Aaaaahhhhh, our bathrooms are clean(er than they were yesterday)!!!
It’s Tuesday, which is bathroom-cleaning day, but we missed the last three Tuesdays due to vacation and VBS, both valid excuses.
But I didn’t want to clean bathrooms today. I mean, if they’ve gone that long without being cleaned, what’s one more week?
My sole motivation this morning was that I’m a mother. I began this summer with great visions of teaching my kids to clean, and although I was tempted to justify skipping today, I didn’t, because my passion to equip my children for life overrode my laziness.
I’ll take it.
I would like my motivation to be more noble.
I would like to clean the bathrooms because they need to be cleaned. I would like to be fulfilled by the lemon-ey smell replacing the pee-ey smell. I would like to view housekeeping as noble, and do it because I could never imagine not doing it.
Sometimes, I get hung up on what my motivation is. I think part of it is my generation. We’ve laughed all of our lives at the image of June Cleaver in her heels and make-up, vacuuming at home while Beaver is getting stuck in a coffee-cup-billboard. She just did it . . . because it needed to be done. Society expected that her house would be clean.
All the time.
I, like many others my age, have rebelled against these expectations. If my heart isn’t in something, it can feel I’m doing wrong if I go through the motions.
If I don’t have a passion for toilets, the noble thing would be to sit and ponder what ignites my passion, while letting the toilets develop layers of yellow spots and rings at the water lines.
Being true to myself is fantastic and all, but the reality is that my most brilliant ideas happen while in the bathroom. And my mostest brilliantest ones come when the bathroom is clean and I can truly relax.
Thankfully, my passion is for being a mother. This morning, that passion translated into going through the motions of prepping for the kids to clean bathrooms. I made sure their supply baskets were ready, and all materials they would need to gather were in places where they could be found.
Through cleaning bathrooms, which is something I avoid, I found teachable moments, which is something I crave.
I taught my kids that while vacation is fun, real life resumes immediately when it is over. I taught them that I really did mean it when I said we were going to do cleaning tasks this summer. I taught them that if we get our tasks done in the morning, we can do fun things the rest of the day.
And honestly, I did get fulfillment from it. I saw how well they picked back up, building on what they learned in the weeks before craziness hit. I was amazed again at the self-sufficiency of my 8yo, who loves the direction and independence that are provided with a laminated list of exact steps required to get the job done. I laughed again at the joy my 4yo gets from spraying down the entire half-bath with vinegar water. And I spent special one-on-one time with my 6yo as I helped him go through his list. We talked, laughed, and dreamed about how fun it would be to have our own pond and a great big swimming pool.
So even though I may not have the “correct” or “noble” motivation, I have to get over that. Some things need to be done just because they need to be done. They’re societal expectations for a reason.
And generally I am reminded, like I was today, that not experiencing passion before I start doesn’t mean that I won’t experience fulfillment when it’s over.