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to ask if any of you actually ENJOY housework, and why

(37 Posts)
YouDoTheMath Wed 03-Aug-11 11:47:39

Because I really want to change my attitude towards it.

It has to be done. And then in a few days, it has to be done again. So I might as well enjoy it.

Some of my friends (even those with children) have absolutely spotless homes and they put me to shame.

Getting a cleaner is not an option, because although we get by reasonably comfortably, I just wouldn't feel right spending my DP's wages on something I am there to do myself (that's not criticising those of you SAHMs who do have cleaners, it's just the way I feel about it).

I have 2 DCs.

MissPenteuth Wed 03-Aug-11 11:51:11

I really don't enjoy it at all. I tend to put it off for as long as I can, and this makes me feel bad because the house starts to look untidy and I feel lazy and rubbish. When I do finally do whatever needs to be done I feel the weight lift off my shoulders, and I do enjoy seeing the house looking clean and sparkly. Unfortunately it only stays that way for --half an hour- a day or so, and so the cycle begins anew.

YouDoTheMath Wed 03-Aug-11 11:52:28

That's how I feel about it - it's all lovely and plus when it's clean and tidy, and I vow to keep on top of it, but it never seems to happen sad

YouDoTheMath Wed 03-Aug-11 11:52:36


TheMagnificentBathykolpian Wed 03-Aug-11 11:53:26

I don't much enjoy doing it. It's boring.

But I love looking around at my clean house, with my polished surfaces and everything clean and clutter free and shiney.

It's simply nicer to sit in than something dusty and cluttered.

flaminglip Wed 03-Aug-11 11:55:05

I do!

There's a lot of satisfaction to be had when things are 'done'. Can you use the 'delayed Gratification' method to inject a bit of positivity into it?
Being the sort of person who sees 'the joy in all things' or tries to definitely helps though!

AgentZigzag Wed 03-Aug-11 11:55:34

I wouldn't go as far as to say I enjoyed housework, but the effects of doing it, and the feeling of control, spur me on.

I just can't stand the mess and would rather put myself out/be uncomfortable doing it (especially in this heat) than trying (and failing) to ignore it.

Aworryingtrend Wed 03-Aug-11 11:55:34

Same as MissPenteuth- loathe doing it but enjoy everywhere being clean afterwards. I do let things get quite bad before I tackle it so you can 'see' the difference afterwards unlike my housework obsessed mother though.

i also tend to look at like other tasks- eg, you have a shower every day, and you know that tomorrow you will need another shower. And the day after that. But that doesn't put you off having that first shower, IYSWIM?

TeaOneSugar Wed 03-Aug-11 11:55:34

I agree with MissPenteuth, I don't really enjoy doing housework itself, but I like the house looking tidy.

I decided a while a go that I hate that feeling when the door bell goes unexpectedly and the house is a tip, more than I hate doing housework, IYSWIM.

I try to do my own version of flylady, I work 30 hours over a 5 day week, so little and often is the only way.

Allinabinbag Wed 03-Aug-11 11:55:46

No, I don't enjoy it and do a minimum to stop it being horrid here.

MaureenMLove Wed 03-Aug-11 11:56:16

I love a clean home. I can't sit happily, unless it's clean. I love the smell and the shine of clean!

I love it when I'm on my own in the house, I pump up the music and get on with cleaning.

BertieBotts Wed 03-Aug-11 11:59:17

I love laundry, and I quite like cleaning the bathroom, because it's such a small space it doesn't take massively long to do, and it's satisfying when it's done. Doing jobs with small children can be fun, because they take such delight in it, and you have to be creative about finding ways to make them actually help rather than (for example, as DS did yesterday) pulling the clean washing onto the floor and stamping on it. And you can feel all virtuous because you're getting them used to doing housework so (hopefully!) they will help when older. It takes longer, but it's better than playing endless games of trains. You get to spend time with them, and the task gets done. Also listening to music while you clean can help motivate you.

