Tuesday, April 20, 2010
We are never going to get caught up.
If any of you know me, you know that I hate doing laundry.
More than anything.
One day I seem to get caught up, meaning the hamper is empty and the clothes are all put away. And I have a small moment of satisfaction. And then, overnight, it all seems to appear again! Like magic. Or a dirty trick.
I then realize, I am never, ever going to get caught up.
And this used to bother me. I wanted to get caught up. I hate the mundane chores of every day life sometimes. They get in the way of wasting time on Facebook, writing on my blog, playing around with the dogs, watching movies, going shopping with my daughter, or just hanging out and reading a good book. You know, the fun stuff that we feel we waste time on.
Funny thing about that "wasteful" time. It is really not wasteful at all. It is our life. The part of life we enjoy. Our down time. Our "me time". Our quality time.
But the other stuff needs to get done, too. And it adds a lot of stress to our lives just trying to do it all. We spend an incredible amount of time thinking about it, arguing about it (like in, who is going to do it), making lists about it, complaining about it.
And for what?
We just either have to do it or not let it bother us so much.
So, I was thinking, why do we let it bother us so much?
I blame it on TV commercials and on TV shows.
Yes, I really do.
I can remember watching TV when I was young. All the commercials showing what a "mommy" really does. That is, doing laundry and perfectly folding each item, scrubbing our floors to a gleam, having a perfect meal set out for our ever so hungry and grateful family, having a perfectly decorated living room where pop-in guests are served fresh perked coffee and a bundt cake just out of the oven. Moms who are impeccably dressed, even while dusting, and a handsome, smiling husband who wanders in after a day at work with a smile and a kiss on the cheek.
Oh, and don't forget the well dressed kids who are polite and appreciative of EVERYTHING.
But drilled into our heads never the less.
And we wonder why we all need Prozac.
No one can live up to what is portrayed in the media. No wonder reality shows are a big hit. We can actually feel good about ourselves after watching those train wrecks.
And how about those commercials showing a bunch of kids playing happily with the new toy they just received. We all know that many young kids are happier with the box it arrived in and are bored with the new toy about 5 minutes after they play with it for the first time.
No wonder we have so much clutter. We just keep buying more.
But clutter is another topic for another day. We are never going to get caught up with that, either.
So, back to this notion that there is some ideal to strive for. That there is such a place as "caught up". My guess is that it does not exist. That we are reaching for something that will simply never be.
So, we should give ourselves a break. Be more about just being "good enough". Not thinking we are a bad mom if there are no clean socks in the house. Not worrying about the dishes in the sink. Not thinking that we have to have a neatly manicured lawn all the time (husbands will rejoice) or organized closets. Start thinking that sweats can make us look glamorous. (Okay, that one is a stretch).
But you know what I mean.
So, I am going to start thinking differently. I am not going to put laundry on my to do list anymore, or cleaning or anything that can never, ever be caught up. Going forward, I will only write down important appointments that cannot be missed, bill deadlines, school project completion dates, birthday reminders (because people are important) and what I need to buy at the grocery store (because I fail to write it down and end up making two trips).
Then I am going to fill the rest of my to do list with the stuff that really matters. Spending time at home with my family, just hanging out puttering around, petting the dogs, planting my garden, reading a book, walking more, writing more, sitting in the sun more. And I am going to try to embrace the laundry as a function of every day life, like brushing my teeth, or breathing.
I know, equating laundry to breathing? She has finally gone mad.
Yes, breathing. It is not like like you can take a bunch of breaths and be done with it, you have to keep breathing to stay alive and we need clean laundry to keep our family functioning properly, right?
Of course, if you quit breathing that would be a bad thing. Quitting laundry therefore is not so essential. You are right.
So, if there are no clean socks, so what. It is almost sandal weather anyway.