Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Oh Sisyphus, I understand.

The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labour. ~Albert Camus
I love my home. I really do. Many a post I have written about home - and I'll always be passionate about making a home for my family. But, of late, too much I have concentrated on housework and not home, until I am Sisyphus endlessly pushing that rock that never reaches the top of the mountain. I am the woman that Rudyard Kipling speaks of: You sometimes see a woman who would have made a Joan of Arc in another century and climate, threshing herself to pieces over all the mean worry of housekeeping (From Plain Tales of the Hills, Rudyard Kipling). But I am a perfectionist. I make no joy of my housework, but make myself a martyr to it. If I haven't thoroughly cleaned my living room by Tuesday I am stressed. But who made the rule that it must be done by Tuesday? Me. And if it is done by Tuesday by Wednesday it looks like it did Monday, so then I'm stressed again. Oh Sisyphus, I understand!

But what is the plan? Yikes, I always need a plan (that can't be good). Moving on with trepidation then...

  • Firstly, the husbando helpfully informed me that I simply have to lower my standards - yep, still working on that.
  • Secondly, I have decided to enjoy my home - that is not the perfection of the cleanliness (no cleanliness ISN'T next to godliness!) but the family and friends therein.
  • Thirdly, I will remember one of my favourite quotes by Thomas More: the ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.To enjoy each simple task in itself. It's not a race, it's not a competition. To find God in the small things and to thank Him for it.

I'm not sure if Sisyphus really did find life meaning in the all-encompassing task of pushing that rock up the hill (as Albert Camus suggests), I'm sure he'd much rather stop and do something else for a bit at least! Surely there had to be a worthwhile point to his rolling?

But will my inherent perfectionism let me let go? Watch this space. Can you make home without the perfect house? Intriguing.

I'll leave the last words to Mother Teresa:

Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do...but how much love we put in that action
~ Mother Teresa

Anyway, enough of my mardy moaning, let's talk about the Kittehs!

Here's a cute site: Cat in a box We all know that if there is a box and a kitty the kitty will be in the box. Rather like if there is a kitty and a piece of paper in the middle of the floor, before long the kitty will be sat in the middle of the paper. We love the kittehs.

Toodle-pip chaps.


  1. I really like both the quote by Moore and the quote by Mother Theresa.

    Keeping house is a pleasure when the task itself is the end and not the means to the end - that only happens sometimes around here.

  2. Melissa, part of the problem is that my life has changed in the past year in that I am still trying to do all the stuff I did before I started working (and I am absolutely shattered when I get back from work because it's such a physically demanding job). House has become a pressure, I'm constantly watching the clock, I'm constantly bothered that I've not done all my cleaning, I'm constantly bothered that I'm not having enough time with the girls; all the joy of home that I used to have has gone. Something's gotta give!

    I felt like it was an endless, thankless task. You clean, then it looks messy again (ah such is the nature of housework).

    I know that I need to refocus and change the paradigm of home in my own mind. It isn't about cleanliness (though that is to some extent important), it isn't about perfect interior decoration, it's about something deeper.

    The quotes are great aren't they? I love Mother Teresa, from what I know she was a beautiful peaceful woman who loved Jesus and people with a passion.