453 Words on Housework and Weeds

Some of my favorite mentors are gardeners. Gardeners know what it means to have vision, to be patient, and to labor over something for a long time. They also know how to roll with the punches, improvise, and leave some things up to nature. 

I listened with great care recently as a gardener told me about her weeding strategy. “Every morning I just go out there and weed, weed, weed for a few minutes,” she said. 

“Sometimes I bring my coffee with me. The dog loves to come along, too. I say hello to the neighbors. A little weeding here, a little weeding there. I love to watch the world go by while I do it.” 

She smiled as she said this. It sounded… relaxing

At first I didn’t quite get it. “So you mean the weeds grow so fast they sprout up overnight?” 

“No, no,” she clarified, “It’s just that the garden is so large that by the time I’ve gotten all the way around, it’s time to start over again. I just do a little bit every day. 

She had made her peace with the weeds. She doesn’t even try to get rid of all of the weeds at the same time. Paradigm-shifting. 

I’ve been using this strategy with regard to housework for a few weeks now, and it’s been revolutionary.

I made my peace with housework. Weed, weed, weed. Dishes. Clutter. Counters. Crumbs. They’re all weeds, and they’re always there. Weed, weed, weed. A little weeding here, a little weeding there. Sometimes I even bring my coffee with me. 

 By the time you get all the way around, you have to start over at the beginning. I watch the world go by while I do it. I work my way around the things and then start over again. Around and around the garden I go. 

I was in the “island of mismatched socks” section of the garden when JC’s mom came by to drop off some homemade peanut butter fudge for J and me. (Unrelated note: get yourself some friends whose moms pack homemade treats in their luggage and bring it directly from the airport. Highly recommend.) 

Next thing you know, JC and her mom were both matching socks. “Oooh, I see a pink unicorn over there. Hand it to me. I think it’s the same as the one over here.” 

“Oh jeez. Thank you!” I said. “I certainly didn’t mean for you to deal with all of this sock clutter.” 

“Nonsense,” JC’s mom said. “One day your children will be all grown up and your house will be very organized, and it will be a little sad. These are the days.” 

These are the days, indeed. Weed, weed, weed. 

#WritersWrite and I write almost every day. I sometimes share my thoughts publicly in this series called “500 Words or Less” This practice allows me to explore a variety of different topics in a restrained/contained way and learn what resonates with people. I wrote it, not AI. If you share, please give proper credit. © Traci Smith, 2023. All Rights Reserved.

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