Monday, October 13, 2014

My Dirty Laundry

I never thought I'd be writing a post about my literal dirty laundry, but here goes.

As much as I appear to have my life together at work and in other aspects of my life, I struggle with staying organized and having a clean home. There are times when I dread having people over because I know that even having them stop by means hours of cleaning that has to be done first so that I can feel comfortable showing them our home.

For the past year or so, I've had a pile of clothes mounting in the corner of our bedroom. Within the pile were bags of clean clothes, a large plastic container filled with shoes, mostly clean clothes, and a laundry basket full of clean clothes from (get ready to be shocked) two weeks after Alexia was born. Yes, I said a laundry basket full of clean clothes from approximately 13 months ago.

This mess has been a weight on me. Instead of our bedroom being a calming place to rest, it was a constant reminder of just how inadequate I am. It became the monkey on my back and left me feeling like there was no point in tackling it because it was just too big. I remember two times when I was looking for something in the pile, throwing things left and right, and I felt like the pile was closing in on me and I started feeling really anxious.

Once, my sister was taking pictures of me and Alexia in my bedroom. She ended up blurring the background so that the mess wasn't as noticeable. We laughed about it, but I felt awful, not to mention embarrassed.

The pile and Alexia in their infancy
I attacked the pile last weekend. I went through it fiercely. For eight hours, I sorted everything into small piles to hang, throw in the laundry, or donate. I came out with 4 (!!) bags of clothes to donate to Goodwill, 2 bags of garbage, and a really clean room.

But those aren't the only things I came out with. I came out with pride and a sense of accomplishment. I came out with a huge feeling of relief. A half hour after I was done, I had a couple of tears rolling down my face because the weight had finally been lifted.

The pile wasn't just a pile of clothes for me. It was something that took on a life of its own. It was overwhelming, it was painful, and it was persistent. Every time I looked at it, I heard it mocking me, telling me that I couldn't even manage to keep my room clean. I must be a horrible wife. I must be a horrible mom. 

As moms, and as humans in general, we all have things like this in our lives. A pile of clothes, a degree that remains unfinished, a project that lies half done, a choice we have to make. We can't let these things define us, but they are worth taking on if it means that there will be a sense of relief.

In my first year as a mom, I've struggled to find a good balance between spending time with Alexia, spending time with my family, taking care of LoLo, taking care of Bronx, taking care of the house, and somehow taking care of myself too. Over this year though, I've learned a lot about celebrating small victories. A clean bedroom, the moment Alexia puts her toys in the bucket when asked to clean up, LoLo thanking me for being a good wife. Those little victories are what life is all about.

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