Monday, May 19, 2008

My Philosophy of Housework

The internet captures everything. Even stuff I've forgotten.

Case in point is my last post which had me thinking about my days on the unschoolingdiscussion email list. I googled it, joined again and then punched my old name from the list into google. I knew a couple of things I'd said on that list had made it onto a site or two. Sure enough I found this:

Ok, I think I'll share my newly thought of philosophy of housework here. It started when my sister was over and chasing the kids around. I was straightening up the livingroom and had just finished piling up blocks (Big cardboard ones. We have, in all, 10 or eleven different kinds of wood, plastic and cardboard blocks. I feel so wealthy. :) ) when my son (2) ran into the room, saw the blocks and immediately tore down the pile. I smiled and shook my head. My sister, who'd arrived in time to see this, sternly said, "Harry! Your mother just finished putting those away!" When she said that I felt offended. Didn't she know I only pile those blocks so that Harry can knock them down? And there was the Aha! I looked around the room at the clean living room and realized that was why I did any cleaning.

We don't clean up messes to have a clean house. We clean up messes so there is room for more mess!

Now I think of cleaning up after my kids as replacing a canvas. I do it with the thought that by giving them room again and a bare floor and organized toys to pick from I'm handing them the tools to write another mess onto our house. It's meant that at the end of a day, or sometimes a few days in a row, I just let the mess stay, because really, it's a work of art or a story. Maybe it isn't finished. Maybe it's too interesting to be gotten rid of so soon. It also clears up my feelings of resentment about doing the bulk of it. I like being the one to reset the house so that we all can live another, different mess the next day.

Anyway, thought I'd share since it's really helped me bring more joy into the housework!

That was four years ago and a neat example of the kind of thinking unschooling inspired in me. I've got to get back some of that.


Jacqueline said...

Love that!

Dawn said...

Me too. And I'd forgotten it. Now it feels like I'm reading someone else's writing.

I really felt like a had a solid direction at that point and it showed in how I looked at stuff like housework.

Silvia said...

I still hate to clean, but you've certainly given me a better perspective on it. :) Thanks for sending this to the CoH!

Jenny said...

Oh I remember reading that and still think of it from time to time!

I'm a lurker, but welcome back to UD! :)

Dawn said...

Thanks Jenny!