How many times a week do you hear yourself say “here we go again with more dishes”, or “great, more washing to fold and put away” or even “how come I have to do everything for everyone all the time?”
Life can feel like groundhog day sometimes, especially when we think of all the boring, mundane, daily tasks that need to happen – in order for life to continue in some kind of organised way. The shopping, the meal prep, cooking, dishes, washing, vacuuming, feeding, nappy changing, gardening and watering, nap times, bath time, story times, cuddle times, dog walking, bin night, etc, etc. That’s not even including mums time for exercise, meditation, emails, comms with friends and family, romance or even her own sleep!
The week can feel big when we see all these tasks as endless burdens that steal our precious time away. How come I have to do all these things with no help, says our mind. Where’s my reward for being the selfless mother putting everyone else first each day and keeping this ship afloat? Says the ego.
The truth is there will always be boring mundane, day-to-day tasks that have to happen – that’s just reality. The freedom from the suffering is how we choose to view those tasks. What if we could shift our perspectives and see things like doing the endless dishes as an act of love? Or clearing the washing pile as a way to express care for our family? Often mums end up using ‘acts of service’ as their main love language during the early parenting years, even by default if it’s not their primary love language. This means that they ‘do’ things to show their love – and that includes all those boring, mundane tasks!
When I feel a little overwhelmed with the endless ‘to do list’ and find myself getting agitated by the piles of washing still not folded, or the floors that need mopping or the third round of dishes that I’m getting into for the day – I stop, breathe and remember that these tasks ARE living. These boring, mundane, daily tasks are the fabric of LIFE. They will be the constant until the end, so why not embrace them. I ask myself ‘how can I make this ordinary task in this moment, extraordinary?’ – which leads to me breaking out in a fun song about the dishes as I’m washing them, remembering that one day my kids will no longer be living at home for me to fold their washing (therefore doing it with love in the present moment), or knowing that one day it will be my babies caring for me, when life goes by and the tables turn as they do.
If we can see daily duties as acts of love and care, then we can truly find more ‘joy’ in living. Each moment can be an opportunity to contribute without needing something in return. That’s not to say that mums should wear themselves into the ground like a martyr without expecting love, respect and support along the way – it’s just a way to help the day feel lighter when we can go about it with heartfelt intentions, instead of dread and defeat.
So what daily tasks put a ruffle in your feather and how can you shift your perspective on them so the ordinary becomes extraordinary?