I once heard that the definition of maturity is deciding to do things you don’t want to do because they need to get done.
If that’s the case, then I’m super mature. Because I feel like I spend a lot of time doing things I have to psyche myself up for. In fact, I think that’s why I often feel so exhausted–it’s easy to feel like so much of my life is spent slogging through instead of doing things that I actually want to do. That’s why taking time off to relax in the RV with Keith can help refresh me so much.
So today I thought I’d share ten things that we do that we don’t like doing, and likely never will like doing, but have to get done–along with some thoughts on how to get these things done faster and easier! A while ago I ran a version of this post, where I asked you all to help me come up with things that you hate doing, too. And our answers were pretty similar! So here goes.
1. Cleaning the Toilet
The #1 answer everyone gives for least favorite task is always cleaning the toilet. We just don’t like doing it. And when you have little boys (or several big ones) it gets even grosser. But there’s something about having a bright, clean white toilet bowl that makes you just feel better.
How to lessen the pain: Keep the toilet bowl cleaner right next to the toilet, and any time you notice that it’s getting gross, just squirt some cleaner in and move that brush around, and it won’t ever get to the disgusting stage. Also, little kids really love cleaning toilets. Maybe not every little kid, but enough that I’ve noticed a trend. If you can catch them when they’re around 5 or 6 and get them started, they may start to adopt it as “their” job. There’s something about scrubbing with that brush and making all those bubbles. So teach your children to clean a toilet! Leave a basket of rags by the toilet along with some safe cleaner so they can wash down the toilet seats, too. We may not like cleaners being visible, but I always figure, if it’s within reach, it’ll get done more often!
Perhaps ironically (given the title of this blog) this is my big one! I hate vacuuming–especially vacuuming stairs. And I think the problem with vacuuming is that feeling that it’s never done. You know that as soon as you vacuum, someone’s going to trek through and make more crumbs.
How to lessen the pain: Invest in a quality vacuum cleaner that does what you need it to do! If you have mostly floors you need a different vacuum cleaner than someone with a bunch of rugs. You may find that you actually enjoy vacuuming if you have one you love. And those see-through ones where the dust whirls around are really fun for kids. So check out your vacuum cleaner options. My cousins and aunt bought Rebecca and Connor a really nice vacuum cleaner for their wedding and it has made a huge difference–Connor actually really enjoys using it!
Another thing: clean out the vacuum bag often, and if you have a central vac, clean out the unit. When I bought my first house I didn’t know you had to do this. I’m not sure where I thought all that dust went, but after six months of the vacuum not working I thought to ask my hubby where the central vac emptied. And sure enough, it was stuffed.
3. Doing Dishes
We hate dishes because they’re gross and they don’t go away. You wash a load and tomorrow there will be just as many.
How to lessen the pain: Have a rule that if you make dinner you don’t do dishes! Get kids involved. And here’s one that I’ve found works: aim to have the counter cleared before you go to bed. Even squirt some cleaner and shine it every night. If you see a clean counter, you feel so much better!
4. Making Breakfast
I hate it being 5:30 and not knowing what I’ll make for dinner. That’s torture. But I actually enjoy cooking–dinner, that is. I hate making breakfast. Mostly because I hate breakfast foods, and so does my youngest daughter, who is usually the only one home with me at breakfast time. But I know we have to eat! But if I don’t cook, I tend to head for the chocolate cake. Even this morning I ate one of Katie’s chocolate chip cookies (sorry, Katie, but you weren’t awake yet. So there). The problem is that we need protein at breakfast, but if we can’t think of what to make, we’ll tend to go for the simple sugars (which is what most muffins and cereals are).
How to lessen the pain: Think outside the box! You can eat leftovers for breakfast. And I’ve started making more “lunch stuff” for breakfast. I do hummus and pitas. I do those mini-pizzas on English muffins. And if you have any ideas for other creative breakfasts, I’d love to hear them. I’m just not an egg, pancake, oatmeal, or cereal gal.
5. Responding to Email
I get a ton of email everyday. Maybe some of you are in the same boat. And I hate it. For you it may not be email that you hate; maybe it’s paying bills. But it’s anything that is at the back of your mind, nagging you, saying, “you have to do this” and making you feel guilty. Email makes me feel guilty because there are always things I’m supposed to do. And I don’t like that.
