Unlike Any Other

My husband informed me the other evening that one of the reasons he was attracted to me when we first met was that I was unlike any other woman he had ever met.

I wasn’t sure how to take that, but he assured me it was a compliment, so being that marriage is based on trust and all, I’m just taking his word for it.

He also said that one of the things he loves about me is my creativity.

I guess that once you consider the fact that I barely cook, seldom clean, expect to be waited on hand and foot, and having a highly attractive autoimmune disorder that causes me to shed flakes of dead skin and sport weird overgrown knuckles, creativity is pretty much all that’s left.

I don’t know if I’m truly a creative person. A lot of the time I feel like I’m simply copying other people, the true artists who see the world differently. But I do know that I love to create– with words, with my camera, with paper and chipboard and photographs. I’ve always loved to create with words– I wrote my first poem around the ripe old age of eight and wrote many lavish and over-adjectivized (I so just made that word up!) short stories which make L. M. Montgomery look like a minimalist.

I discovered my love of scrapbooking and paper and keeping memories when Bubs was born. I will never be a great famous scrapbooking artiste, but that doesn’t stop me from getting a little giddy from the smell and the feel of paper.

And I love taking pictures, and I really love editing them and making them look all fancy or artsy or just a little weird. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m blessed with three of the most adorable children in the universe. They inspire me.

Anyway, the result of all this creating is that a lot of other things get neglected. Housework would probably be top of that list. The thing about housework– about washing and drying and folding and putting away and doing it all again tomorrow– is there is no creativity involved. It is dull and mundane and unexciting and uninspiring. Especially compared with the joy of taking a gorgeous picture, writing some meaningful words to go along with it, and putting them together with some paper and embellishments and creating a masterpiece.

But neglecting the housework, it doesn’t really lead anyplace good. Laundry must be done, dishes must be washed, dinner must be made, and toilets must be scrubbed.

So I’m asking you, my readers, many of whom are much more creatively inclined than I am, and I’m sure all of whom are better housekeepers, to give me some hints.

How do you get it done? Do you just buckle down and do it? Do you reward yourself with creative time? Do you find creative ways to accomplish your tasks, and if so, what sorts of things do you do to make your housework less mundane and more of a channel for your inner creative self?

Please, people. My house is drowning in dirty dishes, folded-but-not-put-away laundry, and those little tabs from the back of photo splits.

Is there a way to make this work for me, creativity and all?

and yes, I know, if I were a truly creative person I could come up with a solution to my own problem without asking the internets. Just accept this as a part of my unlike-any-other personality, mmmkay?


17 thoughts on “Unlike Any Other

  1. I find what helps me is to listen to a book on my ipod. I get lost in the story while folding laundry, doing dishes and clean toilets. But, if you don’t have an ipod, this might not work. Then I would have to say you’d just have to buckle down and do it, but that would sound very uncreative of me… maybe you could create with the dirty dishes and clothes… modern art that would sell for billions of dollars, then you could hire someone to clean for you, but then you source of art would go away…. I’m not sure I’m much help.

  2. First and foremost, I totally understand.

    Second and second-most, I am very glad that you share all those creative juices in such a wonderful manner for all us internets to see.

    Third and hopefully last. MUSIC is my most favorite way to take my mind off the mundane. Crank up the music, dance around the house, belt out a good one.

    I seem to have a penchant for Broadway musicals, but there are a few other CDs guaranteed put a spring in my step (my most recent favorite is the Charlie Brown Suite)… You can’t help but love it.

  3. I have no fabulous advice. Mostly because I just force myself to buckle down and do it…because I’d go insane if it didn’t get done. I’ve definitely found that when I stay on top of my housework, it takes way less time every day to keep it clean…and that helps motivate me.

    Of course, it probably helps that I’m not very creative, so I have nothing better to do than fold laundry.

  4. You are not alone. I too struggle with the housekeeping and laundry chores. I have also found that cranking up the music when I can, definitely helps me with the cleaning. It just seems to make it go more quickly and even more smoothly at times. I’m not anymore creative then that though, sorry! 😦 And I have also definitely found that by doing small things everyday (like scrubbing the stove and sink every evening after dinner) it keeps the bigger messes or loads of laundry from getting to gigantic. Speaking of laundry…time to go do some more!

  5. I pick an activity (i.e. laundry) or a location (i.e. kitchen), set my timer for 15 minutes, then work hard. You can do anything for 15 minutes. The beauty of it is that you’ll be amazed at how much you get done in “just” 15 minutes. Sometimes the best motivation is past success.

