Bloganuary 12: Making Peace With Chores

Confession: I have a love/hate relationship with chores. 

As a teenager, I did my assigned weekly chores on the weekends, and in exchange I got $20 for allowance money. Back then, in 2007-08, I was able to stretch that far enough to buy a CD, a spiral notebook, a pack of ink pens, a paperback novel, and maybe some candy. I usually bought ‘Best of…’ compilation CDs, because they were very inexpensive! $7.99 for all of a classic rock band like the Rolling Stones’ major songs, was not bad. Later in life, I laughed heartily, with a feeling of recognition, at the scene in the Greta Gerwig film Ladybird when Saorsie Ronan, as the title character, displays her CD collection to a new friend, full of ‘Best of…’ CDs.

“They’re the best!” she says incredulously, as if surprised anyone would take a chance of a CD that is not full of previous chart-topping hits. Ah, I understand.

However, when I found myself between jobs in my 20s, chores became a touchy subject. I was used to working long hours, and being out of the house more than I was home. I’d lost touch with the rhythm and reason of housekeeping, and why things were done a certain way in our home. Eventually, I got the hang of it, and mastered the daily tasks. I even prided myself on how much I could accomplish in a day. 

During quarantine in 2020, the Cottagecore aesthetic became very popular. This aesthetic embraces pastoral living and a cozy, cottage lifestyle, idealizing tasks like baking, sewing, knitting, crafting, and gardening. During the long days at home, with the whole world sequestered for safety against COVID19, I took to wearing long, flowy dresses and relished chores like washing laundry by hand and hanging it to dry on our old fashioned clothesline pitched at the edge of the pine forest which bordered our house. The sun moved minutely with the passing of each hour, the wind shook the trees and rang rhythmically through their branches like the sound of waves, and I often went out barefoot to feel the dry, sun warmed grass beneath my feet as I worked. My life neatly fitted the Cottagecore ideal. 

Moving to a townhouse complex in a larger town was a huge change in scenery, and I had to adjust to more modern appliances. I was afraid to use the utilities, like the dishwasher, at first, accustomed to washing dishes by hand, too. Now, although I may never wash clothes by hand in large tubs, pin them to a clothesline, and gather them inside, dried by the sun and smelling of wildflowers and pine, but I have found other ways to mindfully enjoy chore time. I listen to recorded devotionals, or music; I call my sister to chat while she has downtime at work. I pray. While there have been times in my life where chores seem overwhelming, they can also be cherished time to clear my mind, open my heart to God, and find peace in action. 

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