Parenting: The Hamster Wheel of Housework | Mom Lifestyle Blogs |

Parenting: The Hamster Wheel of Housework

Doing housework feels like running on a hamster wheel and getting nowhere. Evelyn Lewin decides to make peace with it...

Lately, I’ve been railing against the Hamster Wheel of Housework. You know, the old ‘cook, clean, wash, blah blah blah cycle’ that is like a never-ending loop of fun in our lives as parents. That hamster wheel sucks up a good majority of my energy and I find myself cursing it more and more often lately. Oh, I’ve considered ignoring the damn wheel. I have. But then where would that leave us? It’s not like my husband doesn’t help. Both of us churn away at those wheels and it still feels endless. (This is where I take a moment to send a massive “You’re amazing” to all the single parents. You really are amazing, you know; I’m not just saying that.) I’ve looked at the wheel in lots of ways. I’ve made dedicated ‘housework times’ (which is very unlike ‘sexy times’, though sometimes I like to rock a bandana and picture myself as a badass housecleaning hippie, which may be sexy, but most likely isn’t). In those ‘housework times’ I get my Speedy Gonzales on. I zip through loads of washing, piling, folding. I cook batches of food (yes, actual batches) and freeze stuff in the process. I pity the child who leaves their dirty socks on the floor in my path when I am at peak Speedy. Let’s just say the look I lay upon said child could freeze fire. But not even Speedy Gonzales can outrun the wheel. A day or two later, it was like Speedy was never there, and boom, there’s the wheel again, begging to be spun. So when I recently came across a study that showed that doing dishes can help relieve stress, I snaughed a bit. (That’s not a typo. I did snaugh – which is a snort/laugh. Again, not sexy.) The study was published in the journal Mindfulness, and showed that participants who “mindfully” washed the dishes (paying attention to their senses and surroundings) reported a 27 percent reduction in nervousness and a 25 percent increase in mental inspiration. So I decided to give the whole “mindful cleaning” thing a try. I cooked dinner mindfully, paying attention to the feel of my knife slicing through the vegetables, the smell of the sauce bubbling. I took time to breathe deeply and saturate myself in the experience. And you know what? I felt calmer. Mind you, if I’m being completely honest, I was also a bit bored. So I turned on some music. Instead of thinking about what I needed to do once I finished cooking, or trying to multitask, I listened to music and mindfully cooked. That’s it. And it was actually enjoyable. I then tackled Mount Washmore. I paid attention to folding the clothes, listening to music and being in the moment. Sure, it wasn’t a moment worth recalling, but it was peaceful and my mind felt calm. (I have to admit that I had no kids with me at the time. In my experience, you can’t “mindfully clean” while watching little ones.) So from now on, I’m going to try and find the good in the wheel where I can. I don’t think I’ll always succeed, and I know there are times when I’ll just want to give my tired little legs a break from all that hamster running. But I figure the wheel ain’t going anywhere anytime soon, so I might as well try and enjoy the ride. How do you deal with the Hamster Wheel of Housework? Do you approach it in a way that makes it more enjoyable? Image: Grace Alyssa Kyo