And a moment washed over me. I knew getting that load of laundry switched over in the morning was a good thing, the kind of thing that keeps a house running. And it feels good, this feeling of being on top of the laundry. But then a bit of sadness hit me.
I remember realizing that my mom just didn't seem to struggle with keeping up with laundry. She went down to the lowest of 4 levels in our huge, gorgeous, tidy home each morning and put a load in, just as easy as breathing (it seems). She had us fold clothes and match socks together on her bed. She made us re-use towels more than once and not put our clothes in the laundry if they weren't really dirty. I have felt sad, before, in moments of being buried under mountains of multi-toddler laundry, that even though I try to do all that, I wasn't quite so with it. How did she do it so effortlessly and why am I such a doofus?
And although I feel more in control of the laundry situation in my life right now (thanks to a double capacity washer and a load-a-day effort), I still get behind. Sometimes WAY behind. All it takes is a couple of back-to-back trips out of town or a few days of pregnancy nausea and exhaustion and before you know it, no one has clean socks and the basement laundry sorter is overflowing. But it's okay. Really okay! I always catch up. (It took me 2 major laundry days this week, but my family once again has clean socks.)
And I just had this moment of giving myself an "it's okay" hug. And I wanted to give you one, too. I'm silly and pregnant, but I'm crying now as I write it. Because it's so easy to beat ourselves up over so many things. I don't just mean the silly Pinterest-Perfection craze. I mean regular, every-day, important stuff that we sometimes just don't get done or do wrong. I had one of those moments this morning as I put baggies of unhealthy corn chips into lunch boxes..... "Stupid, empty calories. Not an ounce of nutrition. I wish I could send carrot sticks and pita/hummus wedges and have lunch pails come home empty. What have I done wrong? How could I work so hard and still be such a failure?"
That's the kind of beating-up we sometimes do to ourselves.
And that's why I want to give us all a hug. It's okay if we don't always keep up. It's okay if our kids occasionally have to wear dirty socks while we catch up on laundry. Or (heaven forbid) we send Koolaid and Twinkies in their lunches because we didn't quite get the whole-wheat-zucchini brownies made this week.
And this is a season.
And it doesn't really matter about that mother of 7 you know whose house looks like a magazine and kids look like models. She's not you! She's certainly not me. But the me that I am is working hard and getting the important things right (at least some of the time.) And as my kids get a little older and I no longer have multiple toddlers and am enjoying some longer stretches of time to get things done, I realize that this is always going to be a big job, but that someday (like they all say) these little feet will move to bigger places. And they won't care how perfect I was. They will care how happy and present I was.
Heaven forbid that I harshly criticize another mom for what she does or doesn't do with her home or kids. She is learning just like me. Balancing and failing and growing. And I hope you never hear me apologize if one of my online pictures has a basket of laundry in it. My world has laundry. Always. Deal with it.
I am trying to accept the fact that it's okay that life brings cycles of order and chaos. And almost never has times when it's all order and no chaos..there is usually a bit of both going on.
I want to spend less energy feeling sad about what isn't perfect and more energy just enjoying the days and accepting the growth and constant-ness of it all. I don't want to (emotionally) waste these years worrying and fretting and feeling like a failure. I want to look back and remember that I cherished the playdoh and kisses and stories and projects and meals with a table surrounded with little faces.
So I'm just reminding myself that it's okay. And we are doing a good job! For some reason we don't hear it very often - I think we mostly hear the messages we conjure ourselves from the very un-real images that bombard us online. (Closets so organized that there are only 2 colors of coordinated clothes in the whole closet? Really?!) Or we hear criticism or disapproval ringing in our memory/imagination. Or we hear our own voices criticizing ourselves.
But I just wanted to say to myself - and to us - that I think we're doing okay. And we should relax and enjoy it. That's all.