How to lessen the pain: Whether it’s bills or email or other paperwork, set aside a specific amount of time you’ll spend everyday. Rather than leaving it in one chunk, do fifteen minutes a day (or whatever it takes). I find if I set the timer and try to get through as many as I can in that time, I’m quite productive. And then I can say, “well, if I didn’t get to that person today, it’s because other things took priority”. And that’s okay.
6. Getting that PAP Smear/Mammogram
Let’s go to our happy places, people, and put our feet up in those stirrups and try to ignore what’s going on. Or let’s go get squished!
As someone who has had to have an annual mammogram since I was 30 due to family history of breast cancer, I can tell you it’s not fun. But it’s better than the alternative.
How to lessen the pain: I don’t think you can, really. For mammograms, take a Tylenol an hour before. For Pap smears, just live through it. Relax as much as you can (yeah, right). And remember that the new guidelines say that if you’ve only ever had one sexual partner, and he’s only ever had one, then you really only need one every three years (yay!). For those of you in that situation, you can tell your doctor it really isn’t necessary. Unfortunately, for those of you in the other camp it is, because cervical cancer is really dangerous. And it was through a Pap smear that they first found all the polyps and other things that were causing me bleeding issues, so it is important.
I will never, ever like exercising, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the people who say they don’t feel happy if they don’t jog five miles a day are lying or deluding themselves. I have gone through periods of intense exercise in my life, and even then I didn’t like it. I just don’t. But I know it’s necessary.
How to lessen the pain: I’ve only found two things that work: listening to a sermon/speech/podcast while I jog or watching Netflix while I’m on the stationary bike, or else exercising with someone else. I bit the bullet and shelled out the money for a personal trainer for three months, because I just need the accountability. I also am starting to jog with my hubby again. Doing stuff together makes it more likely to get done. I think admitting you’ll never like it, and stopping feeling guilty for not wanting to exercise, helps a ton. Just do it, and know you’ll hate it, but that’s okay.
8. Putting Laundry Away
I can do laundry. I just hate folding it and putting it away. It’s never ending.
How to lessen the pain: Fold it directly out of the dryer, rather than dumping it somewhere (or fold it as it comes off the line). Then you just need to deposit it in people’s rooms. Have older kids do their own laundry (or at least put away their own laundry).
9. Working Outside the Home
Here’s a sad one. I had a number of people on Facebook saying that they so wanted to be stay-at-home moms, but they needed to work for the income.
Sometimes we do need to work, and that’s still a service you’re doing your family.
How to lessen the pain: Learn as much as you can about how to save money on your big ticket items, like mortgages, insurance, cars, and groceries. Downsize as much as you can. Learn to live with less. Save as much of your paycheque as you can manage. Create a plan. If you can see that in five years you can start to work part-time, or that if you downsize you can afford to be home more, that can help tremendously. But get a plan for the whole family so that you can see how your work and your husband’s work contribute, and what you’re aiming for. You’re in this as a family, and you don’t need to feel like it’s all on your shoulders. And sometimes when you take a look long-term, you can see how it may not always be like this.
10. Battling in Prayer
I’m surprised no one, in the almost 200 comments on Facebook when I originally asked the question, mentioned this one, but for me it’s a biggie. I know no one actually says online “I find doing my devotions hard” or “I find praying hard”, but I’m not afraid to say I do! It’s difficult to sit quietly and concentrate on reading the word. But I’m still way better at that than I am at praying. I can conversation-pray all day (and in fact I do). But you know that prayer where you’re going to battle, and you need to pray hard for something? Sort of like the prayer in Daniel 10 where Daniel prayed for 21 days, not realizing a huge spiritual battle was going on in the heavenly realms at the same time? I really battle with that. I can talk to God like He’s my Daddy for sure, but to get serious? It’s tough.
How to lessen the pain: Have a pen and paper handy so you can write things down as you pray. I find that helps me to focus and stops my mind from wandering. Have a different place you sit when you pray like this, so you’re not tempted to grab a book or glance at the computer. Use a prayer book, like the book of common prayer, as a guide for how to work through a prayer. And I’d love any suggestions you have in the comments section!
