Idle Hands are the Devil’s Playthings

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Now, of course I don’t believe that the devil really uses lazy people to do his bidding. Can you imagine the devil, down in the fiery pits of hell, watching a flat screen monitor of all the lazy people, deciding who will do what? “hmm…there’s Jennifer, watching TV. I’ll have her kill her neighbor.” It cracks me up, just the notion…

I do, however, think that there is something to be said for getting shit done. Growing up, my father (and grandfather) had a saying….”Get up! Daylight’s a burnin’!” Seriously, there was no such thing as “sleeping in” in my household, unless you were severely ill. Even if there weren’t any chores to be done, was no school that day, no one in a rush to go anywhere…my family had the theory that you just didn’t need to sleep the day away. There was always something to do. If there wasn’t anything to do, then you should find something to do.

Silly as it may seem, and as frustrating and irritating as it was back then, that mantra stuck with me. “Daylight’s a burnin’.” When I worked, I was up early, pushing through the day; coming home and feeding the pets, making dinner, doing laundry…on weekends I was up at 6 or 7 am, pushing through my to-do lists. Getting shit done.

Even though I’m no longer working outside the home, I get up at 7 with my daughter. I make her breakfast. I throw a load of laundry in the wash. I brush the dog (my dogs always need brushing)…There is a penetrating belief deep in my psyche that if I am not constantly accomplishing something, it must mean I am a worthless human being. I mean, who just sits around all day? Sometimes I feel too guilty to even turn on the television before my daughter and husband gets home. Now that the house and family are my job, I feel that I must devote 100% of my time and attention to their perfection. When I was working, my annual review was a horrific time for me each each. Would I be praised? God forbid my boss see any room for improvement that I hadn’t already spotted and worked on myself…yeah, if you couldn’t already tell, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. So now the house is my workplace. I scrub it. I deodorize it. I decorate it. And I sit and wait for my review…”Oh, you’re house is so cozy and cute.” “Oh, you’re house is so clean.” “Dinner was great!” These are my praises, my accolades.

On top of being a perfectionist, I’m also greedy for acknowledgement. Nice combination, huh?

I have this overwhelming urge to use up every minute of every day doing something practical and necessary. Its only 10:02 as I type this, and I have already done two loads of laundry, made all the beds, vacuumed the entire house, did a load of dishes (well, I loaded the dishwasher, anyway,but I’m counting it – the dishwasher can’t load itself), and brushed the aforementioned dog. Why? What else am I going to do, sit around all day? Oh, speaking of which, there goes the dryer. Time to get back to work. Thanks a lot, dad.

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