Dear FlyLady and Crew,
I love your encouragement and wisdom (also your tools), so I figured you’d have an answer to the dilemma I find myself in.
I dislike doing housework and I hate, hate, hate washing dishes by hand (which I have to do because I don’t have a dishwasher).
I’ve been doing the babysteps, routines, and setting my timer but I still can’t shake the feeling of negativity that hangs over my head when I do these simple jobs.
Then it hit me! My aha moment!
Housework of any kind feels like punishment because that’s how my parents punished me and my sisters growing up. If we misbehaved, we’d have to “clean” and the more we disobeyed, the more “chores” (I hate that word) we’d be given that day.
And here’s the kicker and the reason hand-washing dishes is my least-favorite job (I’d rather clean the bathroom then wash-up a counter-full of dirty dishes)–”kitchen duty”, aka dishes, was the most common punishment doled-out (usually right after supper). If you got away from the table without the “dishes” punishment from Dad, you were free and subconsciously a “good girl”.
This sounds hokey, but after discussing this with my younger sister, she agrees that she struggles with the same negativity.
Therefore, I was wondering if you have any advice on how to turn the negativity of housework into a positive of Finally Loving Yourself?
Right now, I have to say (out loud) to myself, “This isn’t a punishment. I’m doing this because I want to.” as I bless my house and family. It’s still hard.
Thank you for listening and helping me. Hopefully I’m not the only one in this situation and your words of wisdom and support with help others too.
Illinois FlyBaby not wanting to feel punished anymore
Dear Illinois FlyBaby,
My heart goes out to you! You are not the first FlyBaby who found herself in tears while doing the dishes. I think it is a shame when a parent uses housecleaning for punishment. They are setting their children up for a lifetime sadness when it comes to having a home that blesses them.
You deserve to have a home that hugs you! We have to find a way to love that little child who was mistreated. So let’s come up with some fun ideas to turn chores into games. I am so proud of you for figuring this out. Knowing is half the battle! Now that you know you can redirect those negative feelings.
1. Put on some fun music! Uplifting and inspirational.
2. Put a collage of family pictures above your sink so that you see your loved ones when you are washing the dishes. With every dish you wash, say a little prayer for each member of your family.
3. Listen to an audio book while you wash the dishes. One that you can’t wait to listen to. And only listen to it while you do the dishes. This will help you drown out those negative voice that are berating you.
4. You already know this! This is your home! You are not being punished. You are loving your life and home by having a home that is a present to you!
5. You can also say this over and over as if it were your mantra: I LOVE MYSELF! I LOVE MYSELF! I LOVE MYSELF! I LOVE MYSELF!I LOVE MYSELF! I LOVE MYSELF! I AM FLYING!
6. The next thing I want you to try is this: FLYLADY SAID, “I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!” SHE REALLY DOES LOVE ME! I can do this one babystep at a time! She is proud of me! Yippee!
7. I want you to know that you are loved! I want you to find peace in your life. Peace starts with replacing those negative words and actions with loving ones!
8. Set your timer for seven minutes and see how many dishes you can do in seven minutes.
9. Any time you start to feel bad when you are washing dishes, I want you to force yourself to SMILE! Fake it till you make it! Before you know it, you will be smiling all by yourself.
10. As you start to cook, fill your sink with hot soapy water. As you dirty up a dish, put it in the hot water and wash them up as you go. There will be fewer dishes and pots and pans to clean up.
11. Here is my favorite thing to think about when I do the dishes: I am giving myself a manicure. Your nails are clean and when you finish you can put lotion on your hands or paint your nails.
So you see, you can change your thinking if you will practice some of these techniques for loving yourself. These actions will speak louder than those negative voice.
I’ll love you till you can do it all by yourself! I know you can do this!