There’s my list of the top 10 things I hate doing! Family is a team, a unit, it’s not mom doing everything while others do nothing. And if you feel like you get a bit of a break, your family will be a more fun place for all of you–while your kids also learn responsibility.
Now let me know: how do you lessen the pain of some of these things? Leave your one best solution in the comments (or more if you have them!)
So at my last PAP Smear, my doctor brought an intern into the room. Despite the awkwardness and discomfort, I cracked jokes about the experience the whole time. It eased the tension in the room and distracted me from what was happening. Plus, I think it gave that poor intern some much-needed comic relief.
And as for household chores, thank goodness for podcasts and music playlists. I do almost all such tasks with headphones in my ears.
I LIKE exercising and doing dishes – these are my inspirational times. I hate getting my mammogram but don’t mind my pap smear. I like working outside the home – always have.
And prayer even battling – isn’t something I like or dislike, it’s necessary like breathing which I don’t have a choice in how I feel about that, so I just do it. So a different approach to prayer maybe helpful.
My husband and I trade off our least favorite tasks. He hates cleaning the toilets, but I hate doing dishes. So we each do the other person’s chore, and it’s a win-win for us.
And I’m also one who turns on the music and gets busy. I’ve tried a podcast or two, but with 4 kids in the house, it’s hard to pay attention to someone talking in my ear AND having a child talk to me (or breaking up a fight between the children). With the music, I can ignore it for a moment and take care of the kids
#10 would honestly be my #1. I SUCK at it therefore I hate it. 😏
I don’t like the act of exercising but I love the feeling of “I exercised”.
Putting away laundry?? Ugh!!!!!!! lol I even like folding it. Laundry is my fave chore. Til it’s time to put it away. Even worse now that we live in our travel
Trailer full time.
Cara: “I don’t like the act of exercising but I love the feeling of “I exercised”.” Exactly!
I would rather clean a toilet than go grocery shopping! I shop at night when I can, so the stores aren’t as crowded.
Sure, I don’t enjoy getting a Pap smear. But I would rather do that than go to the dentist! All that scraping they do is just awful!
I have enjoyed exercise so much more since joining a gym. And the gym I go to has water massage beds available. That massage is a great reward for working out!
Re: Dentist. Hate it. When I’m at the dentist, I tell myself (among other things*), “At least I’m not naked, with my feet in stirrups!”
And when I’m at my PAP smear, “At least they’re not scraping my teeth right now!”
*Other things I tell myself at dentist: I’m so glad my teeth are pretty healthy and I have access to good dental care and insurance and my hygienist and dentist are so gentle and patient with me!”
Yeah, I’m Pollyanna, but it works for me. Also helpful at dentist – silly putty to play with to distract myself and use up nervous energy.
Oh, my gosh–I LOVE the silly putty idea! I’m totally going to use that. I HATE getting my teeth cleaned. my youngest daughter loves it and finds it relaxing; it gives me the willies.
I love going to the dentist lol. It’s my “sit still and be quiet where I don’t have to think about my kids” twice a year lol. I don’t get much time like that, with my kids being 5, 4, 2, and due in March
Putting away laundry is a big pain, as is vacuuming. With littles it really is never-ending!
I loved having an MRI a few years ago! Just lying absolutely still. Even though it was loud I almost fell asleep!
But I still hate the dentist…
Regarding breakfast – my youngest son has started to get tired of cereal and really anything too sweet for breakfast (which I love!). We always make sure we save a little bit of last night’s dinner for his breakfast. He loves leftover soups and casseroles especially. He’ll do eggs and oatmeal, too, every once in a while, but leftovers are definitely preferred.
Is it bad to say that my solution to the laundry is that my husband generally takes care of it? I will procrastinate forever on laundry, except diapers, so D usually gets five loads of laundry done, folded, and put away in the time it takes me to do one! In my defense, my sewing machine table lives in my closet, so I can’t do it when the boys are in my room in order to keep them away from all.of the sharp, pointy things.
Also, making lunch is way worse than breakfast. I always forget to even plan for it. Especially since my toddler basically refuses to eat anything that isn’t pretzels or shredded cheese anyway.