  6. I got nuttin. I just came here to see what other people said, so I could steal some of the advice you asked for.
    I like the idea of music and a timer. I keep thinking I’m going to pick a day and make it (in my mind) a “GREAT BIG CLEANING DAY EXTRAVAGANZA”where I do nothing but get stuff done, and the kids help. But that is clearly not happening before Jesus comes back…

  7. You could come up with some creative way to trick your husband into doing the housework, that’s what I would do if I had all the creativity flowing through my veins. πŸ™‚

  8. Lately I have been having fun putting an audio book in the laptop and hauling it into the kitchen to listen to while doing dishes and starting supper. I cleaned my way through World War Z just a couple of weeks ago. Zombies and dirty dishes make a great combo.

  9. I really don’t have a thing. Your hubby works, plays with the kids, does outside work, studies, but of course, it wouldn’t kill him to pick up a dishcloth and wash dishes or fold laundry once in awhile (just kidding art – LOL) anyway, I do most of the house work and laundry and help out were and when I can especially when illiness is running rappant! For a reward, I read a book or spent time holding the love of my life!!!

  10. We have a “cleaning cd” which is full of fast, peppy music that joel put together for big cleaning jobs like when it looks like a Wal Mart has exploded in our living room!
    To get through the everyday stuff I have a schedule because I delight in schedules and making lists. I have a specific morning routine that I do and I if don’t get breakfast until I complete it!
    Also I’m an OCD freak and take a certain sort of pleasure in repetitive chores and schedules so the idea of knowing exactly what I’m going to do with every minute of my day pleases me!
    So to sum up…loud peppy music for the big stuff and the same morning schedule to get the basics done like dishes and laundry. and remember there’s no better way to start your day than with a clean kitchen!
    Oh and the kids must clean up their rooms before bed, its part of their bedtime routine, that helps a lot!

  11. I have struggled with housekeeping since I had kids (and even before). I will share two sayings, and then two pieces of advice. My mother used to have a plaque on the wall that said “My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.” I think I like this philosophy. Clean is good, but nothing beats a happy family. When I was teaching at UGSC, although the kids were older, I still made myself crazy with the house. Lafe gave me a framed poem that really encouraged me and let me know he understood.
    Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow for children grow up I’ve learned to my sorrow. So settle down cobwebs, dust go to sleep; I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep. On a practical side, when I’m doing my normal pick up in an area, I try to find a home for at least one additional item (even if its the garbage can), or clean one thing more. You may also be able to find some helpful advice, and at least a few laughs, at http://www.flylady.net.

  12. I am I guess a creative person, draw, sew, scrapbook, etc. I too hate housecleaning but I am always trying to organize, reorganize, do things differently. I like my house clean but I hate the steps that it takes to get there. So I think to make things interesting I do things like to try to clean just with natural things (honestly, I can’t say I am the environmentalist, I think it is just to make things interesting, try to only wash on certain days, just always am coming up with different things. My husband doesn’t really help at all with the house and I am finally somewhat okay about that. He entertains my 2 year old more now so I can get it done though which gives me a break if I need it! I try to also prevent alot of the clutter and mess. I have rags on hand in the kitchen and bathrooms to just quick wet and wipe. We have a basket by the door for shoes so nothing is tracked in. I plan ahead for meals, crockpot alot, and freeze a ton. Oh and I am training my daughter… She thinks it is fun to use our mini vacuum in the kitchen and dust with my microfiber rags. I think it is fun too, she actualy does a good job. Who knows, when she turns 3 I think she can reach the washing machine…

  13. I was so excited when I read this post! I’m always super down on myself because I often neglect my house for the sake of what ever project is being worked on at that moment. I don’t have any great advice I just wanted you to know that you are SO not alone! It made me feel better to know that I’m not πŸ™‚ I think I may have to try that timer idea. I can do 15 minutes. Get up from what I’m working on every hour or so, then I can get something done and be able to look at my project with fresh eyes!

  14. FIRST of all, you are obviously creative – you’re a great writer, and an awesome scrapbooker.

    SECOND, I’m so glad that you’re the worst housekeeper in the world, because that means I’m not! HA! And I only have one little toddler-sized excuse – wait till I have two! πŸ™‚ I really am just so bad at keeping the house clean – I try to have a list of the ‘important’ things & get them done once a week, like sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathrooms (well, twice a week for that), and do dishes & laundry every day. BUT I also don’t work. If I worked & had 3 kids & did all you do, I would not let a dirty house bother me. πŸ™‚ As it is, I do pretty well at that. πŸ™‚ Hope you find what works for you! πŸ™‚ Also, another tip I heard at MOPS was to ask your hubby what 2 or 3 things about the house bother him the most & then make those your priorities in cleaning (along with the things that drive you nuts, of course). πŸ™‚

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