All You Need is Love

In an effort to avoid making a bunch of snarky remarks that I’ll regret later (let’s just say I’m feeling rather homesick and lonely again), I’m going to focus on an enlightening blog post I read a few days ago. Natalie Norton (one of my new favorite bloggers) recently made a guest appearance over at The Coterie Blog, and the things she said have really stuck with me this week (in some ways – in other ways I’m still feeling snarky and sorry for myself, lol).

If you don’t feel like reading her blog post (you’ll be missing out – she’s a great writer), the main gist is about various ways she shows love for herself and her family. Really basic things like doing a load of laundry each morning, sorting the mail on the way in from the mailbox (rather than allowing it to form a pile of epic proportions on top of the microwave – oops, did I say that out loud?), taking care of her body (daily shower, exercise, etc), and making sure to schedule a weekly date night.

While everything she said made perfect sense, the one that stuck with me the most was the laundry.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a stay/work-at-home-mom. I love being able to watch my babies grow up and being there when my oldest daughter comes home from school each day. It definitely presents it’s challenges, though, and I’d be lying if I said it was all smooth sailing. I struggle a lot. I struggle with feeling like my business isn’t successful enough to allow me to genuinely provide for my family. I struggle with boredom and loneliness and a general feeling of isolation. I struggle to keep my house as clean as I would like, and from there, I struggle with a feeling of resentment that I’m the “only” person in the house who “cares” if anything is clean (this is absolutely not true – my husband and oldest daughter really DO care, and it hurts them every time I say those words out loud – I’m trying to get better about how I vent my frustrations). Which in turn leads to me feeling like I’m not good enough – I’m not patient enough, I’m not easy-going enough, and I’m not doing a good enough job to keep the house clean so that I *don’t* feel bitter about the mess.

Obviously, my perspective is all sorts of messed up. I’ve been looking at things the wrong way for a very long time. Natalie’s comments about the laundry were what really helped me to see the error of my perspective, and this week has gone much better. In her blog post, she states:

“Loving myself means putting one load of laundry in every morning, FIRST THING.

Laundry is the ultimate SUCK, and I HATE nothing more than hearing my husband and my kids say "Mo'om I can't find any clo'othes!"

I've decided that I love myself too much to allow myself to get behind. Having clean clothes to wear everyday, well, it shows my man and my boys that I love them too.”

This was the proverbial 2X4 to the head for me. I REALLY don’t enjoy doing laundry. I don’t mind the sorting or the actual washing and drying. It’s the folding and the putting away that makes it the epitome of tedium in my world. It’s one of the few thorns in my SAHM side. I just don’t enjoy it. And I tend to feel bitter that I’m the “only” one who “has” to do the laundry (again, not exactly true). Especially when it comes to the white load and matching up all the endless pairs of socks (and the annoyance of realizing that half the socks no longer have a match). Laundry is the chore that I avoid more than any other, which causes me to always be behind. The piles of laundry in my house are so big, that I become overwhelmed, and I avoid them even more diligently.

Natalie’s statements about LOVE really helped me to look at laundry (and dishes, and picking up after the baby) in a whole new light. Is laundry ever going to be fun? I’m not sure. But I’ve been trying to do at least one load of laundry first thing in the morning (including folding it and putting it away). I’ve been telling myself that I’m doing it because I LOVE my family, and I want them to have nice, clean clothes to wear. And guess what – it REALLY works. Even the folding and putting away hasn’t been as bad as I’ve always made it out to be. It’s a wonderful feeling to realize that I’m doing my best to make life pleasant for the people that I love – even something as simple as clean clothes makes a difference in the day-to-day routine. If I do one load a day (rather than waiting for everything to pile up for weekly “laundry day”), it’s not nearly such a daunting task.

I’ve been adopting the same perspective for dishes, and it’s making a world of difference. Now to just get the routine down to the point that I can start focusing on other areas of the house – like the bathrooms. :)

I totally agree with the other things she says (date nights, etc). I know Sasquatch and I are much happier as a couple after we’ve spent time with just the two of us. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of a regular free babysitter around here. I have a couple of friends who have been willing to watch the girls in the past, but I don’t want them to feel like I’m taking advantage of them. At one point, I had hopes of starting a babysitting co-op and trading sitting services a few times a month, but that hasn’t ever come to fruition. Paying a babysitter is most definitely out of the question – as is actually going anywhere (it’s too cold to go for a picnic in the park right now). My parents and siblings gave us a “date night” for Christmas (dinner and movie gift certificates), but we’re saving it for Alice in Wonderland (I can’t wait!). However, as soon as Sasquatch’s company is earning a good income, a weekly date night will be a guaranteed happening at our house – happy, sane parents result in a happy, sane household.

Changing my perspective and focusing on LOVE being the reason that I do certain things around the house has made a significant difference in my attitude this week. I’m going to continue to focus on love, and think of my beautiful family every time I start a load of laundry or sweep the floor, and I know it’s going to help me be a happier and more grateful wife and mother.

The Princess just came home from school, and while my house isn’t perfect, I’m going to stop what I’m doing and go spend some time with her. That’s one of the perks of being a SAHM. She had a Valentine’s Day party at school, and we’re going to sort through her bag of treats and read all the cards and focus on LOVE again.


momg57  – (February 13, 2010 at 3:53 PM)  

Thank you for the LOVE lesson - I really needed that, too.
Grandma Rosie

Chipper62  – (February 14, 2010 at 2:44 PM)  

Know that we love you and miss you tons. We are so grateful to have you as our only daughter and our oldest child. You have tought us so many lessons about love and life. Mom & Dad

Chipper62  – (February 14, 2010 at 2:44 PM)  

Sorry, can't spell today. Taught not Tought.

The Thomas Family  – (February 17, 2010 at 5:13 PM)  

I loved that Shallyse, thank you! Seriously, that perspective really changes things and I have never thought of it that way... it makes it a lot more fun. I do it... but usually with a huff and I totally hear you on the "I'm the only one who cares..." hee, hee.
Weeeeell, it is out of love for my family and myself. I like thinking of it that way.
And PUH-LEEEZE let me watch your girls. Hello??? You've only asked me once!!!!!!!

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