Not terrible at all! 🙂 Love that you guys found a solution that works for your family!
My husband and I do dishes together; he washes, while I dry and put away clean dishes and leftovers. We also change the linens on the bed each Saturday morning together. It makes both of these tasks much easier and gives us extra moments to be together and talk about our day.
I love this list! It’s nice to know we aren’t in it alone, isn’t it?
I will be the first to agree with the prayer struggles. I can make a mean breakfast or wash a dish until the other dishes run in fear, but prayer has often seemed difficult. I think it’s funny that it is listed here with a group of chores, because so often, we see it as a chore, rather than a privilege. I think I just feel inadequate to talk to God in the first place (which is true), so it feels awkward. Certainly something to ponder…
To the breakfast haters!! My husband and I don’t like the sugary, franken-food breakfasts either, so here are some ideas I go to:
-Scotch eggs (hard boiled eggs surrounded by ground meat)
-Baked egg casserole
-Leftovers! Chicken and broccoli makes a great breakfast!
-Bangers and mash
If you hate vacuuming, get yourself a cordless Dyson. It works really well. Lightweight, so it’s perfect for stairs. Easy to dump dirt every time you use it. My 5 yr old grandson will even use it to clean up his messes in the kitchen. Good for carpet, tile and wood.
I promise. It is a game changer!!
(This is not a paid advertisement–I just love mine that much.)
I agree! Love my Dyson! Vacuuming made easy!
Some of these are not too pleasant 😫 One of my worst though is cleaning my car inside and even outside.. so time consuming!
I hate laundry. It’s just that by the time I’ve finished folding and putting it all away, there’s always another load right behind it! Like the saying goes “laundry’s never done unless you’re doing it naked.” 😀 So true.
I never realized there was so much dislike for breakfast food. I could eat eggs, toast, pancakes, oatmeal, or any combination thereof any meal of the day.
I tend to let chores stack up, then get frustrated and angry and do them all at once, which is never fun. My solution that mostly works is having one main chore a day each day of the week. Wednesday I clean the bathroom, Thursday is vacuuming, Friday is laundry. Since we don’t have kids, it works to just run the dishwasher Wednesday and Saturday, though the whole load-it-as-you-go thing never works out like I plan…
The basic framework schedule works for me because it also helps me remember if I miss something, and I can switch days if I need to.
How funny! Most of the things on the list I really enjoy–vacuuming I find especially fun. My hated tasks are dusting, sorting the laundry, like doing all the darks vs whites and turning everything inside out and whatnot, cleaning out the freezer, and cleaning the blinds (this is thankfully not a frequent task but it sure is a hated one). I would hate making breakfast though, if I really did it. Oatmeal is the most I ever do. We’re a cereal family!
Well, I think you can probably put “ditto” for some of us men. Also, you are not alone. I see enough washed clothes sitting in a pile to know that “my wife hates that one too” LOL.
Thank God someone put prayer and devotionals on this list. I struggle daily and had to make the resolution to do it. Even the casual conversational praying. And I always felt like I was the only one who struggled. 🙏
I do not like emptying the dishwasher or washing dishes. When we were dating, my now husband would always check my dishwasher when he came over and empty it if necessary. Now, he does all the dishes (we have a dishwasher, but he doesn’t want to use it). I will usually stand in the kitchen with him and dry when necessary to make room for dishes, and I will do some if I know I’m using a ton of dishes while I cook or bake, but I am so thankful that he is willing to do them and we both love having a clean kitchen when we go to sleep!
– We have a toilet brush right next to the toilet, and if the bowl starts looking dirty, it gets scrubbed quickly.
– I frequently clean out the bathroom sink(s) when I wash my hands (just rub some of the soap around the basin and then clean my hands).
– I clean the shower while I’m in it, usually just with water. Sometimes I’ll spray something when I go in the bathroom and then get in the shower and scrub it down, but then I get to clean myself right away too, so I don’t mind that job at all.
-Vacuuming I love, because much like when mowing the lawn, you can see exactly what you’ve done and the difference it makes to the entire house.
– My husband hates dusting, so if he offers to help or I ask him to help when I clean, I have him do something he enjoys more (like vacuuming).
