The Pollyanna Homemaking Technique (How to Stop Hating Housework)

In this post, I share a homemaking technique that can help you enjoy your least favourite homemaking tasks.

Once Upon a Time, I Didn’t Like Homemaking

When I was a new homemaker, there were lots of chores that I didn’t like. For instance, I didn’t like ironing. I didn’t like washing dishes. And I didn’t like taking out the rubbish.

But no matter how much I disliked these chores, I still had to do them. Eventually, it dawned on me that I may as well learn to love the chores that I dreaded. And that is how Pollyanna homemaking was born.

What is Pollyanna Homemaking?

Pollyanna homemaking is a technique that trains you to enjoy your housework. This technique is named after Pollyanna, the heartwarming story of a girl who looks for the good in everything. When we practise Pollyanna homemaking, we take inspiration from Pollyanna, and we learn to look at the tasks we dislike through a lens of gladness.

How to Practise Pollyanna Homemaking

  1. Write a list of all the homemaking tasks that you dislike.
  2. Whenever you are doing any of the tasks on your list, challenge yourself to find one thing about the task that makes you feel glad.
  3. Repeat step 2 until the task is completed.

How Pollyanna Homemaking Works

When we think about a task that we dislike, we instinctively focus on the negative aspects of that task.

For example, imagine a person who detests vacuuming. When this person thinks about vacuuming, she focuses on the negative aspects of vacuuming: loud noises, unwieldy equipment, and aching muscles. This creates a feedback loop that constantly reminds her that she dislikes vacuuming.

The opposite happens for tasks that we like. When we think about a task that we like, we instinctively focus on the positive aspects of that task.

For example, imagine a person who adores vacuuming. When this person thinks about vacuuming, she focuses on the positive aspects of vacuuming: comforting sounds, clean smells, and satisfying vacuum lines. This creates a feedback loop that constantly reminds her that she likes vacuuming.

Why is it that vacuuming can create polar opposite reactions in different people? Vacuuming is neither inherently good nor bad. It is merely a task. However, we have the power to transform any task into a pleasure or a burden. The difference lies in where we place our focus.

Pollyanna homemaking helps us to redirect our focus. It enables us to shatter negative feedback loops and replace them with positive ones. Pollyanna homemaking shows us an alternate path, where the journey is illuminated with sunshine, and where we can work with lighter burdens and happier hearts.

Tips for Success with Pollyanna Homemaking

  • Be honest. Don’t invent fake reasons for liking a task. Keep searching until you think of something about the task that you genuinely appreciate.
  • Be patient. It can take time for your brain to get used to Pollyanna homemaking. Persevere, and it will get easier.
  • Be generous. Don’t be stingy. Challenge yourself to find an avalanche of reasons to enjoy the task. An abundance of the positive helps to crowd out the negative.
  • Be bold. Try Pollyanna homemaking on your most dreaded tasks. Pollyanna homemaking is most satisfying when applied to difficult tasks.

An Example of Pollyanna Homemaking

I used to hate doing the dishes. In my home, we wash our dishes by hand, and it is a laborious chore. Thus, washing the dishes was a perfect candidate for my early experiments with Pollyanna homemaking.

My first attempts at finding reasons to love washing dishes were feeble. However, they were far from futile. To my surprise, new ideas began to greet me every time I stood at the kitchen sink, and I soon began to look forward to washing dishes.

Pollyanna homemaking helped me to change my mind about washing dishes, and that change has been permanent. Yes, I still think that washing dishes is tiring and time-consuming. But that is no longer my predominating thought about washing dishes.

Pollyanna Homemaking and Washing Dishes

Here are some of my favourite things about washing dishes:

  • If I have dishes to wash, that means that I have food to serve my family.
  • Washing dishes is a form of expressing love and care for my tableware and kitchen equipment.
  • Washing dishes is an active chore that gets my body moving.
  • I get to use my purple cleaning gloves and my pink sponges.
  • There is no need to rush, and I can take a break anytime I want.
  • Washing dishes with my husband gives us a chance to convene and chat.
  • Washing dishes results in an empty sink, which makes me feel at peace.

Pollyanna Homemaking Expands Your Mind

When it comes to homemaking, we all have our own likes and dislikes, and that is normal. But if we want to, we can soften our dislikes so that homemaking becomes easier.

Pollyanna homemaking helps us to expand our minds and open our hearts. It teaches us that it is possible for a task to encompass negative aspects and positive aspects. It creates room in our hearts for us to simultaneously dislike and like certain aspects of a task.

All homemaking tasks have redeeming features, though sometimes they are hidden. Pollyanna homemaking gives us the lens that allows us to look beyond the challenging parts of our chores so that we can see the good in them.

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