photo by mysza831
I think we might as well give up seeking
the good life and just do the laundry.
Yes, the laundry.
~Karen Maezen Miller
A strange thing happened last week. I kept up with the laundry.
This is not to say that my family regularly goes around in dirty clothes. Or that there are piles of dirty laundry lying around our house.
For the most part our laundry rhythm is pretty normal, though laundry is not a regular topic of conversation among my friends and I’m not sure how we stack up within the realm of normal.
What I can tell you is that just about every week, either some time after 10:30pm or around 8:15 in the morning my husband will ask me: “Are there any clean clothes somewhere in the house?” There is trepidation and kindness in his voice when he asks, because quite predictably I will get upset and a small spat will ensue.
Unfortunately I’m not exaggerating when I say this happens just about every week. And, the trepidation in my husband’s voice is well founded. Every time this question comes my way my body tenses and I go on the defensive.
I wish I could explain to you why I get so upset when my husband asks a simple question about the laundry. The poor man just wants some clean underwear. And in his defense he has offered repeatedly to do the laundry. But for some reason the thought of him doing the laundry stresses me out even more than his gentle request for a clean t-shirt.
Maybe I’m a bit too controlling about the laundry. (Can you hear my husband laughing over the ‘maybe’ in that sentence?)
Maybe I take it too personally when I am questioned about something I see as my territory. (Yep, that’s him laughing again.)
Maybe I should lighten up. (I think that’s him applauding now.)
It isn’t like I have a system perfected or anything. (Remember the questions from my poor clean clothes seeking husband? I definitely don’t have a handle on the laundry.) It also isn’t like managing our household laundry is my life’s work. While I don’t mind doing the laundry it isn’t the most fulfilling activity.
So why do I get upset? And what happened last week? How did I finally keep up with the laundry?
Specific answers to these questions are evading me. What I can tell you is this.
Life has gotten busy in our household. It’s the end of the school year, we’ve got some Big things going on, I’m putting together my very first e-course. It could very well be that magical phenomenon of “the busier you are the more you get done”. Maybe that explains why the laundry is getting done.
But what about the other question. Why do I take my ability to do the laundry so personally?
Ultimately, the answer to that one doesn’t even matter. What is of value here is my recognition that I am taking the laundry personally. And then changing that.
The way that I do or don’t do the laundry has absolutely no baring on my value as a woman. The fact that I often don’t keep up with the never ending cycle of clean and dirty clothes is not a measure of my love for my children or husband.
I’m not a failure when the laundry gets behind. Nor am I a success when the clothes are clean and folded and put away.
The laundry will get done. Clothes will cycle with water and soap. They will tumble and fluff, land in a basket, and eventually get folded. And I will do it all with love. And imperfections. Just like everything in my beautiful life.