Why do your friends having spotless homes "put you to shame"? Do you want a spotless home, or do you just think you should have one? As long as you can find things when you need them, walk through places without tripping over things, and the kitchen/bathroom/laundry pile isn't a health hazard, that's my standard. I don't ever always reach it, but that's the level of tidiness I'd like to live in. We were discussing on the feminism section the other day about how it's always women who are made to feel bad if their house isn't up to some arbitrary standard someone else has decided. Just get it to a level of clean that you are happy with. If your family want it cleaner, well, they can do it themselves!

Catslikehats Wed 03-Aug-11 12:05:35

I don't particularly enjoy it (and I will admit to having a cleaner here) but I like others I enjoy the effects: I like feeling organised and in control and I like the house looking nice. I will even go as far as admitting that I get a lot of pleasure from people commenting on my lovely house blush

The biggest single thing that helps me is everytime I get up/leave a room I take something with me. Eg obviously I am MN at the mo but I am bout to take a cup out to the kitchen so I will straighten teh cushions on the sofa I am sitting on and on the way I will throw one of DC4's toys in the toy basket.

It sounds ridiculous but it becomes something of a challenge and means you have very little to do apart from teh "big" jobs

Sleepglorioussleep Wed 03-Aug-11 12:07:56

I don't like doing it but I get stressed by the effects of mess and like walking into a tidy room-I feel calmer. I realised that (out of control) untidiness was a trigger for my irrational bad temper. Flylady ( despite all its cheesiness was my saviour. I became a fanatical devotee. Now I can't say I follow it diligently, but the "you can do anything for fifteen minutes" idea and setting a timer really helps me when I can't get started. And making the bed as soon as I get out. And doing a few little jobs as habit before they get out of hand. We're not spotless, but we are not ashamed to have impromptu guests either.

dreamingbohemian Wed 03-Aug-11 12:08:38

I have always been fairly clean, but I used to slack off sometimes when it just seemed too much a hassle.

My turning point came after the umpteenth time I got all stressed out about having to clean up a lot before guests came over, and my DH said he just didn't understand my thinking on this. He said -- they're friends, why don't you want them to see how you actually live? And if you don't think it's really acceptable to live like this, then why not keep things cleaner all the time, not just when people come over?

Basically I realised it's just easier to keep things at a relatively good level of clean consistently rather than go through a roller coaster of messy and clean. It's less stressful to do a little bit more often.

I also am really satisfied by turning chaos into order. I like housework in the same way when I was doing admin work, I found it satisfying to take a huge pile of messy papers and get them all filed away neatly (not that I wanted to do that all day, every day, but a little bit here and there felt good).

AgentZigzag Wed 03-Aug-11 12:14:42

Most of my life seems to be taken up with shunting things from one place to another TheQueen grin

And the majority of them not mine hmm

lovemyboysandbeagles Wed 03-Aug-11 12:17:08

I must admit, it takes a while to get in the mood for it, but if I use nice cleaning products, listen to good music and can just get on with it I actually do quite enjoy it.

I love the feeling at the end when it is all done, the house smells lovely and everything is sparkly. I try to do mine on a Friday when I finish working so that I can then enjoy the weekend. Also, I always make sure I use the shower first when it is all sparkly clean and the shower mat is all fluffy and soft...I think I have earned that right - is that sad????

What i do HATE though is having to clear up after DS's and/or DH before I can start the cleeaning, now that does annoy me - and they know it!!!

georgie22 Wed 03-Aug-11 12:28:00

Hate it, hate it, hate it! Don't think I'll ever change my mind about that. Like the house being clean but have to clear loads of clutter before I can do that. I can always find something I would rather do than the cleaning so tend to do it in marathon cleaning sessions! And then get pissed off when it's a mess again!


Start with something that really needs doing so it's obvious when you've done it (for me this is usually the bog, the sink or the hob). This gives you a little rush of satisfaction which can see you through a remarkable amount more housework.

And promise yourself that when you've reached X point you will be allowed a guilt-free treat of your choice (3 choc hobnobs, 1 episode America's Next Top Model, an hour alone with your book - whatever rings your bell really).

