Do It First (Before the Housework)

You are allowed to write your book when the sink is full of dishes.

You are allowed to dedicate time to your own budding business and fold that laundry later.

You are allowed to do important research before you process your email inbox.

You are allowed to go for a run or take a bath, and leave the toys scattered on the floor, without an ounce of guilt.


Housework, or whatever busywork tends to grab your time + attention hardest, is not a prerequisite for access to the rest of your life. No one passed a law that you have to be “caught up” before you are allowed to do other (generally more meaningful) work… or to relax, play and enjoy yourself.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I like my own house to be (reasonably) clean. Super-cluttered or dirty spaces stress me out, make the kiddos less self-sufficient and make other tasks take longer. I don’t love cleaning + organizing, and sometimes I outright begrudge the time + energy it takes to do my share. Yet I am so very much happier when the family space we share is well-tended. I totally get that you need to find a way to make chores happen, too.

Housework needs to get done, but not always first and not always to some arbitrary high standard. The problem arises when these activities fill up whatever space is available, leaving you only crumbs of time for other things. The problem arises when you feel like housework is holding you hostage: like it always must be done first, before you give yourself permission to do other stuff that actually matters a hell of a lot more.

And I’m not talking about quality time with your kids. You already know that matters, and I know you already prioritize that over housework, often. But do you also prioritize the other things that matter to you most, outside of your role as a parent?

This isn’t only about housework, either. Any other kind of never-ending busywork can pull your focus into an eternal fight to stay caught up to an arbitrary standard– to the detriment of other things you value.

If you allow a sense of beholdenness to busywork to dictate your access to your deeper work + play, your house (or whatever) might be cleaner but your heart + mind might become emptier. And the world will miss you. The work or play that makes your heart sing? The world needs it.

What is it, outside of family time, that matters most to you? I dare you to do it first next time. Before you work on more routine + basic chores. Maybe right now.

Free yourself. Make stuff happen. Create. Play. Launch. Screw the laundry. The dishes can wait. Because, yeah, they’ll still be there. And someone, maybe you, will still need to do them… eventually. In the meantime, what project or pursuit is truly calling out to your heart?

I dare you to do it first.

What will you do first?

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