I love turning music on while I clean! And exercise (especially running or bicycling) is my release. When I couldn’t do anything on my feet for 3 months (broken ankle), I about fell apart inside! Now that it’s winter and I can’t get outside, I’m missing the sunshine but embracing the treadmill and elliptical.
I do the same thing with my bathroom sink and shower! It’s so much easier. That way if anything is gross, I take care of it right away.
I’m felling inspired! Thanks!!
On #10- Praying- I agree that it can feel like a chore. Like you, i conversation-pray all day! But I’ve never been as consistent as I would like to be with the sit-down-&-intercede-for-others-pray.
Recently, I revisited a book by Jon Courson “Praying Through The Tabernacle” – this book takes you through the Old Tesament tabernacle as a model for focused prayer. Brilliant and oh so helpful! (I think this book is available at joncourson.com)
Also, “Praying the Names of God” & “Praying the Names of Jesus” by Ann Spangler (available at any Christian bookstore) There’s nothing as inspiring as knowing the nature of the One with whom you are speaking. 🙂
I have the sweetest dentist – but I still HATE going. He offers me laughing gas when I have any work done, and my little one sits quietly playing with Lego. The last time, as I drifted away, I realized I made a critical error. I forgot about the only thing that could go wrong…and it did. My son suddenly had to poop (and needed me to wipe his bum), but I was already on my Christian-high. Working on a story called Parenting Like a Rock Star While Stoned at the Dentist. The first copy will go to the lady in purple scrubs who took care of my little one.
I know no other way to cope with horrible tasks or embarassing moments – writing therapy.
As a general rule, I don’t like the process of anything – but I love the outcome.
My husband loves cooking and stays at home, so he cooks dinner (and grocery shops!) My daughter does the dishes. She has chores she does on Saturday. I’m responsible for my husband’s and my laundry – and even as I type this – I’m behind.
I read an article earlier this week about considering work our ministry. I wonder for the women who hate working outside the home might do better to really pray and have God show them how they are living out His purpose? I was a stay-at-home mom for my son’s first 10 years of his life. I even homeschooled! Finances were tight and right around the time my son and I started butting heads, my husband and I decided it was a good time for me to go back to work. It was also right around the time that I went back to school. The result: my son and daughter became more independent, finances were a little better, and everyone was happier overall. Now, during long breaks (I’m a SPED teacher), I find that I enjoy being a mom and not Mrs. F. But, I also find that toward the end of those long breaks, we all start craving our routines.
It’s silly, but one of the things I most hate having to do is clean my teeth! I know it has to be done, so I do it (and also because I don’t like the dentist), but it bugs me having to spend even a little time on something so unpleasant.
Apart from that, filing for work. Now I work from home there’s no one to tell me to get it done, so I tend to put it off. And making phone calls, because people are scary.
Re: breakfast. So hard- especially since nobody gets enough sleep! Have you tried Greek yogurt? Maybe do a fruit and yogurt parfait with some melons/berries (lower sugar), vanilla Greek yogurt and a little granola?
That is such a good idea! My family loves a bowl of berries with whipped cream on the top for breakfast. I know that’s not much protein but if you add a handful of nuts or, as the other poster said, Greek yogurt, you could get enough protein 🙂
I hate getting up with an alarm. I never sleep through the night (never have that I can remember). The way it feels when the alarm goes off and I have to get up is something I’ve never gotten used to. I wake up quickly once I’m up, most of the time. Forty-five minutes and I’m out the door. I just feel differently when I know I can sleep in and get up when I’m ready.
Great article. The thing I hate the most would be ironing! Especially long sleeve shirts which can be a real pain. I just can’t be motivated to do it.. Tho I love cooking breakfast
Throw the shirts that need ironing back in the dryer for a few minutes on high heat. Then take them out and shake them hard. The other thing we have for those few stubborn wrinkles is a small steamer. It heats up in 30 seconds and gets the wrinkles out in a couple minutes and you don’t hurt your back or arms. I haven’t ironed for several years and I’m so happy!
I am a guy and although I don’t mind too much doing some of the things you mention the thing that really annoys me is DUSTING which TBH I hardly ever do even though I do vacuum most days