Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Work and Responsibility

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Work, work, work. Does it seem like that is what you do most of the time? Yeah, I know it. Life is full of various kinds of work. Work to earn a living. Work for food. Work at raising children. Work at keeping a home. Work at relationships...like I said, work, work, work.

But work is necessary, and work is good for us. Anyone religious likely has a belief in work; the commandment of "six days shalt thou labor" is a point for keeping the Sabbath holy, but also for laboring--for six days. Looking to examples in the scriptures, we see people who worked. 

Before I delve too deeply--I feel the need to first recognize that life isn't all about work--there should be play and leisure, also. Yes, we need to relax. Yes, we should recreate. But we shouldn't be idle. 

We are often looking for ways to make our work easier on ourselves, and I don't think that is inherently bad. Because of such thought, we have things like dishwashers, washing machines, and roombas. We can definitely become more efficient in our work. But not in order to turn to the television more often.

My feeling is that you readers are okay with and accepting of work in general, so I won't spend this time convincing you to be hard working. I think you already are. You are the type of people who accept your personal responsibility and are willing to put the work in to accomplish it. You don't expect anyone other than you to do things like raise your children. 

But I am sure many of you struggle with loving your work. Yes--loving. I am someone who is a bit odd and loves work, and I know I struggle with loving certain jobs. Jobs like folding laundry...oh folding laundry. I do not love doing that at all. What is a job you dislike greatly? Sweeping? Bathrooms? Poopy diapers? Dishes? Running errands?

How do we change our attitude so that we learn to love our work--even the monotonous and the mundane? I have five ideas, and perhaps you have some you can share of your own. I think this is something that will take time to accomplish, but hopefully we can make great improvements quickly and work toward loving our work.

1-Make it fun
"Work" is not another word for "boring." I think a trick to enjoying work is to making it fun for yourself. There are lots of ways to make it fun. Challenge yourself. Maybe you could time yourself to see how long it takes you or maybe you could challenge yourself to be done with a certain chore by 10 AM. 

Many of the tasks we so dread really don't take that long to do--when we put it off and think about how much we will dislike it, we really drag out the misery for longer than we need to :) But this post is not about shortening misery, it is about learning to love it, so let's keep thinking of that.

Something I love is music. When I put on music while I work, it makes it even that much more enjoyable for me. So think of something you enjoy and add that. Maybe you love to talk to your Mom. You could make doing the dishes time a time to call your mom. 

2-Be grateful
One friend I have said that when she feels like complaining about doing the dishes, she thinks about how grateful she is she has food to eat. That is a great perspective--rather than complaining I have so much laundry to fold, I should be grateful we have clothes to wear!

3-Keep end goal in mind
Sometimes having a goal can make you excited to do the work. Think about how nice it will be to have all of it clean and done. Keep the goal in mind and be excited for what you are going to accomplish.

4-Share the load
Even the heaviest load is lighter when two people share it rather than one. Enlist the help of people as appropriate. Spouse, children, friends...all depending on the "work" you are doing. 

5-Focus on the serving
Ultimately, I think number five is the thing that will get me to the point of loving the work I hate. There I said it. Hate. I have a story to illustrate:
"A traveler passed a stone quarry and saw three men working. He asked each man what he was doing. Each man's answer revealed a different attitude about the same job. "I am cutting stone," the first man answered. The second replied, "I am earning three gold pieces per day." The third man smiled and said, "I am helping to build a house of God."
Now, is folding laundry as grand as building a house of God? Definitely not in the eyes of the world. But I honestly think it can be in the eyes of God. The point of this story is the attitude of service when doing work. The third man viewed his work as a service to God. When I serve my family by folding laundry for them, I am serving God. "Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

No matter your spiritual beliefs, if you view your work as a service and display of love to your family, you will view it differently. Rather than a "chore" it is something to show love. Does the job change? No. Get easier? Not physically. But the chore was never hard physically in the first place. It is a mental issue, so that is where the change really needs to happen. Sure, a "folding laundry robot" would make that job easier, but the most realistic way for me to improve on that chore is to look at it as service and a way to show love.

So whether you are potty training, vacuuming, changing a diaper, balancing the budget, planning out your meals, weeding, cooking, wiping noses, etc.....view it as a display of love and an act of service, and hopefully some day, you can grow to love and cherish it rather than procrastinate and/or dread it.

Now I need to go fold laundry. Yay! (that was fake, but maybe in a few months, it will be sincere).

See also work ethic.


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8 comments:

Mandy Zierenberg said...

Thank you for this post! I really needed the encouragement. My 3 month old has been giving me schedule issues. She is 14 weeks and she seems to not eat as well at the 3 hour mark (she is formula fed). She has been sleeping from df at 10:30 p.m. - 7:30 a.m. for a week now. Should I try 3 1/2 hours? She hardly sleeps longer than 2 hours for her naps and her wake time can't go much past 60 minutes, but when she does nap longer and goes to 3 1/2 hours she eats so much better! 5 oz at 3 1/2 hrs vs 3-4 oz at 3 hours. Just wondering...

setxws6 said...

@ Mandy- my experience at that age is that she should be able to go the 3.5-4 hrs between feeds. It's not uncommon that she can't stay up past 60 minutes. Just make sure to keep her wake time the same every morning & her bedtime routine just that...routine! That's good that your daughter is sleeping that long. I formula fed my son at that age & he was sleeping 7p-7am! I found that the earlier bedtime really helped with longer wake time & ability to go longer between feeds. Maybe try an earlier bedtime. It's not "convenient" when you want to spend time w/her after work & want to make dinner plans but its best for baby & her bedtime will slowly get later as she gets older. Keep up the great work! (hope this helps & I hope Val agrees :-D )

@ Val- Oh I feel on you disliking Laundry! It just NEVER ends! I get it all washed, dried & in baskets. Then it sits b/c I dread folding it, LOL! I fold & put away my husband & son's clothes. Mine get folded & thrown into my closet...its the only messy part of my house! :-) Bathrooms is likely my next least favorite. Scrubbing bubbles megafoam is my FAV bathtub cleaner. I am sure its not "green" but it saves my back so I use it! God Bless! Thanks for continuing to blog!

setxws6 said...

I feel you on disliking laundry******

Amanda Armstrong said...

I remember the Sunday nights of worry and stress because I did not LOVE what Monday morning brought. But now I am launching my web site next month (www.sitterpals.com) and everyday is a great day to pursue this venture!

Thanks for the perspective and encouragement!

Kristy Powers said...

Fantastic post. I like #5 best! The latest thing I have seen that changed my whole perception about housework was: Go the second mile (from Helen Andelin). Something about that made me more eager to do the work. I dread the "first mile" of a chore like doing the laundry, but if I think about the "second mile" of everyone in the family having clean, nice-smelling, pressed clothes for the week that is more motivating.

Plowmanators said...

Mandy, you could try a longer feeding schedule, but another option that might work better given her waketime is to try dropping the dreamfeed and see if that makes it so she is a bit more hungry in the day.

McKenna often napped for 2.5 hours, so you could possibly do a 3.5 schedule with a 60 minute waketime if your baby will sleep that long.

Plowmanators said...

setxws6--I know! Laundry feels like it is this never-ending job of washing, folding, putting away...then a couple of days later I start all over again :)

Plowmanators said...

Kristy, I like that second mile idea too!

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