My favourite primary school memories are of playing in a wooded area on our elementary school playground. It was a special grove that only children in grades one through three were allowed to play in.
My favorite game was playing house’. We gathered household goods like small logs, bits of bark, twigs, leaves, fern, and salal branches and then used them to set up our ‘home’. I always started with the kitchen and enjoyed offering up ‘meals’ to the other children. It was a simple, yet joyful way to pass the time during our lunch break.
If only managing a real home was as easy and pleasurable as playing house. There was a time when our house contained, in addition to myself and my very busy husband, three active young children, several teenage international students, and more than one pet. It was chaos. Occasionally I would get into a funk about the mess, futilely attempting to keep things clean and organized without getting utterly overwhelmed.
Advice from a wise woman named Hazel Vocrot helped me navigate this challenge. Luckily for me, Hazel was able to access the wisdom that comes with being in your nineties. She and I often chatted when I was young and her advice carried me through many daunting times while I was raising my kids.
One particularly good piece of wisdom she imparted to me was to remember how it felt to ‘play house’ as a child. She advised me to bring some of the joy and wonder I felt when I was a child at play to my adult housekeeping tasks. In short, she said to think of housework as play. It may sound crazy, but this small change in mindset had an outsized positive impact on me.
I also find that maintaining a home is more joyful when you surround yourself with everyday objects that you find to be beautiful and take the time to appreciate them. For instance, when I’m washing dishes I like to admire the beauty of my plates and mugs and appreciate the seamless functionality of my favourite saucepan.
Daily tasks will always be there, so why not make your life happier by surrounding yourself with utility items you find pleasing. After all, these are items you interact with every day, so why not take pleasure in them.
Choosing tea towels, napkins, dish scrubbers, cleaning brushes, and trivets that you think are beautiful is a simple way to bring more joy to your life. So why not toss your ugly dishcloths onto the rag pile and replace them with ones you love. After all, beauty and happiness are inextricably linked and we can all do with a bit more happiness.
With love & playful joy
Suzanne Zacharias, Co-Founder & Head Tea Drinker, Cedar Mountain Studios