...

I sometimes get too into cleaning up that I don't get down on the floor and play as much or for as long as I would like. So...don't be too hard on yourself. :)

I think a great motivator for me is to break up my work into smaller goals. I'' set a goal to tidy this one part of the house up before we do something fun like go to the park, or a really good motivator...have lunch. I also give myself a time limit. I sometimes say...I have 15 minutes, let me see how much I can get done in 15 minutes. It is surprising how much you can accomplish with concentrated effort in just a short amount of time and it only took me just that...a short amount of time.

Reward yourself. Allow yourself a break when you are done with your "chores."

Ben and Shauna said...

For me, I will set certain chores for certain days of the week, so Mon-laundry, Tue-bathrooms, Wed- floors etc. So then I clean the bathrooms, and I'm done for the day, on cleaning. And then don't feel too bad if I'm just playing with the kids, because I did clean something today! Then it's not as big as a deal either, if something comes up, and it didn't get done, because then I think, 'it's ok, it got done last week, and it will get done next week' I think it's important though, to realize though, that although we need to have clean houses too, your kids are alot more important, than our houses. Especially when they grow up so fast, and your house will still be there. So even if it helps to try to do it while they take naps, or at night when they've gone to bed.
Actually Cole(2 1/2)is at the age where he loves to help clean, so I am spending time with him, and he's having fun, all at the same time, he's learning how to clean, and I'm getting stuff done.(although it takes a little longer than if I just do it myself, but...)oh well, you can't have it all. Good luck!

Chris and Laura said...

Holy cow--I never clean my house. It's terrible. My usual excuse is that I work full time, have a toddler, and am pregnant, and thus have neither the time nor the energy to do anything once I get home at the end of the day. During the summer though, I'm home all day with all kinds of time to clean. And I still don't. I'm glad this post came up because I could use some tips.

One thing that my husband has taught me, though, is the 30-second rule. If the job takes less than 30 seconds, do it now. Don't wait. For example: it takes less than thirty seconds to hang up a jacket. Just hang it up now instead of tossing it on the couch to hang up later. It takes less than 30 seconds to rinse off a dish and put it in the dishwasher. Do it now instead of waiting until all the dishes have stacked up and it takes 30 minutes to load everything. It takes less than 30 seconds to wipe off the bathroom counter. Do it now instead of waiting until all the gunk has built up and it takes forever and lots of elbow grease to really get it clean.

I have found that it is a lot easier to keep things clean than it is to clean them after they get really messy. If you spot clean all the time, like putting something away as soon as you are done using it, then cleaning everything else isn't so bad. The bigger jobs like scrubbing the floors or getting all the laundry folded don't seem so bad when that's all you have to do, rather than having those big jobs on top of picking up all the clutter.

My other secret is to invite people over. :) I hate having guests in a messy house, so if I invite someone over for dinner and/or games, I am guaranteed to get my house really clean before they come. This particular brand of motivation works for me every time.

Megan said...

Like Laura, having people come over is one of the biggest motivators for me. But, you can't always have someone coming to your house, so I also you the time limit thing. "I have 30 minutes, lets do this." That helps me a lot, and a reward at the end always helps!

Tannie Datwyler said...

I am in the same boat as you S - I sometimes wonder how I can get motivation to do these things. I LOVE all the suggestions that have been given and they have helped me so much at one point or another.

I especially loved Shauna's about having her son help her clean (I do the same with my little girl). I also like doing time limits and this is fun for my daughter too.

Here is what has helped me the most though. I remind myself constantly that it is a service. I remind myself that my husband feels good and welcome when he comes home and the house isn't a disaster! I remind myself that it is service to my children to clean up for them since they can't do it. I remind myself how good it feels to serve my family. That is really the only thing that keeps me going sometimes. I know that I am helping my family so much by keeping things picked up and clean.

I also enlist the help of my husband. I do most of our REALLY big chores on Saturday with my husband. I do little cleaning througout the week, but not a ton. This is what we both grew up with so it just kind of carried over. We can get the whole house cleaned (floors vacuumed, mopped, swept..., bathroom scrubbed, house dusted, etc....) in less than 2 hours. We do it QUICKLY in the morning (we are generally done cleaning by 10:00). I find that if we don't get it done first thing that the day drags on and I feel like I never accomplished anything else. I love that all of us (Claire has chores too) work together on Saturday to keep our house clean.

Now, also remember that your children are the most important!! I am not a clean freak, so my house isn't necessarily spot clean all the time (it's always picked up though) but that's okay with me. I spend as much time as I can with my little sweethearts. This has been said already, but I just want to reiterate - as long as you are doing all you can for your children I think you can let the chores slide sometimes!

Roeckers said...

I agree with Shauna and Tannie, get your kids involved. No matter what he age! I have always brought my kids into whatever room I am cleaning and talked to them. My kids love it. We have some great conversations while cleaning the house and they are focused on contributing to the cleanliness and order of our home. I have also found they don't make as much of a mess if they have to help clean it. While bored, my oldest boy asked me yesterday "Can I do you a favor?" I asked him to put his bike away and he jumped right on it.
I also do the chore a day thing splitting the big chores (kitchen, laundry, bathrooms, and vacuuming) into separate days of the week.

Amanda said...

One of my good friends set up a reward system for herself. It includes house cleaning tasks, as well as personal development and child-related tasks. She made a point system and assigned each task a point value. For example, vacuuming is 2, journal writing is 1, etc. You could even assign an extra point for having the kids help with any task, since it usually takes longer. :) Each day, she earns a certain amount of points, depending on what she chose to accomplish that day. If, by the end of the week, she has reached a certain point level, she gets a monetary reward. (Her husband is in grad school right now, so it's somewhere around $3-5/week.) That way, if she wants to save up for something, she can. And, her points aren't so easy to accumulate that she automatically earns them each week--she does have to work for it. She told me it has really helped her find motivation to do the things she needs to. And, she finds herself looking over her point-earning activities to find ways to earn more points.

As a side note--I am currently expecting my 3rd baby. I remember, when my first was small, feeling like my house had to be spotless and scrubbed all the time. In all honesty, playing with the baby is something that you won't always be able to do, while the housework will always be there. Playing with our kids and enjoying them is just as important (if not more important) as sweeping, mopping, dusting, etc. Lately, my biggest motivators are the accumulated dust, floor dirt, etc. I know I have a much better spirit in my home when it is clean and orderly. I want my children to recognize and enjoy that feeling--so that has also become a better source of motivation for me lately.

Erin said...

Laura, I LOVE the thirty second rule! It's my biggest problem, because I let the little things pile up until they become big things. I'm going to use that more this week. I'm like Tannie, and I have a list of all the cleaning that has to be done on Saturday mornings. I enlist the help of my husband and it doesn't take long at all! 2 hours, sometimes even less. I have found the key for me is to declutter! When we moved I got rid of a lot of things we didn't need and it made our house feel more organized and was easier to keep it tidy. Having people over is a big motivator for me, so I try to think about how I want the place to look if someone unexpectedly dropped by (like my mother-in-law!). It helps me also get up and ready for the day sooner too.