When Dread and Overwhelm Overpower Homemaking Responsibilities
The problem with homemaking is that it never ends. By the time you’ve cleaned your home, it is dirty again. As soon as you do laundry, you’ve already dirtied something you’re wearing.
This can end up feeling exhausting and overwhelming. Like it’s hard to keep up. It’s easy for some people to see what needs to be done and just do it. But for those of us who aren’t wired this way, we need to figure out what makes us tick and how to overcome the obstacles we face.
Looking the part of being great at homemaking
When I was first married, I don’t feel like I had difficulty keeping up with stuff. The drive to keep my house clean was in full force. But a significant motivating factor was the façade I felt like I needed, proving that I had it all together. So, I went overboard, especially when we moved into our home and had friends over. I felt obligated to give them the tour. So, everything needed to be clean, from the spare bedrooms to the basement. It had to look like I was a great homemaker.
When homemaking comes naturally
Now, I know a lot of people didn’t grow up with this mentality. But my mom ran a tight ship. The house always looked presentable, and she liked having everything put away. And I think this is an excellent way of living. She enjoys cleaning. And I have always liked to organize, so we made a good team. I also have friends that are like this too. They are very regimented and can keep up with things on a very consistent schedule.
The chronologically messy
It’s easy for a lot of homemakers to struggle with keeping up. Each person is wired differently. If cleaning and organizing isn’t something you enjoy doing, the motivation often isn’t there. We’d rather be doing something else.
As women, it seems like we should have these skills programmed into our DNA. Even if you had to take home economics in school, this probably wasn’t enough to maintain a clean home once you had your own place. There wasn’t much time or interest to learn how to do laundry and cook with all the after-school activities and hanging out with friends.
It’s weird to think that cleaning and organizing aren’t already programmed into our brains. We need to figure out and create a system and routine that works for us as adults with our own place.
Homemaking equates to drudgery for a lot of people. It’s just not that enjoyable. The end result feels great, but the effort and rigidity in sticking to a schedule seems dull. Some of these chores are repeatable and robotic, with a little spark of the imagination.
Not a priority/indecisive
It’s just not that important. There are way more fun things to be doing. As much as I like a clean house, I definitely fall into this category. Spontaneity can get in the way. Something comes up that sounds way more enjoyable, and it’s easy to tell ourselves we’ll clean later.
Not having a game plan and not knowing where to start plagues a lot of people. It’s not so much about dreading a menial task but more about not having a system in place. You end up reinventing the wheel each time you need to clean. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with what needs to be done, so you don’t do anything.
What drives your homemaking responsibilities?
For me, it comes down to priorities and time management. Why do you want your home to look a certain way- what is the motivation to clean or put stuff away? Finding your “why” will help homemaking not feel like drudgery.
Finding balance in managing your home
The second thing is when do you do specific tasks? Modern-day homemaking looks a lot different than it did a few decades ago. Women are working outside of the home (or now working but from home). Life’s responsibilities can be weightier, making it hard to find the motivation and energy to keep up with tasks around the house.
To keep up with the standards and expectations of prior generations isn’t necessarily possible. A while ago, I tried to come up with a cleaning schedule and looked online for ideas. Martha Stewart had a chart that broke down what needs to be cleaned and how often. Even with how much I was cleaning back then, it honestly overwhelmed me. From washing pillows to cleaning and steam ironing curtains. Every imaginable thing that could get dirty had a schedule and included on this chart.
This is where balance comes in. And efficiency. To really analyze why we’re doing what we’re doing. To figure out what is realistically possible, but also what is absolutely necessary.
Two Tips for staying on top of your homemaking responsibilities
Mindset shift and a positive perspective
So, how do we see homemaking in a positive light? Whether it’s not very important to you or something you desire but can’t seem to keep up with, is there a way we can alter our mindset to help accomplish more and set ourselves up for success?
It’s kind of an exercise in seeing the glass half full instead of half empty. To take joy in what we get done instead of being discouraged by what is still left to do. This is where the hamster wheel comes in. It’s a never-ending cycle. It’s part of our way of life. Something always gets dirty or ends up broken.
- Take notice of how you feel when something is clean.
- Celebrate the little wins and the small things you get accomplished
- Don’t get discouraged when you can’t keep up, and everything ends up a mess
- Take some time and journal about what you’ve accomplished, who you’ve helped, what other fun things you’ve done in place of cleaning the house. It’s easy to feel guilty about not cleaning your home but not realizing the other beneficial activities that filled up your time.
- Be mindful of when you are exhausted and burnt out and give yourself the grace to let things get messy and not be perfect
Seriously Seeing the benefits of being a homemaker
There is a certain level of taking care of things that extends the life of the object. We are to be stewards of what we own. To take good care of things and be responsible. But we also need to remember that our belongings shouldn’t be our top priority. So, again, a balancing act. I think that most people tend to lean one way or the other. So, it’s equally important not to see fellow homemakers as too messy or too particular. It’s the middle ground of taking care of what we own while also valuing our community, family, and friends more than stuff.
If you are a homemaker and struggling with guilt, I want to encourage you in that you’re not alone.
Strategizing and Creating a Homemaking Routine That works for you
If you decide to run a marathon on a whim and go for it, you’re probably in for a world of hurt. If you’re not in shape and haven’t been consistently exercising, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to finish.
The same with homemaking. Come up with a game plan before you jump in. Set goals, figure out what’s most important to keep clean and tidy, and make these decisions ahead of time. If you’re disciplined enough or mindful of when things get messy, flying by the seat of your pants might work.
But by doing some research and formulating a strategy, you’ll have already done the legwork when life gets crazy and out of control. You can pencil it in on your calendar—set reminders on your phone.
Take emotions, procrastination, and overwhelm out of the equation by prioritizing, structuring, and creating a homemaking routine that will fit into your schedule and lifestyle. Have a system in place, figuring out what needs to be done and how to do it ahead of time. You are creating your own little homemaking manual that works for your family.
Additional little mindset shifts and lifestyle changes you can make
Now that this pandemic has drastically altered our way of living, it’s enabled us to pause and self-reflect. There’s a lot of things we’ve realized that have kept us busy when they shouldn’t. We’ve overextended ourselves, and now is a great time to get back to a simpler way of living.
- Consider having people over less often.
- It’s okay not to let someone in your home or to meet them outside. If that’s not a possibility, prioritize and strategize cleaning the main room that people would see.
- Apologize for the mess if you need to, but don’t allow yourself to feel judged or beat yourself up for any perceived shortcomings.
- Recognize that people and relationships are more important than belongings and aesthetics.
- Set a time for someone to come over, giving yourself enough time to straighten up and feel confident in your home.
And if you’re not having people over, enjoy the reprieve from needing to maintain a presentable home regularly.
If you notice certain areas that become messy or dirty more quickly, prioritize these areas and see if any organizing solutions will better manage the space and its belongings.
Homemaking doesn’t need to be a drag. Finding a way to naturally fit it into your lifestyle while having a positive and healthy outlook of what needs to be done will help you find balance and maintain a home that makes you happy.
Learn how to love homemaking and bring joy into your home
Hi, I’m Shara
I have a passion for organizing. This stems from being naturally drawn to simplicity and structure in my home. Combined with my desire to help women achieve their goals, Simply Renewed Living was born.