I have discovered that there are two major things that seem crucial factors in how my day goes. And, interestingly enough, they’re both chores.
One is getting the breakfast dishes done before lunch, which most often happens after I’ve finished breakfast and before I go upstairs to take a shower. It goes much better if I get it done either then or immediately after my shower.
The other thing is getting my bed made early, preferably as soon as I finish my shower.
I think it’s a combination of two things. One is the sense of accomplishment that I get when I feel like I’ve done something, especially when it’s still early in the day. It makes me more likely to go on and do something else to keep things going, and that’s a good thing.
The other main factor is simply having the house looking neat. This is more the dishes thing, because the bed is upstairs and I don’t go in there as much. But if I don’t get the bed done, I do feel guilty every time I walk in or by the room for whatever reason. But having the dishes done and the counter clear makes me neater when I’m preparing lunch (because I don’t want to mess things up), more likely to clean up from lunch (because I want to keep things neat), and more likely to go on and do something during the girls’ naptime/quiet time (because I start with the lunch dishes, and then I naturally move on to some other useful chore.
There’s also the fact that if the dishes aren’t done three times a day, after every meal, they become overwhelming quickly. Cleaning up after the girls is a major event. It’s not just collecting dishes and putting them in the dishwasher or hand-washing them (I’ve actually streamlined things so that there’s very little that has to be hand-washed, I wash almost everything in the dishwasher). It’s also collecting trash, scooping food off the floor, sweeping or wiping (or both) sections of floor, wiping down the booster seats, etc. Some of those things, if left undone, can be done once and save work. But most of them just add on top of each other and turn the dishes into a huge chore. And having the kitchen and dining room clean just feels so good.
Right now I’m going to sit playing on the computer for a few minutes, my “break” portion of the girls’ naptime/quiet time. But because I’m sitting at a dirty lunch table, it will nag at me, and sooner or later I’ll decide I’ve had enough break, turn off the computer, clean up, wash diapers, and get started on other stuff. It works for me.
So, why have I subjected you to an entire post on housekeeping? Because I’m a stay-at-home mom, so it’s, like, a 1/3rd of my job. And because I can.