A Labor of Love


“Housework sucks!” wrote a young friend of my granddaughter, on her Facebook status.  

This prompted a plethora of thoughts about how dreadfully we must have failed this generation, especially in the area of appreciating the opportunity to work.

How many times I have been served by a kid who didn’t want to be there, worked only for money and couldn’t wait for his hours to be over!

Housework doesn’t pay–at least not with immediate monetary reward–yet it must be done. Like other mundane tasks, the reward is in knowing it is a job well done.

One of my stepdaughters explained to me how she detested housework and put it off until it was a huge chore. “If I wash dishes, we just dirty them up again,” she complained. “We mess the bed up every day. Laundry is never caught up for more than a few hours.” She wanted to know why my attitude was different.

At a loss for words because I’d never thought about this before, I finally managed, “It makes me feel good.” That didn’t communicate with her so I tried again.

“I look at the clean house, the finished product, and it makes me feel good. When things are messy or dirty or undone, I don’t feel good. I take a few seconds to admire the folded laundry or the clean floor. Sometimes that’s all we get–that few seconds!”

I think this principle is applicable to the work spent in writing. Every writer wants the affirmation of publication. Yet, if I wrote solely for the sake of dollars earned, I’d never write poetry because it doesn’t pay well, and I’d be a very frustrated author because most of what I write isn’t publishable, never mind payable. It’s a labor of love.

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About janets123

Children's writer, newspaper columnist, essayist, poet, storyteller
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10 Responses to A Labor of Love

  1. Heather says:

    I definitely love a clean house. Sometimes it tiring to get there, but I do like that I can be proud of my house 🙂

  2. Paula Gorgas says:

    People need a sense of order in their lives. When everything is scattered or messy all around us, it’s a reflection of the confusion within us.

  3. zabrina says:

    I would have to agree about “it makes me feel good”I find myself being a neat “Freak” that includes outside or in. It does feels soothing to know that everything is in order…just the other day tackled a linen closet. “FELT GOOD”…maybe I”ll be brave and clean my closet soon.

    • janets123 says:

      Dear Zabrina, If you’re ever coming to my house, give me a week’s heads up, won’t you? Neat freaks freak me out! Always worried they’ll open a closet. ;D

  4. maragen says:

    “She wanted to know why my attitude was different.” Attitude. It is so much better when you take the attitude that this is something you get to do instead of something you have to do.

  5. pat groshng says:

    Ugh!Double Ugh! Tell me it isn’t true. Must you quit the column?.I’m sorry. Obviously you do. These Thursdays I’ve so looked forward too because of you. Creepy crude
    I’ve got housework to do instead of pleading with you. I’ll be back. I mean you rock my boat Janet Short. Have a bountiful day. I better come back. I so enjoy reading you!!! Later.

    • janets123 says:

      Pat, Not to fear–I’M WRITING! Just not conveniently delivered to your door every Thursday. Click on the “follow” link or subscribe to the RSS feed & get this sporadic blog delivered to your e-mail box every…every time it happens. Thanks for reading!

  6. JJ says:

    I largely agree with what Paula said, but am also mindful of what Einstein said:
    “If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, Of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
    Still, I do appreciate that momentary, fleeting sense of accomplishment, even if it has to be done again tomorrow.

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