My nemesis is my need to ‘catch up’
” I’ll be happier when I’m caught up on ________________________(organizing the toys, the kitchen, sorting photos on my laptop, our math work, renovating). It’s a trap I catch myself in frequently.
I realized a while back, after five + years of parenting, that I was chronically uncaught up on the laundry. It felt as though it had been a lifetime since I had seen the bottom of the basket. “Just one more load”, I’d say to myself, only to forget about that last load in the wash, which always calls for a soak and rewash the following day. Sigh. “Just two more loads until I can feel a complete and total sense of control over my world”.
I’ve even tried this thing where I did a load every day, regardless of sorting, so that I was always ‘caught up’. Until it hit me……EVERYONE WAS STILL WEARING THE CLOTHES!
So….I, after many failed attempts ( small fabric-induced panic attacks), gave up trying to play laundry- catch- up, and since I just couldn’t picture the six of us willingly living our lives in the nude (considered it, likely wouldn’t convince the entire family), I chose to accept that there will always be dirty laundry.
Years have passed since that mindset change. I now wash the kid’s laundry and my own once a week because that’s how long it takes for us to acquire a load per person (Papa Bear tackles his laundry and Big Brother has been doing his own since he felt that it was easier to put clean, folded clothing in the hamper rather than in drawers). I also gave up sorting. Yep.
After a child’s laundry migrates from the dryer, it stays in their corresponding basket, and I fold one load a night. That’s it. No rocket science. No pressure. No empty baskets. I should also say, that although I’m nervous to admit this publicly, this brilliant idea was, in fact, my husband’s. I should have listened years ago honey….take it while you can.
I find this laundry lesson has spilled into other parts of my life. I grocery shop when the food is gone, rather than every few days to keep things stocked. I clean the floors when they are dirty, rather than preventatively. I clean the kitchen while making dinner, even though we’ve messed it up all day long. And finally, my most brilliant plan is that we all clean our home together on Sunday nights, for just an hour, before the week begins. I used to spend everyday trying to ‘keep up’ only to find myself drowning in an endless list.
Perfection isn’t possible.
Just a woman wearing clothes, enjoying the journey,
Our ceiling will never be free of cobwebs
The idea of being caught up on the laundry is actually impossible, unless we become nudists.
The floors are maintained at a level of ‘clean enough’, which to me means, go ahead and eat that strawberry you dropped…
There will always be smudges on the cupboards, even though I wipe them
There will always be bathrooms that could be cleaner because we use them
There will always be toys on the floor because we play here
I might not always make the best choices or say the right things
I might not always be the ideal role model
And while these things are important in running a home and raising children, focusing on them too intently, takes my eye away from the prize.
Sometimes it’s important to remind myself what that is….