There once was an individual who had the privilege of waking up to this 6:30AM text message-
"SOS. Three laundry questions. This might require an e-mail.
1. How do I hand wash things when I don't have a laundry sink?
2. Do you use fabric softener? My jeans are drying as stiff as a board.
3. EMERGENCY. How do you bleach a white shirt that got pink all over it?"
The lucky receiver was my very own mother. And the spastic texter? Unfortunately that was me.
This morning I had one of those moments where that sneaky pink sweater ends up buried in a pile of white laundry, and in just thirty little minutes your husband's crisp button down is a splotchy version of pepto bismol. The irony in the situation? Brent had just commented that said sweater had a striking resemblance to carnival cotton candy. So this isn't like it was a color he already loved.
I'm just terrible at laundry, I lamented in my mind, after breathing deep and spot cleaning to the best of my ability. I have these visions of me being this great clothing cleaner, having a minimalistic wardrobe with quality pieces that are cleaned with the most extreme care. Maybe I'll even buy a garment bag for all of our underwear, and waste a load of water just on that.
Yes- that is me, dreaming of winning the "Best Wife & Launderer Award" at some Good Housekeeping conference or something. There's got to be a medal for that, right?
The reality is, I've had many of these mental battles. And not just over laundry.
I need to have live plants in my house. So I buy a book that I don't read, and Google articles to skim, and forget to water two days in. We need to have salads at least once a week. So I create a secret Pinterest board titled "Salad Nights" (no, this is not a joke) and I pin all of the most likely recipes, only to make one of them. Or the classic, I'm going to hang up all of my clothing, all the time. So I color coordinate my wardrobe, using pants hangers for the pants, and delicate hangers for the sheers, and it looks great- until Brent wades in the next morning to hurricane Katie knee deep in tears and t-shirts, and whirling through her wardrobe from hanger to floor. This is rather dramatic, but you get the picture, and can probably relate to some degree.
I have this longing in me for balance. I want to lead that "American Dream" life with the white picket fence and the succulents that don't die and the clothing that fits perfectly and never balls or wears down or turns discolored. Pretty much I want to be immaculate in all of my actions. But this morning it struck me for the trillionth time.
YOU CANNOT BE PERFECT AT EVERYTHING YOU DO. In fact, you can't even be GOOD at everything.
You try your best and then you fail to meet your standards and then you shame yourself because you didn't do "good enough."
I captured my feelings best in a text to Brent earlier this morning.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm flailing all over the place trying to be the best at everything and failing at everything simultaneously."
To which he graciously replied-
"hahahaha i'm literally laughing out loud right now. just take a breath, because none of that is true."
The voice of reason in my life. Because someone needs to be. My husband loves me, and he thinks I am doing a good job. He may not know about the dress shirt yet, but chances are he'll still love me even when he does. And his words bring me back to the reality around me It's not even fair to expect myself to be Mrs. Green Thumb AND Mrs. Health Freak AND Mrs. Capsule Wardrobe AND Mrs. Magical Launderer all perfectly. It really comes down to being thankful for the talents that I have been given. Seeking them out, and using them well. This doesn't mean I can't stretch myself to learn and grow in other areas, it just means I can chill out. Forcing a million different "new systems" will just create this weird binge/purge of systems, and that will be the most difficult to break.
1. THE BATTLE IN OUR MINDS IS THE HARDEST ONE TO FIGHT. We can convince ourselves of SO many things between our own two ears. It takes vulnerability, verbalizing the battle, and listening to the people that speak into your life, to really gain perspective on the situation.
2. Let's STOP pointing out all the things we "do wrong," and START loving ourselves for the things we do right!
So while I may not be the Martha Stewart of Laundry Kingdom, Brent and I will have clean clothing- even if our wardrobe becomes somewhat monochromatic. And I will celebrate the next successful load of whites (after carefully sorting the pile.)