Thoughts on Hard Work

“Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.” — Leonardo Da Vinci

“She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.” — Proverbs 31:27

Out With the Old

I’ve never been very motivated when it comes to housework. I’m not talking about just cleaning, but all things pertaining to maintaining a household: paying bills, organizing, cooking, shopping (groceries), yard work, etc. When I got married and got my own place for the first time, I had to pick up the slack and take some initiative in the home department, otherwise there wasn’t going to be anything to eat or wear. I wasn’t very successful; many times the sink was overflowing with dishes and Eric had to throw shirt in the dryer to freshen it up before work. Those weren’t exactly my glory days as a wife, or even as a human being.

A New Motive

Near the end of my pregnancy I developed a longer list of reasons to keep my house in order. The first few weeks of my son’s life gave me an abundance of time to do things around the house, since he slept most of the day. As he grew, so did his demand for my attention, and I realized that I needed to develop a little more discipline in order to maintain my new habits. My free time all but disappeared for a while, and if I wanted to get anything done, I had to hustle during his naps and bedtime. I alternated between taking full advantage of my time and completely wasting it. I was either Martha Stewart or fodder for “Clean House.” No in-between.

A Second Chance

Recently I’ve been blessed with a whole lot more “free” time now that my son goes to bed at 7pm every night and enjoys rolling around my feet while I do things around the house. It’s given me a second chance to get back into some good habits. I have always felt like I wouldn’t enjoy life if I committed to keeping my house in order all the time, but today I realized that is just not true. Cleaning does not actually take up that much time if I just do it instead of dreading it and putting it off. Grocery shopping can be fun if I do it at the right time of day (first thing in the morning when Micah is easiest to entertain.) Yard work is a lot more fun than I expected. Putting away laundry is an opportunity to teach Micah about the names of different colors, since we have the entire spectrum hanging in our closet! Just about anything that needs to be done can be finished in less time than it takes to watch a meaningless reality show or browse everyone’s photos on Facebook.

Putting it into Practice

Today, I woke up and immediately showered and got dressed while Micah happily played on his Baby Einstein play gym. After changing his diaper and feeding him one more time, I packed him up in the car and drove to the grocery store. While I was there, I only bought healthy food. That is a huge accomplishment for me! I have a serious sweet tooth, but my reflection in the mirror this morning convinced me to temporarily sacrifice my indulgences and get rid of this extra 15 pounds once and for all! After I had all the groceries put away, I looked at the clock and was surprised to see that it was only 9:30. I had time to sit and enjoy a bowl of cereal (that I just bought) before Micah woke up from his car-induced slumber.

This afternoon, after unsuccessfully petitioning Eric to transplant our baby Silver Maples into the front yard, I did it myself. This is an even bigger accomplishment, because I have always protested yard work. Today I discovered that I actually like it. (Sort of like the kid who “hates” green beans until he tastes them while no one is looking.) When I came back inside, Micah was long overdue for a nap and I was extremely wiped out from working in the heat (in pants), so we both crashed. There was never a more rewarding nap! Ever! In the history of the universe, never did a woman wake up so refreshed and renewed! I couldn’t believe it was still Saturday afternoon. Micah woke up smiling a few minutes later.

Tonight, instead of watching TV, I turned it off and wrote out my Families blog in a spiral notebook. (I forgot how much I love writing by hand.) By the time Eric was done working on my PC, I had already completed my work and had the free time to spend with him instead.

I came to three conclusions today:

  1. I feel incredibly accomplished, energized and at peace when I work hard at home and keep busy until things are done. I have the privilege of enjoying my house and my time after everything is done.
  2. I don’t have to do everything in one day. If I pick two projects each day and commit to doing those well, that is enough to keep things in order throughout the week. If I try and do everything every day, I burn out and fall back into bad habits again.
  3. Every material thing worth having on this earth can only be earned through hard work. There are no shortcuts. (I finally submitted my will to this truth.)

No More LIP! (Laziness, Idleness, Procrastination)

Tonight, as I sat on the edge of our couch by the windows with a cup of blackberry tea, candles flickering on the sills and fresh air pouring in from the still night, I realized how good I felt. I normally don’t feel that way. As sad as it is, I’ve been deceived to think that relaxation is found in laying around the house in your pajamas. On the contrary, true relaxation can only be found at the end of one road: hard work. I think I’ve found the cure for my laziness. I don’t want to eat that idle bread anymore. (Especially because idleness and bread both make you fat.) I don’t want anymore LIP!


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