I might never be less busy than I am today, and I am learning to accept this idea. If I am busy, it’s because I’m taking care of the people and the home I love. There will always be meals to prepare; sinks and toilets to scrub; clothes, towels, and bed sheets to wash, dry, iron, fold, and stack in the closets and dressers. There are always hungry mouths to feed, stains to wipe, and the laundry hamper doesn’t remain empty for long. You might be rolling your eyes, wondering why I am writing about something so mundane. The mundane is real life. We don’t discuss everything we do on a daily basis, but it’s there and it occupies many hours in the day. It’s a matter of fact. I used to think of the cleaning, laundry, and cooking routine as unpleasant, a waste of time that could be better spent at the beach, on the trail, or on the sofa with my journal and pen, a book, or knitting needles. Today, I remind myself that service is inescapable.
We clean, cook, and wash clothes for ourselves and our families. We prepare dinner in order to fill our bellies with delicious nourishing warmth while sharing it with our loved ones. We wash dishes after consuming a scrumptious meal. We mop the floors and scrub the sinks in order to continue to benefit from the space in which we spend so much time every day. I want my family to use a clean bathroom. I want them to wear clean clothes. I long to see the sparkle in their eyes as they walk into the kitchen and inhale deeply the scent of the yogurt cake or chocolate chip banana muffins rising in the oven.
On the days when the routine feels too heavy, I choose to cultivate gratitude. Gratitude, in turn, reminds me to move with intention, to pause to smell the chemical-free lavender-scented laundry soap, to breathe deeper as the vegetables simmer in a pot on the stove. Mr. Wanderlust is quiet as he vacuums the carpets and mops the floors, but I sometimes like to sing while wiping dust off furniture. We work as a team, each contributing to the beauty that we strive to maintain in our home.
Some days, if the pile of laundry to be ironed is too high and seems overwhelming, I resist the urge to grab my audiobook. Sometimes, it works, and the choice to approach the task with mindfulness is a rewarding one. At other times, that audiobook is the best company. I make decisions as I go along, making choices that are right for me and my family right here, right now.
We are busy, yes. We are busy taking care of whom and what we love. We also, however, value our ‘slow time,’ and when we set aside time to pause and savour this moment that we have created by serving, it feels all the more rewarding. It’s a delicate balance and to keep it, we must continue to exercise our creativity, re-adjusting as needed, always returning to Gratitude.
Do you have tips to share for managing a busy daily routine?