Why Letting Go of Chores Will Make You Happier
Notes from a recovering perfectionist.
Chores can be overwhelming. We all know how much work goes into raising a family and running a household. We could work on chores all day long and there would still be more that could be done.
And, there are two very different reactions that we can have when we let our household chores go: what we tell ourselves versus what actually happens.
What we tell ourselves…
I don’t know. Maybe we think our friends are going to come over and think that we are slackers.
Maybe, if you are like me, you have this voice in your head that is telling you: “You should really get this done. Why didn’t you do that yet? Don’t be lazy.” Over. And over. And over. Like a constant beating of a drum.
There’s no reason why you should get it done. The voice, our inner critic, just tells us that we should.
It’s years of recordings playing on repeat in our minds. And, it is an exhausting mental battle.
What actually happens…
Nothing happens when we let our chores go. Absolutely nothing.
No really, nothing happens.
Our friends don’t show up unannounced and think that we are slobs. If they do happen to come over, they don’t even notice the mess. They actually feel at home. They are relieved that we are normal.
I know when I go to someone’s house that’s “messy” a few things go through my mind. The first is that I feel very comfortable in their house. I don’t have to worry if I knock something over. The second is that I think to myself, I need to be more like this.
And, when I say “messy,” I mean like there are toys scattered around. Or, there’s old coffee sitting on the counter. We think our homes are a mess, but they really aren’t. They are just lived in. They are… normal.
It can be especially hard for those of us who are home all day. We are constantly noticing all of the little messes, dust bunnies, and fingerprints that we could be cleaning up. Meanwhile, we are being torn between that, and taking care of our kids, getting work done, and just LIVING.
Either way, the police don’t come and arrest us for having a messy house. A judge doesn’t come to our house and declare it “a total freaking mess.” Our family probably prefers the mess.
Like I said, nothing happens. Except for that you feel free. And, happy.
Why do we care about the chores?
Well, we are probably looking for some kind of outside validation via having a clean, nice house. So, my suggestion is… don’t.
You are enough exactly as you are. And, your house doesn’t need to be clean to prove that.
So, give yourself permission to have a messy house. Cross something off of your “to-do” list without doing it.
Because I have a secret. It doesn’t matter. My house is generally pretty clean, but there is usually a pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen. Sometimes dust collects under the beds, but eventually, I vacuum it up.
It won’t be easy if you are a recovering perfectionist like me.
But, I’ve learned that a messy house is really not a big deal. It will all get taken care of eventually. And, if it doesn’t. Well, nothing happens anyway. #reallife
I always like to leave you with a challenge. This week, I’d like you to let one of your chores go. Let the laundry pile up. Leave the crumbs under the kitchen table. Leave the toothpaste smears on the bathroom sink and mirror.
Because, if you are like me, and you end up feeling guilty when your house isn’t perfectly, spotlessly clean, this will help you to see that nothing happens. And, it feels so freeing. Instead of doing that chore, be a rebel and do something for yourself. #messyhousedontcare
Practice this and you will find that over time, it will be easier and easier to let things go, and you will feel less and less guilty as you do.