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Playful Self-Discipline: Doing The Dishes and Other Responsible Things

Summer is winding down, and now that our summer’s grand adventure is past it feels like time to get down to the business of sorting things out.  Instead of going to the beach, I’m making time for responsible things like refinishing our dining table and working on the family budget..

As it seems to be the case with all things in life, responsibility always comes in relation to freedom.  Yes, you can have the freedom to walk out on your life as you know it.  Hand in your 2-week notice, skip out on that final exam, set yourself up as an entrepreneur.  But along with that freedom comes the responsibility to own the consequences of your actions.

Maybe it’s the fact that we’re about to launch ourselves into a new phase of life as an officially homeschooling family, but I’m feeling our Freedom and Responsibility quite intensely right now.  We have made certain choices that make us quite free in relation to other families.  But now the responsibility part is kicking in.  There are certainly days when I can see the appeal of outsourcing schooling and taking on a full-time position with a mega-corp.

This month I’m focusing on ways I can be playfully self-disciplined about my responsibilities.

It’s easy to let responsibility become a giant ogre breathing foul breath over my shoulder, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Like flossing, doing the responsible thing can be a joyful choice.  I’m happy to floss if it means that I don’t have to have a root canal in a year from now.  I’m happy to deal with sanding dust and the smell of furniture oil now if it means our table will look great and last for years to come.

This month, I’m going to start with one small change.  Something that’s been overdue for a long, LONG time.  I am going to make sure the dishes are done before I go to bed.  I’m sure a whole bunch of you just snorted your coffee out your nose, thinking, “My God! She leaves her kitchen with piles of dishes everywhere and then wakes up to that every morning!?”  Yes, I can confirm that it is indeed horrible to have to shuffle around the piles of caked-on dishes to make a space for the coffee pot at 7am.  But it’s what I did for a long, long, time.  Old habits die hard.Now I think I’d rather clean the kitchen after dinner if it means I can wake up to clean counters and a dishwasher full of sparkling dishes.

New, clean kitchen.  New, clean life.  I think I’m officially a grownup now.

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