It is my own conviction that doing housework is good for my soul.
There is something very down-to-earth and grounded about making the home a clean, tidy and comfortable place to live for my family. Each little act – be it making the bed, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming and mopping the floor or washing dirty laundry – can be a prayer of love done with a loved one in mind.
Housework is also good for my soul because it keeps me from taking for granted the people around me who keep the environment clean. The cleaners, sweepers, garbage collectors – like a home-maker or a domestic helper, their contribution is easily taken for granted until they fail to do their work. Isn’t it true that this kind of work is usually over-looked until it fails to get done?
In the past, I never enjoyed housework because I saw it as a necessary evil. I felt stressed if dirt and dust begin to pile up or when the house becomes increasingly messy. I dreaded cleaning, but I would do so because I felt obliged to. After all, I did like a clean environment to live in. But sometimes, I would stress myself by giving myself some very high standards and expectations to live up to.
But these days, I have found housework to be calming and meditative. I no longer feel the pressure to keep a certain standard, nor do I experience guilt if I fail to do some chore I had planned to do. I feel naturally prompted to do certain chores at a certain time – and it always seems to be the right one to do. I find myself very much in the present when I do housework, my mind does not wander. Housework has become a form of meditation. And when I consciously do these acts with love, my chores become a form of prayer. Ironically, without the stress, my home is a lot cleaner and tidier than it used to be.
Physical labour, even something as menial as housework, keeps one grounded and humble. Perhaps I may be able to cultivate a greater spirit of service and a humble heart of gratitude through my chores.