Friday, July 22, 2011

What motivates a mom?

Today as I was tidying up the dining room, I reached under the table to pick up a small blue plastic cup that was upside down on the floor. As I tried to pick it up, it didn't budge. Now that's a new one for me. I pulled harder until it finally popped off the floor, leaving a sticky residue. It made me think about the cycles I go through with housework. Some days I clean up right after every meal before moving onto the next thing. Sometimes my attention is demanded elsewhere and that cup filled with one last sip of sticky strawberry smoothie fossilizes to the floor. When I read Kathryn Stockett's The Help, I didn't clean for about two weeks, which in my house is close to sanitary suicide. Sometimes I feel punished as I take the long walk into the kitchen to face my sink. I start throwing away toys that I've picked up countless times just so I don't have to see them again. I think of emergency errands that I have to run with the girls in order to escape the mess. Pinterest becomes my paradise and I could indulge for hours.

I've been putting together a mental list of small and simple "motivations" that keep me on my feet and incentivized to get things done.

1. Have a project that you enjoy that makes your house more attractive. Right now I'm in the process of painting and stenciling our stairs. It's been quite a process to primer, paint, and touch-up each stair and find the materials to make stencils and then cut them out. It's tedious, but I get giddy and excited every time we work on it because I've despised that staircase for about two years now. I've started to neglect my housework to paint or seal those steps, but lately (today), I've forced myself to clean up first. Then I have something to look forward to as I have my daily communion with the dishes.

2. Reward yourself when you do something good. Seems so elementary, but it sure works for me. I had a goal at the beginning of the year to stop yelling at my kids and use a calm voice, even when angry. My goal was to be successful at this for one week. It took me until May to accomplish my goal, but then I did it for two weeks (one was vacation...)! I rewarded myself with a beautiful new red leather handbag for my scriptures. Lovely. I'm still working on that goal and now if I can make it another two weeks, I get to buy a fresh set of "Touch and Feel" books for Eloise since all of our are half-eaten. Incentivize.

3. Invite people over. This can be more stressful than motivating, but I know when I have guests coming to my home, that I'll get it clean in time even if I sacrifice some sleep. And it's fun to show off that project you just completed and pretend that your house is always clean.

What motivates you?
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1 comment :

  1. Thank you so much for doing this blog! I've been reading it for a while and am always impressed with all the creative ideas you come up with. I don't know how you do it! I have a 3 year old and a 2 year old and am always looking for fun, educational, entertaining things to do with them. So thanks for all the great ideas!

    I liked this post because I feel exactly the same way! My husband loves when we invite people over because that's about the only time the house is REALLY clean. (Although he never says anything bad the other days when it's messy, he just comments how nice it is to have it CLEAN on those days!)

    Keep up the good work. You're such an amazing mom!