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Does Cleaning The Toilet Generate Enthusiasm For You?

“Your heart must be in your work. Stimulate others,” says John Wooden on Enthusiasm

When I look at the big picture, I love being a homemaker.  I love exploring what it means and sharing my thoughts with you all.  I love the daily rhythm and I love how creating a loving home environment has seemed to deepen my relationship with The Mister even more.  Okay, and I’ll admit that there is a part of me that enjoys the fact that his buddies are a bit jealous of him.  Anyway,  I can “wax enthusiastic” about it all day, if you’d let me.

When I lose my big picture perspective, however, I’m not always as enthusiastic.  My first reaction to the Coach Wooden’s admonition to be enthusiastic was that he’s never had to clean a bathroom.  I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t yell, “Yippee!  I get to scrub the toilet today!”  But the truth of the matter is, Coach Wooden spent many years cleaning the men’s gym before UCLA finally fulfilled its promise of new facilities.  I’m sure he didn’t feel enthusiastic about mopping up his players’ sweat after practice everyday.

As I’ve been thinking about “enthusiasm” today, I’ve been thinking that it is really hard to develop that trait if we’re disconnected from our goals for our home and just going through the motions.  And when we just go through the motions, we aren’t doing our best.  And when we aren’t doing our best, a feeling of futility begins to overtake us because we begin to think “What’s the point?  It’s just going to get messy again, anyway.”  Or worse, we start beating ourselves up for not being the perfect 1950s housewife.

I’ve heard many stories over the years from people describing their mothers singing or humming as they scrubbed floors or engaged in other household tasks.  Perhaps the lesson we can take from this is that we can transform our feelings of drudgery into enthusiasm by “whistling while we work?”

As you can see, this is still bouncing around in my head.  Perhaps we can work through this together.  When you think of enthusiasm as it relates to being a “modern retro woman,” what thoughts come to your mind?

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  1. I bought a speaker for my Zune (MP3 Player). You can find them for $19.00 at Walmart and they come in many colors now. I listen to podcasts and old radio shows while cleaning the kitchen. Amazing how you can get into the thing you are listening to and not even realize the time you just spent “working” on chores.

  2. I love the ideas that come to light through this blog and the books (ideas) that are discussed here. They are pure inspiration for me.

    I think that “grandma” understood that her home was a reflection of her standards. Of course, some people still do, but I think of a comment I heard some thirty years ago when a young stay-at-home mom complained about the drudgery of housework, saying that when her husband came home from work all she had to say for her day was that she cleaned a toilet. Right there are the seeds of discontent — that housework and providing “a good home” is somehow not worthy. Well, it’s not that hard, and surely we can find some sort of balance.

    Like Angela, I listen to podcasts. I never hum — never! But my mother did. I had forgotten that.

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