With the exception of the clothing currently being worn by my family, ALL of the laundry is clean. It's the first time in months and months that this has been true, and it feels wonderful. Bedding is fresh, Ben's collared shirts have been ironed, everything is folded in drawers and on shelves with KonMari levels of perfection. It only took three full days and the neglect of all other housework to accomplish this feat, but it's done.
In a regular laundry week when I'm just doing a load or two at a time, I throw any unmatched socks back into the dryer when I'm done folding. I assume they will tumble around until their mates catch up in the next (or the next) basket from upstairs. I've been assuming for this a long time -- it's a barely-conscious decision these days -- but now, with all my laundry clean, I'm starting to doubt my theory.
I just threw eighteen lonely socks back into the dryer.
Maybe when I eventually drag the vacuum upstairs and tackle the under-bed dust bunnies I'll find one or two of their companions. Maybe I've lost a couple to the car, or I'll discover that there are single socks stuck in an off-season clothing box or something? Eighteen socks is a pretty tall order, but hunting them down is a job for Future Nicole.
But you know what? Future Nicole is tired too.
One of the hardest things in motherhood has been redefining what a successful day looks like. What is good enough? What is excellence? While Liam's growth and development feel like they are going well, I feel like my body and mind are simultaneously breaking down in every way. Baby's growing; Mommy's ageing. My own depleted energy resources and lowered capacity for task-fulfilment are gutting to the "Miss Independent, Miss Self-Sufficient" part of my brain that ran things for so long. It's hard to accept that today's laundry triumph isn't just the first of many checkmarks on my list, but is likely to prove grand total of things I get done. Other items on my to-do list: scrub the stove and toaster oven, meal planning for the week and related grocery run, sew crib bumper pads, clean main floor... and laundry, now complete, is likely the only one I'll be able to completely mark off.
Right before Liam was born, I was given the best ever new-mom to-do list: "Feed the baby, feed yourself, occasionally bathe one of you." I held onto those three tasks like a liferaft for the first two-ish months, but eventually, inevitably, the list had to expand. We're eight months in now, and although my reasons are different there are many days I can't do much more in a day than my one-month-in self.
I need a new liferaft line. Send me your suggestions.
In the meantime, I'm going to instruct my heart to celebrate the laundry, and to count it a success. And tomorrow, when we go for a walk, to count that a success too. I've been trying to more actively practice the discipline of counting my blessings, maybe it's time to actively count moments of success along with the groceries lists and bottles of formula, and lonely leftover socks.