In the past, I used to drive myself into a frenzy trying to get my housework done - in one day. I worked full-time outside of the home, and I basically tried to get everything done on Saturdays. Because housework is never really done, I could never seem to stop for the day. I would always see something else to be done and tie into that.
I got to the point where I dreaded Saturdays. I was stressed out and in a terrible mood by the end of the day. It goes without saying, I was also exhausted. I was too tired to cook a decent supper, and too tired to go out to eat.
Finally, one day, I was complaining about this to my mother, and she gave me some valuable advice. She said, "You've got to learn to pace yourself."
I realized that at my teaching job, I followed my lesson plans for the day. I checked them off in my plan book. If we didn't finish something, I marked it down for the next day. I didn't try to complete the whole week's worth of instruction in one day. But at home, I was endeavoring to complete a week's worth of housework in one day, and it just wasn't working. Even God didn't create the world in one day! He knew how to pace himself.
So now, I have learned to pace my housework. I complete daily chores after work, such as unloading the dishwasher, a quick tidying of the house, putting dinner on, and so forth. Then I try to do one small weekly housework chore. I make a list for each evening, and check off the items when they are done. I concentrate on the priorities, and if something doesn't get done, I do what I do in school. I write it down for the next day.
Most importantly, I have learned to make myself stop. Housework can go on all day and all evening if you let it. I make up my mind what I will do, and when that's finished, I quit. I watch television with my husband, visit my mother, or phone my grown children. I might read, write, or surf around on the computer.
If you find yourself in this same vicious cycle, maybe these tips can help you. Decide what you want to accomplish in a day. Don't over plan. Quit when you're done. Enjoy the peaceful feeling of work being finished for the day.
Jessica Gerald has been an elementary school teacher for over thirty years, and is the publisher of the website http://www.oldfashionedhomemaking.com.
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