Cleaning is one of those activities that can utterly bring an otherwise motivated busy individual to a complete standstill. I become completely paralyzed when tasked with the demonic CHORE of cleaning my house and I know I cannot for the life of me defend that. It just is. In fact, cleaning sort of kills my spirit.
Monotonous, tedious, repetitive, overwhelming, pointless…
I know that not liking to clean is not unique to ADHD; I know a few people with ADHD who are ultra-clean. But for many more, it’s an issue. As an ADHD coach, I have decided that this must be because the job is SO insanely BORING.
Mostly because whatever the task, it will have to get done again, and soon. For example, I do not make our bed. Fortunately, my husband doesn’t care because he doesn’t either. We agree, we’re just going to hop back in it sometime before the day is over, so why bother? The laundry has a similar story; however, my family does wear their same clothes weekly, so, if over seven days pass, the only thing that happens is that the loads become bigger. Grocery shopping is also annoying. As I go up and down the aisles of my local market I think, “Was I not JUST here?” Maybe its immaturity, but whatever the case, I am resigned to not being a super-cleaning-mom and so is my family.
Now, I see myself as being in the middle. So, we have the super-squeaky clean, the middle of the road, and lastly, let’s discuss the HOT MESSY. Yes, maybe it sounds insulting, but it’s more fun to say than just mess. I know several hot messy homemakers. They actually border on hoarder. There is no cleaning the dishes every night, no mopping floors, no dusting. None. I know one who pays a maid service to come in about twice a year with bulldozers to clean up after their tsunami. Other than not cleaning though, she’s a devoted mother of four who is non-stop busy. She’s running one of the four somewhere every day after school, and she’s a brilliant chemistry teacher, making a great salary, responsibly working every day during the school year and being the fun mom all summer.
So, ultimately, the latter group is to whom I speak. There is help. There is really fun help, Marla Cilley, who goes by FlyLady. I have to commend her, she is a self-proclaimed reformed clutterholic and believes, “We all know how to clean. It’s the motivation part — to get up and do it — that keeps us on our backsides.” No reason to feel guilty about failing to be the perfect housekeeper, she says. “Housework, even done incorrectly, still blesses the family.” What I like best about her strategy is that she is all about Baby Steps and her language is super fun, she gives you ‘Flying Lessons.’ She also says just give each step 15 minutes and stop. If you sign up with her, you get daily emails on what to do, what to do next, and how to do it with the first being to Shine Your Sink. I encourage everyone to hook up with FlyLady.
Lastly, please know that as someone with ADHD, you can just loose all the guilt and bad feelings associated with the shame that comes from not being of the super-squeaky clean persuasion. The ADHD brain is not wired for monotonous, boring agenda. That doesn’t mean you can’t creatively figure it out though.
Solution: Make cleaning fun. Maybe have a ‘run-around’ for only 10 minutes. Set a timer and FLY…see what you get started, heck, see what you get done.
And like FlyLady, I agree. 15 minutes in this area is enough, especially if you can do 15 minutes a day with some consistency.
Suggestion: Give it a try. Enlist an accountability agent, a coach, a friend, a family member, to check-in and see how these mini-sessions are working for you!
This article was adapted from Conquer Your Clutter — Now! by Rick Hoges from ADDitudeMagazine.com.