Joy is a deep and abiding sense of pleasure and satisfaction in knowing and living according to your purpose. Happiness is a feeling based on your current situation.
I can have JOY even if I am not HAPPY. This is great news! It begins by finding your “why.”
A note about gender roles: In our home, we tend to do household chores based on traditional gender roles. This works well for us. However, this is not the case in all households and that is OK. Marriage and family is not a 50/50 thing. It is a 100/100 thing. We all give 100% to make and keep our homes; we just all have different roles. Communication is the key to setting up a plan and system that works for your family.
Finding Your Values and Priorities
To discover your values and priorities, ask yourself “Why?”
Why do I do the (often) mundane tasks of taking care of my home and family?
If you struggle to come up with a general “why” get more specific:
Why do I do the laundry?
- I do the laundry so we don’t have to wear dirty and stinky clothes and so that we don’t have to constantly buy new clothes.
Why do I make meals from scratch?
- I make meals from scratch because it is important to me to feed my family healthy food AND stay within our grocery budget. Because of various food sensitivities, we don’t have the option of ordering take-out or of eating pre-made dishes.
Why do I clean my house?
- I clean my house because I like living in a clean space. I want the freedom to welcome people into my home. I want my family to be healthy and a dirty house is not healthy.
Discover the Priorities of your “Why”
OK, we know things like laundry, cooking, dishes, and cleaning are important, but we need to take it a step further and discover our priorities behind our “why.” This will help us know how to create a sustainable system that works for us.
An example of dishes:
- A friend of mine hates doing dishes. Early in her marriage, they did not have a dishwasher. Every evening she hated doing the dishes; it was a dreaded part of the evening. Soon after they began building their own house. It was a priority for her to include a dishwasher in their kitchen layout.
- Another family with three elementary aged daughters had a dishwasher in their home. When the dishwasher broke, they realized that the cost of a new dishwasher and some updating of plumbing needed to be done. They also had a large family vacation planned that year. They asked their daughters if they wanted to sacrifice the family vacation that year in order to get a new dishwasher or if the girls wanted to take on the responsibility of doing dishes by hand until they could save the money needed for a new dishwasher. The girls chose to wash dishes by hand and chose to continue to do so for many years. A dishwasher was not a priority for them!
- We do not have a dishwasher. I wash all our dishes by hand. While our kitchen is not tiny; it is not large either. In order to install a dishwasher, I would have to sacrifice an entire cupboard. The cupboard space is more important to me than a dishwasher. For me, cupboard space is a bigger priority than a dishwasher!
- I’ve also known families that buy disposable dishes often so they don’t have to do the dishes! Generally, this is a choice made during a time of extreme busyness or change (such as illness or a new baby or moving).
No one family is right or wrong in how they choose to eat off of clean dishes. Each family made choices based on their own family’s priorities.
Spend some time this week thinking about the priorities your family has around certain chores? What are they? Are they really your priorities or have they been placed on you by an external source?