Sunday, March 14, 2010

Messy Monday: Weariness Works Against Us

Image Courtesy Mi Pah

From Merriam Webster:
Main Entry: wea·ry

Pronunciation: \ˈwir-ē\
Function: adjective
Date: before 12th century [People have been feeling this way a long time!]
1 : exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness

2 : expressing or characteristic of weariness

3 : having one's patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted —
wea·ri·ly \ˈwir-ə-lē\ adverb

— wea·ri·ness \ˈwir-ē-nəs\ noun

Weariness takes the pep out of our step. While feeling weary can be caused by many things, and can vary in length from a few days to several months, the end result is the same: we feel like doing little more than the bare minimum--and sometimes even the bare minimum is tough. The nature of motherhood alone--despite all its joys--easily fits definition number three of weary, "having one's patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted."  Once your "patience, tolerance, or pleasure" is exhausted, you'll have little "strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness" (definition number 1) to give to anything else--especially housework.
Realizing that weariness works against us when it comes to getting housework done regularly and well is helpful. It's helpful because, once you understand what the problem really is, you can begin to form some realistic solutions. There are definite seasons where weariness (and thus, low productivity) are quite natural: sickness, the birth of a child, a death in the family, a major life or job transition. In these seasons, cut yourself some slack. (In all honesty, I am just now starting to feel more consistently energetic--and I had my baby 16 months ago...but I also have three under five who just about exhaust my patient and tolerance every day--good thing we get a new dose daily!).

In wearisome seasons, identity your bare minimum housework goals and aim to reach those--and really only those--each day. At least you'll feel successful for having done that. They will be different for every person, but for the sake of an example, let's say they are: having a clean sink at the end of the day, sweeping the kitchen floor, and wiping the kids' boogers off the walls (for a little humor). :) I encourage you to talk to your husband and figure out what his basics are--if everything else is undone, what few things does he need to be sure are done to be happy? Go from there.


  1. I aim to feed and clothe during my weary times. Those are my basic necessities.

    I also made a list a few years ago of 5 things that I can do before my hubby gets home that communicate love to him. Whenever I have an opportunity, I try to do those 5 tasks ( or a combination of the 5) knowing that he will notice. It was funny to me to find out that some of the tasks that I poured over all day long weren't in his list of 5, but little things like clean socks/underwear, toilet paper on the roll, happy kids, a cleaned off bathroom countertop, and the promise of dinner rounded out his list. Not a single mention of spotless floors or a perfectly organized linen closet. :)

  2. I agree with anonymous about the food and clothing. If I can empty the dishwasher and washer/dryer by the end of a busy day (clothes put away are a bonus!) I'm feeling pretty good. I also try to have healthy, easy-to-grab foods in case dinner has to be quick. (Bananas, fruit, low-sugar cereal, cheese sticks, peanut butter crackers, etc.)

  3. Such good advice! I learned when I asked my husband that always having a pitcher of tea in the fridge was on his list. A pitcher of tea - who knew?! It was one of the things he needed to feel like I was on top of things and that he was getting his needs met.

    The best part of all the advice above, ask your husband what he needs. Getting a few things done for him each day will go a long way in your marriage and the tone in your home. =)

  4. ugh. we're sort of there now. I have three ages 3 and under! the youngest is 3 mos old. As i sit here (instead of cleaning something) they are all actually asleep for naptime at the SAME time! amazing. but i have a mountain of dishes (no dishwasher) and a pile of laundry (including cloth diapers) to fold. so...what's a girl to do? Those two are on my husbands' list. Which means the kids and i will be doing preschool by counting the clothes as we fold and put 'em away and washing dishes together! lol