Whenever I look at this picture of the Bichon with the rhinestone necklace and her tongue hanging out I want to laugh and I "Lighten Up." I keep this visual in view and remind myself to wear my rhinestones and to tread softly, knowing that I have the capability of losing my joy when I start getting into the work mode on weekends.
Weekends at our house tend to be a time to play 'catch-up' and 'hurry-up' to get it all done before we begin our work week. We 'work' to make time for fun which means certain chores must be done. On that list of course includes laundry, grocery shopping for the week, cleaning the bathrooms and changing sheets. Vacuuming and dusting do not get done as regularly as the other chores. You know the routine and you also know the stress it can create for families, as we all try to 'shove' a week's worth of work into forty-eight hours. It's challenging to get it all done and still feel like you have had time to play so when you return to work on Monday you can say, "I had a good weekend." However, we are trying to re-work this old thinking pattern of working weekends.
At our house labor is equally divided and that certainly brings about the feeling of equality and respect for each other. However, must I remind you it is football season and in our house that means the TV is on all weekend and I will add here, that I am NOT a football person. Instead, I try to honor the football season by making sure we get to the chores and the 'musts' before the games start. I am most fulfilled when the house is clean and tidy, although I'm gaining more respect for play and I'm re-working this old belief that hasn't served me well all these years. The challenge now, especially as I have gotten older, is not to run out of energy before the chores are done and to make sure there is energy remaining for me to have my life. My new motto is Life is about Joy!
Doing it all means that I have spent my weekend working and not playing only to return to work not as refreshed as I'd like to be. I did not take time to "Lighten Up!" I am learning to not try to do it all, instead I am choosing to tackle sometimes only a portion of a project. Yes, there is more dust and things are perhaps a bit more piled than I'd prefer, but there is real weekend for me. I also have learned to work for an hour and then do something for me for an hour. It seems to revive me and there is more energy for both work and play. Plus, I am not as angry that I have to do all this 'stuff' on the weekends. I whine less and that makes everybody happy. As I have gotten older I also have decided that much of the chores I spent time doing probably didn't matter than much anyway, and that there are more worthwhile things to do with my time and energy. Housework has been overvalued!
"Lighten Up" I remind myself as I see all that is undone and I coach myself with these words. It helps to have some visuals throughout the house like my Bichon with the beautiful rhinestone necklace! We've also learned to 'bookend' our weekend days, for example we start our mornings at the Kitchen Table with coffee and the newspaper (yes, we still read the paper copy of a newspaper) and we talk. This has seemed to help ease us into the day and we can go about what needs to be done with a sense of togetherness. There now are more time limits on the work that needs done and we stick to these limits. The dinner hour then 'bookends' the day and once again the talking and sharing helps us to feel connected and we feel supported by each other.
I will always have to watch out for the demands I place on myself, if I want to keep my creative process going and have the energy to be present with my life. My goal is to continue to make improvements with this theme of doing less work and playing more. Ignoring dust helps and knowing what absolutely must be done and focusing on those chores only also frees me to have an equal amount of time for my self-care. It is a more rational approach. I reflect on this past weekend and can see some improvements with how I managed me and my tendencies to overwork. It's getting better. I'm "Lightening Up."