Am I a Bad Wife because I "trick" motivation?

Ok, I have totally been blown away now… I guess I am a terrible wife after all..

Mid summer I was chatting with a friend (who lacks motivation like I do) and she was sharing with me how her hubby was getting upset that she had been home all day (she’s a teacher, off for the summer) and she hadn’t been able to keep up with the basic housekeeping. **I know her pain! 🙂 ** She readily admitted that she had been spending her days goofing off and that she needed something to get her up and motivated. So I shared with her something that I do to get motivated. I’ve mentioned it several times in this blog, my 15 minute egg timer trick. I even went so far as to start a group on cafemom just for my friends who wanted to do the challenge with us.

Here’s how it works, set a timer for 15 minutes, spend that time in ONE room. When time is up STOP, take a break, get a drink, eat a cookie, whatever! Then go to another room and reset the timer. It’s amazing what you can get done in 15 minutes when the timer is ticking. AND, you’d be surprised at how the feeling of being overwhelmed starts to fade when you know you only have to do it for 15 minutes. Do it regularly and you won’t even need 15 minutes in a room anymore (except for big cleaning days).

Our game was to race. We would pick a time, and when the 15 minutes was up we’d get online and post what we accomplished. Nothing like a little competition!

OK, so we did this for three days. She was trying to get her house ready to show and she was having company so she had a LOT to get done and she was doing it! She got so motivated she didn’t stop when the race was over. She was feeling so good about herself! My kids got involved and they started helping. My friend Susan participated and got so much done that she ran out of stuff to do!

Then it all stopped…. Susan had an excuse (they were moving and were without internet for a week), but my other friend just stopped getting online. I just figured she was busy with showing the house. She had mentioned that her DH had started saying things about what we were doing but didn’t give me any details.

Move forward until about a week ago….

Her DH calls to get some info from me for church and I inquired (politely 😀 ) about his wife. Somehow the topic of our 15 minute races came up and he apparently was furious with her about it. Actually, he was offended. He couldn’t believe that his wife couldn’t clean the house just because she was supposed to or because he wanted her to. He couldn’t believe that THAT was enough motivation to work, that she needed to “trick” herself and compete with us to get anything done.

HUH? He said he cooks dinner and does dishes afterwards b/c he loves her and he knows she doesn’t like to do it (claims he doesn’t really enjoy it, he does it for her)…. so why can’t she do this for him…. hmmmm….

I was dumbfounded…

I asked my hubby his opinion and he said (pardon the nice southern boy manners here ) “I don’t care how or why the h#ck you do it honey… bribe yourself with bonbons for all I care!”

So am I a bad wife because I WANT to have a clean house but have an easily distracted personality that would rather play dress up with my girls than scrub a baseboard therefor I need to “trick” myself into getting stuff done? Or can I get a little credit for not just laying around watching Dr. Phil…. but actually interacting with my kids, fostering their creativity, and teaching them to clean and pick up in a playful energizing way?

Opinions please?

4 thoughts on “Am I a Bad Wife because I "trick" motivation?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think that’s a great idea. I am going to try it. I’m a single mom but my new beau thinks we are pigs because I don’t spend my waking moments cleaning. I used to use the timer to get my son to get ready in the mornings. Now I will use it to get the kids to clean their rooms and for me to do the same.

  2. Momma TaderDoodles says:

    It works great, if you can keep track of the timer! I lost mine for over a month and things just fell apart! My girls really like to race against the ticking sound, and if you mix it with some upbeat music work really does get done!

  3. Dana says:

    Uh, no. It isn’t exactly a trick or manipulation, anyway. It is a time management tool to keep an unpleasant task from getting overwhelming. I have kids and I break down tasks into manageable chunks for them all the time. And a timer? Watch them fly!

    But it isn’t the clock that makes the motivation. It was her love for her husband and her recognition that she needed to do more…else she wouldn’t have had the initial conversation with you.

    My guess is that if she did this for a month, the timer would become superfluous. The problem is usually with getting started and focusing on the hours of work before you. When you’ve learned to move your focus to one thing at a time and can mentally check things off your list one at a time, it isn’t as overwhelming.

    OH, and “doing the dishes after dinner” isn’t in quite the same category as “the whole house.” One is a simple favor, the other can be daunting.

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