How do you squeeze the toothpaste?

Squeezing a tube of toothpaste is an art form, a skill honed from years of doing things for yourself. For maximum efficacy, always squeeze it from the bottom – this dispenses the toothpaste evenly and avoids possible screaming at said toothpaste towards the end of its poor lifespan. Other life’s lessons worthy of mention include learning that coloured clothes and white ones don’t mix in the wash, changing a light bulb takes a grand total of one person, and whenever in doubt, use WD-40.

In all honesty, household chores don’t really rock most people’s world. It is usually the result of a draconian decree by an authoritative figure to do the dishes, mop the floor, fold the laundry and yuck, ironing. Between idling on the phone and scrubbing the toilet, the pick will always be the mind-numbing idling. And these days, let’s just leave it to kakak.

But why let kakak have all the fun? Aversion to domestic responsibilities is absolutely misguided and it’s time to discover the joys of vacuuming.

As a form of exercise

A gym membership isn’t just about the money. One needs the discipline and drive to go to the gym and get on that treadmill, usually after work or on the weekend. It sounds almost as un-fun as doing chores at home. But here’s the deal, with household chores, at least you are already on location. The longest commute is probably from the couch to the broom cupboard, and you are all set! No need for preening and looking good in workout gear even.

According to fitness website, many household chores burn as many calories as workouts do. The calories burnt while on domestic duty do add up to a significant amount. Car washing works the arms and abs, and every 30 minutes of it burns 143 calories. Garden chores like weeding, raking and digging work up a sweat and this is what 30 minutes of each does for you: Weeding tones the thighs and buttocks and burns 115 calories, the same result as 15 minutes of weight training; raking leaves burns 225 calories and is akin to weight training which tones the body’s muscle groups; digging up the yard burns 315 calories – the same amount with 45 minutes of biking on flat terrains – and it strengthens the cardiovascular system while toning the calves, thighs, arms and shoulders.

Indoor chores are as effective for getting fit and 30 minutes of these do wonders for your health: Vacuuming burns 90 calories, similar to 15 minutes of kickboxing; scrubbing the bath burns 200 calories and is a great way to tone the arms and shoulders; cleaning windows burns 125 calories, the same as 20 minutes of power yoga; and the reason to start enjoying ironing – it burns 70 calories and tones the upper body.

As a way for family bonding

Doing things together as a family strengthens family ties. When members work on household chores, they not only accomplish the assigned domestic tasks, but it also gives them the opportunity to connect and catch up with each other.

Work and school schedules keep everyone busy on a daily basis, and doing chores at a designated time of the day or week is the same as enforcing a timeout on all the hustle and bustle, translating it to productive family time.

Grandparents not only get help in the kitchen when a grandchild is delegated to lend a hand with the cooking and cleaning, but they get to talk and spend quality time together. Working in the garden allows for plenty of time for parents to connect with their kids in a more fruitful manner than say, a trip to the mall or a restaurant – which we all know is when everyone will be on their phones instead of talking to each other.

Taking on the responsibility of doing household chores not only lightens kakak’s burden – and dare we even imagine handling all the domestic duties ourselves and save on the tens of thousands of ringgit on domestic help altogether – but it is also a lesson in working together as a family. Getting fit and family bonding in one fell swoop of the feather duster… household chores are more rewarding than what we give them credit for.