On laundry and giving yourself a break

For the second night in a row last night, my daughter went to bed in cobbled together pajamas. Momma forgot to do laundry- again- and all the jammies were dirty. How all four pairs were dirty in less than a week, I don't know. I do know that I didn't even notice, though, until I opened the drawer two nights ago and then had to rummage around for shorts and t-shirt without a scratchy tag.

We all get busy, but don't be hard on yourself. It all comes together eventually!

It's hard to be so busy that you don't notice simple things like overflowing laundry. It's hard on everyone. It's especially hard on momma.

In my defense, we had family in town last week and we all know that throws routines and schedules right out the window. We all had a great time all week, but I still had to work. So, I was up with Phee early as usual, going to work, coming home to spend time with everyone, and then going to bed late. But, there are other times when it just happens. I get so busy with a house project, or full weekends or a sick kid and everything else falls by the wayside.

I come out of these busy times feeling like I'm never going to get caught up. I spend my time at work thinking about everything that needs to be done at home. I spend my time at home almost paralyzed with the amount of cleaning that needs to be done to get us back on track. A slow start just prolongs the cleaning and organizing and I hate it all the more.

Breaking out of that cycle is tricky. I know I can do it, but it takes so much carefully planned effort sometimes. This time, I just had to jump in and start completing tasks. I got poor Phee's laundry washed and dried last night so she'll have real pajamas tonight. I had to stay up a little bit later than planned, but the laundry made it into the dryer which was imperative since I was out of undies too!

I find that I just have to pick a task and do it. Get myself moving. Roll that momentum into the next day and a second task. If I don't have the time to complete something, I try get it to a “good enough” point that I can live with. For me, that was clean laundry last night, but only a half cleaned kitchen. The dishwasher was loaded, but the tupperware was still stacked on the counter for another day. I can live with that.

More than anything, I really have to stop being so hard on myself. I know I’ll catch a break eventually- an early bedtime for Phee, a long weekend nap, quiet playtime with a new toy, Doug's weekend- and I’ll be able to finish that last big task. And really, in the grand scheme of things, a few dishes on the counter isn’t a big deal at all.

It’s getting easier, all of it. Phee is a great helper when it’s time to fold towels and match socks. Sometimes she will rinse dishes while I wash or put the clean silverware away. Sharing those little chores wasn’t always possible, but now they make these overwhelming times so much more fun. Cleaning up isn’t such a chore with my little helper; it’s just one more way we can share time together and make memories.

The original version of this post appeared at a blog I used to write with a friend, Bottles & Briefcases.
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