Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Housework Is Not Exercise

on December 15, 2017

Cleaning set photo

“I’m going to clean this dump—just as soon as the kids are grown.”

                ~Erma Bombeck

Erma Bombeck is probably the reason I love being a Mom but hate cleaning. She always wrote about hating housework. I read her in the local paper when I was young and to this day think of her column about changing the toilet paper roll every time I do it. She’s the one who asked many years ago why she was the one person solely responsible for refilling the toilet paper when the house was full of other capable people who could accomplish the chore just fine. But any time she sat down, well, being the only one “in charge” of the changing, sometimes she was caught without. Why didn’t the person who used the last sheet recognize the condition and refill the roll instead of leaving it to her? Bombeck never discovered the answer to my knowledge and neither have I, but I keep extra rolls really close by because it happens all the time. Why me?

Cooking and baking are very spiritual, satisfying activities for me, but I really would rather not have to clean house. I love a clean house, and I’m good at cleaning, but it drains me to the point I have nothing left with which to exercise. And I love exercise. However, I’ve never quite bought into the concept of housework as exercise. The idea is flawed in many ways.

1.Exercise is enjoyable. Cleaning house is not. Who wants to clean hair off the floor behind the toilet for heaven’s sake? The bending required isn’t healthy and neither are the fumes. No physical benefit and no improvement in breathing technique. But I know the gunk is there and eventually I have to swab it out at the expense of my exercise for the day. Ugh.

2.Exercise has recognizable rewards like tone muscles and improved attitude. House cleaning has little if any rewards. I no sooner am dumping the mop water down the drain as a person or a dog is coming in the room with dirty feet or paws. “I just mopped!” is greeted with, “Looks nice, dear.” Grrrrr.

3.Exercise has many success stories. There is no one to my knowledge (if they existed there would be a reality TV show about them) who has lost weight, toned up, and kept off the pounds from cleaning house.

“I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes—and six months later you have to start all over again.”

                ~Joan Rivers

 Household chores must be accomplished, however, and many writers have designed a routine to think about writing projects while folding laundry and mentally working out plot problems while running the vacuum cleaner. But these jobs don’t count as exercise, so it’s off to the gym! Have you achieved fitness by cleaning the house? Prove it!

“Women with clean houses do not have finished books.”

                ~Joy Held

 

“Be well, write well.”

~Joy


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