More Great Ways to Keep Your Balance, Sanity & Joy While Parenting Young Children:
Mountains of Stinky Laundry,
Vistas of Dirty Dishes

By Sage Taylor Kingsley-Goddard
Copyright 2009

Taylor's Conscious Parenting Blog
Copyright 2008 By Sage Taylor Kingsley-Goddard

When every square surface of your kitchen is covered with grimy glasses, putrid plates and stinky silverware, you shake your head (again) and ask (again): When is someone going to invent self-cleaning dishes? And laundry? “Don’t get me started,” my Joan Rivers persona cvetches.

So often in our day-to-day living, filled with chores, “the daily grind,” we may feel resentful of the many tasks that need to get done just to support a family. “Not more dishes!” we lament. “That’s 10 loads of laundry this week,” we whine, to no one in particular. Where is the medal for all of us parents who just show up, day after day, and work our tushes off, just to keep the family going?

Remember a few years back, there was an article in the newspaper that assessed the monetary value of all the work a “housewife” actually does, and it was determined that her many jobs, from Chief Cook and Bottle Washer to secretary, to nurse, to preschool teacher, to personal shopper, to accounts payable manager, to event coordinator, netted a salary of $50,000! (And this was many years ago, it must be at least $100k by now!) We will never get “enough” external validation for all the drudgery work we do, such as verbal praise, unexpected gifts, cash, or back rubs… (although I am all in favor of your asking for them and reinforcing when you do get such things by highly praising the giver!)

  I believe that most of us think the question is: How can (my husband or) I make enough money so I can pay someone else to do my house cleaning? But, to tell you the truth, I’ve been in the situation of being able to afford to pay a house cleaner once a month, and I have friends who can even afford nannies. It helps … yet even with greater financial resources, these women still do an astonishing amount of the cooking, washing dishes, laundry, shopping, butt wiping, and so on.

So I think the real question is not how can I make more $ so I don’t have to do this drudgery stuff, but rather: How can I be peaceful with whatever work I have to do? How can washing dishes be a moment of love?

How can I really “Bless this @?*&! mess”?

The answer lies in changing our thinking.

Buddhist teacher Thich Nat Hanh tells us that whatever it is we are doing, that is the most important thing in the world. When we are feeling unhappy and resentful about a task, say washing the dishes, it’s not because of the task. It’s because our monkey mind is chattering away, keeping us from being present. The part of us that has a hard time being right here, right now (or for that matter, even shutting up) is racing: ”If only I could be done with all these dishes, then maybe I could relax a little. I could have a cup of tea or watch a movie or ….. or… Look at all these. Why do I have to get stuck doing these? Disgusting.” We are angry at the dishes for preventing us from doing what we want to do. We see only the gross factor. We compare our lot to others. We judge.

All this sends stress signals throughout our entire body-mind system such that, even when we are “done” with the dishes, we are not likely to fully enjoy that cup of tea anyway because we’re still a bit upset. There is another way. What most people don’t realize is that you can choose your thoughts. Your thoughts guide your emotions, your actions, and create your experience of life. Instead of staying attached to your old, unconscious, unhappy pattern, like my stepfather’s ex-wife, of whom he says “She’s only happy when she’s miserable,” you can choose to be happy. Here’s how.

  In any task, I invite you to FIND THE LOVE IN THIS MOMENT. When you are doing dishes, and you find the love in this moment, allow this moment to be a moment of love, your thoughts may run instead like this: “The water feels so nice and warm on my hands. I like this slippery soapiness. Look, bubbles! Ah, that was a good meal. Such a blessing to be able to cook, eat and share that good food. Thank you! This is a nice dish. I like this flower pattern. Lining them up, just so, this feels good. I am enjoying bringing cleanliness, order and beauty to my kitchen. I am lucky to have running, hot water, good food and even these dishes, thankful to have enjoyed this meal.”

  Did you notice the difference? These thoughts essentially consist of two things: awareness of the present moment and gratitude. The old, resenting-the-dishes tape consisted of being completely out of the body, out of the now, wishing the task were over. Moment of Love thoughts will always bring a sense of appreciation, both for what has already passed and for what is now transpiring, and such thoughts return you to your center of peace, joy and love.

Every moment is a moment of love, if we just choose to look at it that way. There is a sweet, childlike nature to such thoughts, which your intellectual self may judge or resist, but do not be misguided. Enjoying the feel of the warm water and the bubbles brings you home to your body and helps you see the world with the wonder of a child, all life long.

 Doing the laundry? Think: “I’m so blessed to have these family members to be doing this loving act for! Fortunate to have this clothing, and a functional washer/dryer (or money to put in the Laundromat machines). Fun to make the stacks. Ploofy clothing. Fabrics feel nice. Good smells.”

Speaking of smells, there is an old parable that goes like this:  An old monk at the monastery is meditating near the outhouse, as he always does. One of his students watches in amazement. When the monk is finished meditating, the student asks: “Master, I mean no offense. But I have to ask. When we have all these beautiful gardens all around us, why do you meditate there? Where the smell is awful?”

  The monk smiles. “Because when I am in my heart, I can smell only roses.”

Changing another diaper? Be here, now, in love, in gratitude, that you have this precious child to care for. Many people strive for years to have or adopt a child, and cannot. Many lose the children they have. This child, poopy butt and all, is your amazing miracle!

Remember that, and you can become more like the monk, smelling only the rose of love.

So this month, and always, find the love in the moment. I have created little cards that say “Moment of Love” with a rose background. I post them everywhere to remind myself of this.

  I am smelling the roses in our lives, inner and outer, grateful for this moment. It is 3:58 a.m., and I have been writing this while my family sleeps. I hear the crickets softly chirping. I feel the gentle tropical breeze and hear the whir of our ceiling fan. I gaze at our Christmas tree, each ornament representing love. The handmade, homemade ones, yes, but even the store-bought ones, too. I realize that the money to buy them was earned through loving service, that each decision we made to buy ornaments for us was a loving choice, and that the ones people gave us symbolize their love for our little family. This computer, another act of love, as I bought it in trade providing hypnotherapy sessions, which really helped my client. We needed a better computer, didn’t have thousands to spend on it, and the universe met our need in this beautiful way. Love. I hear my husband’s favorite antique clock chiming the hour, striking four. That clock has been with us home after home, year after year. “Now,” it tells me, “now is the moment of love.” I suddenly realize that love is everywhere, all around me, in everything, everyone, everywhere. In love, in joy, enjoy, each moment of your life.

Next blog:  Children & Parents, Teaching Each Other. Do you have a striking example of a time when a child taught you? An “out of the mouths of babes” moment you can share?

Email me to sign up, for a private self-love/healing/balancing my life session (!) or just to connect.

Next Blog:

“More Great Ways to Keep Your Balance, Sanity & Joy While Parenting Young Children” to learn a useful technique for deciding what to do when you're being pulled in a thousand directions (like the scenario above). You'll discover how to make the most loving choice and feel good about it, and about yourself.

In Love, Taylor

“If I love you, I love myself.
If I love myself, I love you.”
- Rumi

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