Tasks Chores


When I was a kid all six of us were assigned to do dishes numerous times a week and to make a dinner lunch or breakfast at least twice. There were outdoor chores as well–mostly mowing and weeding and picking. (In what is, perhaps, the most fortuitous situation of assigned gender roles, my sister and I were exempt from milking the cows.)

But the dishes. It would take me hours to load the dishwasher, mostly because I would put off emptying and putting the clean dishes away for so long first. It seemed like So. Much. Work.

I recall, most likely in my early teens, discovering the power of attitude. If I chose to have a good attitude and jump right in, the same chore was much less tedious and seemed to be completed much more quickly as well.

Unfortunately, lesson though learned, the choosing continues to be the rub. I am not the well-oiled chore-master my mother was. (And that’s ok, I have other faults, but also other strengths.) So I am generally overwhelmed with being outnumbered in terms of how many people are making messes vs. how many people are cleaning them up.

Dishes and Laundry.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Dishes and Laundry. I don’t dust. I don’t iron. I rarely do windows. And I’m ok with that.

I used to be a good gardener. Gardening and managing the space outdoors was preferable to me for several reasons. One, growing things provides pleasure. Two, sunshine. Three, even with the plague of the earth morning glory, the odds, somehow, seemed less against me. Finally, the work I did didn’t get undone in 5 minutes.

To be honest, I maybe was a good gardener at least through June, and then could barely hold my own at least during periods when my internal alarm clock woke me up before the sun and I could get out there before it got too hot.

I don’t do heat.

But now I work full time. Our dog has commandeered the entire backyard. As previously explained, I struggle with the mornings I used to embrace. And even the handful of plants I manage to pot on my front porch suffer from neglect.

Any victories? Everyone does their own laundry. On a good day I sacrifice being exactly on time to work (which is fine, because we have some flexibility) to empty the dishwasher before I leave, even though I know I will still come home to dishes in the sink. And I’m better about generally making myself last long enough to load the dinner dishes (as long as there is only one batch) before dragging my tired bones to bed.

My biggest battle is with stuff. Too many years with too many people’s accumulation of stuff. Compounded with several boxes of my mom’s stuff I’ve yet to tackle, stacked up along my bedroom wall. It, too, is overwhelming.

I chip away at it from time to time, but I think a good part of the reason I so enjoy the occasional work travel these past couple of years is the blessed absence of stuff for a few days.

I know there will come a time where the kids are all gone–their stuff with them. The clean will go longer before being undone. And maybe I’ll make a dent in the stuff.

I expect I’ll find the house too quiet then.

[Day 26 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]

2 thoughts on “Tasks Chores

  1. Yes, I find the house quiet and I still have some of their stuff. Wish that stuff could watch TV with me and laugh at the lame jokes.

Comments are closed.