Your domestic mindset shapes everything about how you manage your home and family. Having a healthy mindset about these tasks will help you create clarity and peace. But believing any of these mindset myths will cause overwhelm, stress, and even resentment. As a stay at home mom of 5 while my partner built a successful business who transitioned to being a working mom I have to say I’ve struggled with all of them. But understanding that my beliefs about domestic work were at the root of the imbalance and stress at home was key to making the changes I needed. And I wasn’t the only one who benefitted! Making these changes saved my marriage and provided a positive example to my children. Read on to learn more about the most common domestic mindset myths and what you can do about them.
1. Women’s Work
While there is something to the idea that women may be more likely to notice what needs to be done and / or know how to do it that doesn’t mean that domestic work is women’s work. When we notice that something is wrong or unfair it’s important to change it. And this is one of those things. Everyone can learn to do domestic work and pitch in. It might take some effort and some set up to get this going but it’s important to share the load at home. This is particularly important if you have children. In this case there’s a lot more work to be done, a lot greater likelihood of inequity, and this is being modeled to your children.
To uproot this mindset myth be sure to question every task the woman of the house is taking on. Very often new or unexpected tasks are automatically picked up and they pile up quickly. And don’t forget to be attentive to your own thoughts and feelings about what you or other women “should” be doing. Next time you feel tempted to judge the domestic work of yourself or other women remember to include other members of the household. This particular mindset myth would be quickly done away with if instead of thinking “I really need to get better about keeping up with housework” we thought “WE really need to get better about keeping up with housework”. How often do you judge yourself or other women for “falling short” on domestic or parenting tasks but completely let men off the hook? Let’s stop doing this!
2. Earning My Keep
The idea that you have to take on all or most of the housework and parenting to prove your value or earn your keep is a very common domestic mindset myth. This often presents in the stay at home parent or the person who earns less income. In addition, this can be a persistent challenge for those who struggle with general not enoughness and other self-esteem issues.
Being a stay at home parent doesn’t mean doing all of the domestic work and earning less doesn’t mean doing more. You can’t earn your keep or prove your worth by taking on more than you can carry and everyone, including you, has the same number of hours in a day. One of the things many people find helpful is to associate a dollar amount to the value of domestic labor. And, in 2023 that amount is $184,820 assuming approximately 49 hours of work a week. Yes, you read that right, if being a stay at home mom was a pretty standard (not 24/7) job that’s how much it would pay based on the various tasks performed. For those of you who’ve tried to hire out some of your domestic labor, well, you probably already know this.
So, while you may be earning less or not earning at all, you are saving your family a bundle. No need to earn your keep by working around the clock or doing it all, it’s not all on you!
3. I’m Lazy
What will people think if your house is a mess? What will you think? The belief that if you or others fall below an undefinable standard of housekeeping it’s a sign of laziness or neglect is a domestic mindset worth worth ditching. What your house looks like says very little about who you are as a person. We so often assign character or personal value to housework but that simply isn’t true.
It’s time to release judgement regarding the condition of your home (and the homes of others). A home being very tidy or very messy says nothing about the character of the person / people who live there. Domestic tasks are morally neutral. They say little to nothing about values or ambition. If you’re looking for ways to embrace a new way of thinking and get some creative ideas to help you improve housekeeping where it matters to you be sure to check out How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis. This is an excellent resource.
4. Only a Mother…
I don’t know who needs to hear this but dads are responsible for the kids too! If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard comments like “why didn’t their mother teach them to…” or “how did their mother allow them to turn out that way”, I’d be a very wealthy woman. I’m here to tell you that this needs to stop and it’s highly problematic.
Yes, it is very common that mom is the default parent but that doesn’t mean all or even most of the parenting responsibility should fall to her. It’s essential that the non default parent shows up and helps carry the very heavy burdens of parenting. And one of the simplest ways to start addressing this domestic mindset myth is to stop putting all the blame (and credit) on the mom. If the child isn’t getting a bath that needs to be addressed with both parents. If the child is struggling in school both need to know. And seriously, let’s all stop posting about the preteens we heard swearing in Starbucks and wondering “why their mother’s didn’t raise them better.” (I mean, I could do a whole blog post on this alone).
5. I Can so I Should
It’s not just I can so I should but for so many of us the rest of this domestic mindset myth is “do it perfectly / or to my best ability”. So… “I can so I should do it the best I can”. If you find yourself feeling guilty about not cleaning more thoroughly, organizing more perfectly, or hiring someone to help out, there’s a good change you’re struggling with this myth.
So, I’m here to tell you let go of what doesn’t matter to you, lower your standards, done is better than perfect, and if you can… get help or hire someone. It’s not all on you and honestly this is a place where you can ditch the idea that “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. We expect so much from ourselves in part because we have little to no awareness of all the things we’re doing. Start keeping an accomplishment journal and track all the things you’re doing throughout the day. You’ll be surprised by how much there is and that will help you give yourself grace.
If you’re struggling to identify what you could let go of, get help with, or reduce your standards for be sure to check out my Take Control of Your Home Course in Inner Circle. You’ll learn all about the EPD method I created to ditch this (and other) domestic mindset myths and find clarity and peace.
6. Raising the Bar
Why exactly does the list keep getting longer and harder? Well, I’m pretty sure it has something to do with social media and productivity pressure. It feels like just when you get on top of some of the domestic work there’s a new thing you’re “supposed” to be doing. Super fancy toddler birthday parties, 10 different kinds of ice, dusting fan blades, decorating for every season and holiday, and perfect pantries are all things I’ve seen some of my friends and clients add to their lists. And even when we aren’t adding new things we’ll often find we’re dealing with more pressure to do everything more perfectly.
It just might be time to unfollow some people on social media and pry yourself away from the organization and home improvement shows you’ve been binging. The bar is high enough, actually, it’s been way to high for a long time! Maybe you like having fancy ice and if that matters to you, by all means go for it. But be mindful that something else needs to get taken off your task list to make room for that. Again, if you want help learning how to lower that bar to the place you’re most comfortable with without the second guessing or stress check out Take Control of Your Home.
7. Adulting Failure
it seems like everyone I’ve ever met believes this domestic mindset myth. And it sounds something like this “everyone else can do this why can’t I?” Or “I’m a complete failure, I have no idea how to keep up with everything”. And here’s the thing, if everyone believes it that means no on feels like they’re doing it right! So, you aren’t a failure after all. It is a lot, it is too much, you can’t do it all, and it will never be done.
One of the best ways around this mindset is to start keeping a tada list. At the end of every day (or throughout it) jot down all the little things you do being especially mindful of the small stuff. Rather than focusing on what didn’t get done or finished, give yourself credit for what did.
What domestic mindset myth do you most struggle with and how has it impacted your life?