Failing that, on one of those really glum, demoralised days, just do the 'easiest' housework jobs so you feel like you've done something. Laundry is good, because mostly it's just pushing buttons and pegging stuff, I like ironing because I can do it sitting down in front of the TV.

these are my techniques for actually finding some satisfaction in housework and, almost, enjoying it. Although it does depends on energy levels to start with...

georgie22 Wed 03-Aug-11 12:47:52

I don't actually think I class laundry and ironing as housework - they are 2 separate things in my mind. Don't have an issue with laundry and I've learnt that my ironing is best done fairly soon after washing rather than letting a pile of ironing accumulate.

BertieBotts Wed 03-Aug-11 12:58:05

Exactly, dreamingbohemian smile

An0therName Wed 03-Aug-11 13:00:44

another one for flylady - get much more done in much less time! I don't love it but its is satisfying

YouDoTheMath Wed 03-Aug-11 13:03:32

Sleepglorioussleep - agree re the temper thing, I'm definitely the same in that respect.

MakesCakesWhenStressed Like the idea of rewards too!

georgie22 I actually quite like getting the washing done and hung out - partly because it leaves a nice smell in the house and partly it's just that feeling of having fewer dirty things! I hate ironing though - try to buy clothes which don't crease too much, and only iron on a need-to-wear basis. My mum is a real stickler for ironing and is always on my case about it - but then again she despises cooking and I'll happily prepare cosy, homely family meals anytime!

YouDoTheMath Wed 03-Aug-11 13:08:53

BertieBotts They put me to shame because I know they're more proactive about cleaning, whereas I'll find any ecuse not to do it. Generally, I can do a relatively ghood job if a) I just keep going and don't stop for a rest or b) we have friends coming over. OK, so we have people over quite often hence the cleaning does get done - but I'd like to feel more motivated to do it just for us, not always for others.

I've also got a cat, and I'm starting to wonder about rehoming her as her litter tray really gets me down. I don't clean it at the moment as I'm expecting DC2. My DP does it - but I'm tempted to just do it myself so it gets done more often. Can't stand the lingering odours... angry

earlyonemorning Wed 03-Aug-11 13:09:10

No, I don't really enjoy it, but I've married a man who does 'tidy' but not 'clean', so one of us has to do it. For me, 'down' is 'away' and DH has spent 12 years trying to train me different. Don't know yet which ways the DC will jump!

I find the best way to deal with it is a mixture of placement, routine and bribery. If everything has somewhere to live, tidying is quicker. If it has nowhere to live, find somewhere and keep it there or chuck it out. I use Flylady to make sure the worst bits are routinely done before school / 9am (beds made, bathrooms swished, kitchen cleared and wiped) and then bribe myself to do the rest. When DC4 and I get back from the school run, I know there are 3 things left to do before it's over - change 1 bed (I do one a day, or I drown in sheets to wash), do 1 other job per day (hoover up, hoover down, dust & mirrors up, dust & mirrors down, bins,) and hang the washing out. I get through this by bribing the baby with time outside / a rag to wave / chasing the hoover, and bribing me with ten minutes with coffee and the paper when its done.

Lovely smelling cleaning products help, and of course things need a real bottoming periodically, but for that I use a sort of seasonal scrub like you'll find at It's a funny little website, but she's very big on the idea of setting up little rituals that make housework acceptable to you because you focus on the treat at the end (coffee and cake, or a lovely smelling house, or tealights on the mantlepiece, or tea and cake, or just cake - can you see where this is going?), which I can completely get behind even if I'm not prepared to pay to download instructions on scrubbing the house.

I have an unpleasant suspicion this makes my house sound neat and well scrubbed and rosy and sweet smelling and beautiful ever all the time. It's not. 4 children (3 boys), 1 husband, 1 paper-based business and a hoarding tendency knock that on the head; but it's clean enough that we can live with, and let other people in, it doesn't take over my life and we're only 30 minutes from in-law ready at any point (and they live 90 minutes away. How cool is that?).

Oops, have written an essay. Sorry.

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