I get up in the morning around 5 AM. I try to get to bed between 11 PM and 12 AM. And I am usually up with our baby at some point in the middle of the night. So there are a LOT of hours in my mothering/homemaking day. Wow, writing that just now made me realize just how many! Dang…I deserve a medal! And there are moments of my day that are a breeze. There are moments of my day that are exasperating. There are moments that are indescribable. But there is a section of my day that I would definitely title: “THE HARDEST.” Strung together near the conclusion of my many waking hours are the hardest 15 minutes of my day.
I have a major, major temptation to just avoid these fifteen minutes altogether.
They are that hard.
These minutes come at the end of every day, no matter what that day has thrown at me. They knock on the door of my psyche and say, “It’s time.” And I groan and say, “Really? Do I really have to do it all over again?”
And the answer comes from within my own heart – most days – “Yes, it is worth it.”
Do you have a similar 15 minutes during your day? The few minutes you must do a task that you just don’t think you have the energy to do?
My 15 minutes do not include something earth-shattering. They are not made up of individually difficult things. But, taken as a whole, at the end of my day, they comprise a mountain which I must climb each night before I head to bed. And it is oh so tempting to leave it undone, to go to bed and leave it for tomorrow.
if I do, the 15 minutes will multiply overnight and become 30, sometimes 45.
Which, in my opinion, is just another argument in favor of sucking it up and just doing it.
And there are other reasons to press on and complete my hardest 15 minutes, the things that make it worth it.
Before I tell you why it is worth the doing, let me tell you what is on
my to-do list for these 15 minutes:
» wash the dishes
» load the dishwasher/place hand washed dishes on drying pads on the counter
» set the dishwasher to run (if necessary) overnight
» wipe down the kitchen counters
» sweep the kitchen floor
» tidy up the living room
I can accomplish this most nights in a 15 minute period. And it is the longest and most difficult 15 minutes of my day.
Because I am tired from tidying up after 3 little ones (and a husband and myself) all day.
Because the sound of running water is irritating to me.
Because I have never had a love affair with a dish sponge.
Because I would rather just go lay down.
Because a million things sound better to me than doing these tasks at the end of the day.
And what’s crazy about these 15 minutes is that they demand to be fit in at a specific part of my day. That part after dinner, just before or just after the kids are in bed, before I go to bed myself. Oh, how I wish I could just do these tasks at some point during the day and call it done. But no, their impact is not felt if not done at the end of the day.
So, why do I go through with these 15 minutes (most days)?
Because the world is brighter in the morning when you walk into a clean kitchen. Really, it is! Even a cloudy day greeted over a cup of coffee at a clean kitchen counter is brighter.
Don’t believe me? You should see my face when I come downstairs to a kitchen which didn’t see those hard 15 minutes the night before.
I don’t know why, but dirty dishes and an unwashed counter top can feel like a heavy weight which has the potential to pull down a whole day. And I don’t know how the same tasks which would have taken me only 15 minutes the night before take twice as long just a few short hours later. Seriously, how is that?
Basically, the reason I drag myself into the kitchen to complete my hardest 15 minutes is the end justifies the means. The goal is greater than the pain to get there. And I suppose there is some sort of life lesson there.
At least, I would like to think so. Because days are hard and 15 minutes can be long. But it can be worth it. And the reward for getting through those 15 minutes is completely intangible.
P.S. But wouldn’t it be nice if the reward were Starbucks gift cards? 🙂