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And then what

February 27, 2006 | Category: In My Life

I'm having my nice little breakdown here. Crying a lot. Overwhelmed. Really overwhelmed. The house looks like an 18-wheeler ran through it, then backed up (beep! beep! beep!) and ran it through again.

Over a week ago, I decided to attack the laundry that never got done. The piles at the bottom of the laundry chute. The stuff that had been sitting ignored (CD was in charge of laundry, I want to say it right here, OK? In charge of getting it clean. Is this noted for the record?). You know, blankets that needed washing. Summer clothes that got sorted out when winter came along. Hell if I know all the reasons.

Elia and I took a box of garbage bags and gathered it all up. We braved the chaos that is the basement and looked under beds and in the back corners of the closets. And we found 16 bags' worth.

I am SO not kidding.

I made CD turn himself around the moment he came home and help ferry me and the 16 bags and the jumbo bottle of Tide to the laundromat. I was in a royal snit. I mean... 16 bags?! I'm talking the big green bags here, not the skinny white ones.

And they got washed, and they got dried, and they got reloaded into the bags and into baskets and all stowed back in the van and then heaved and carried in the dark cold from the driveway into the family room.

Ah, but then what?

Then they had to be pulled out of the bags. And folded. And sorted. And good Lord, ironed. And some needed to be rewashed. And some mended. And some donated.

I have sat on that blasted coach, every day since, doing a little bit at a time.

Yes, it is not done yet.

Stewing, and angry, and blaming CD but not knowing why - other than the obvious that hey, he's a slob and that pisses me off in general.

Spring clean trips to the laundromat happen every year. All comforters, pillows, throw rugs and sundries. Things too big for our machines. A sweep of it all, to rinse away the dust of the long winter.

This year, however, as I try and get it all put away my brain is also doing a spring clean. With nothing to drag my attention away - like crazy managers and insane deadlines - my mind tries to process all the stuff it pushed away for the past half-decade. Just like the 16 bags of laundry.

Suddenly I find myself in these fugue flashes... experiencing the loss, and betrayal, and exhaustion more deeply now than I did back then, in the moment.

And it hurts.

It hurts to strip the rest away. I mean, of course I am still Bear's mother. I am CD's wife. I am my mother's daughter and my friend's friend and former soldier of a Fortune 200 corporation.

But in these days, with no fixed engagements and no meetings demanding attention.... there is mostly just this. And the laundry.

And I .... HATE folding laundry.

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Tagged: Corporate, Mommy, Life


I just realized that I got so tired of the laundry basket that's been in front of my dryer... for ever... that I dumped out the whole basket on my bed...

Now what? I really don't want to deal with it!

Heck we've lived without whatever is in there for what... 6 months or so... maybe I should just bag it and... ????

Posted by: Toni on March 3, 2006 07:34 PM

I'll do your laundry folding if you do my dishes!

I hate doing dishes... by hand... NO DISHWASHER in this tiny place. Grumble... Grumble...

Posted by: Toni on March 3, 2006 07:30 PM

I experienced the same thing when I left my news job for a stress-free work-from-home writing job. I had flashbacks of various crises in the newsroom for months. It'll fade. You'll feel the calm invade your soul. Trust me.

Posted by: Lucinda on March 1, 2006 09:29 PM

It's not about the laundry..it is about finding new ways to define who you are beyond the role of wife and mother. That will come in time. Journaling/blogging is a good way to sort through it all. I recently shut down a business that was my heart and soul for close to nine years...it defined who I was every waking moment...now I have been blessed with an even better opportunity...an opportunity to come up for air and gain a new/fresh perspective on the person I truly want to be. Good luck - you will be fine.

Posted by: Danielle on February 28, 2006 02:56 PM

You are not alone. When I lost my job, it took about six weeks to get my bearings. I felt completely adrift and spent until 10 or noon most mornings in crying jags, and then feeling guilty that I had wasted so much time that could have been productively spent in my job search. Guess what? Those crying jags? Incredibly productive. I got the poison out in that first month and a half and was able to throw my efforts wholeheartedly into the future.

In another two weeks after that I started to find work, and haven't looked back since. As much as I clung to that job, I am WAY better off both professionally and personally because I lost it.

As far as laundry goes....I hear you, sister. I am famous for washing, but not folding, my laundry. I don't know what it is about it but once they are clean I get distracted by other things and just never get around to it...the prospect of 16 bags to sit and fold is unnerving! My best advice there is...one bag at a time, no more than one bag at a time. Good luck.

Posted by: laura on February 28, 2006 10:06 AM

You'll find your grove soon, at your own pace. For me it was about 12 weeks. I was just getting good at being home when I had to return to work. Contrary to popular belief, you actually need to be very organize to stay home or you'll lose entire days. And you'll be left sitting there on the couch with a mountain of laundry wondering what you've been doing for 4 days.

You'll figure it out. True you'll be miserable till you get there but once there it's pretty great.

Posted by: Nicole on February 28, 2006 09:18 AM

Hi! I think I need to let you in on a mommy secret... No one folds laundry. Uh-uh. Most people just leave it in the laundry basket, but I personally create a neat pile on the sofa in my bedroom. Why would you waste time putting something away, when you're probably going to wear it tomorrow? Right?? It actually saves a lot of time when you're getting dressed in the morning.

Also, ironing? Uh-uh. The dry cleaner will do that for a dollar a shirt, which trust me is a bargain at twice the price. Otherwise, Nordstrom sells these wonderful wrinkle-free shirts which are actually wrinkle-free! I haven't ironed anything in the five years that I've been married. I'm sure that was in the vows somewhere...

And, I know it's hard, but try not to rub CD's nose in the 16 loads of laundry. One day in the not too distant future, you might find yourself the cause of a 16-load laundry pile-up, and the only thing worse than doing that much laundry is eating crow while you're doing it.

Posted by: notdonnareed on February 28, 2006 12:27 AM

P.S. anectdote was supposed to be antitdote. sorry...

Posted by: Flikka on February 27, 2006 11:32 PM

OMG! Do you have any where to put all that laundry? I did that once and found I couldn't fit it all in my house if it was all simultaneously clean!

As for the other - it's called a period of adjustment and honey, this too shall pass! The only minor anectdote is when the downer gets too intense put on some really stupid disco music and jump around the house. Challenging bear to a dance off can reallt brighten your day!

Goodluck - I continue to be proud of your resilience and your sheer determination! xxxx

Posted by: Flikka on February 27, 2006 11:31 PM

Laundry is evil and it wont go away!
Endless cycle...

Posted by: Steff on February 27, 2006 08:18 PM

Well thats good you got all that laundry done! I know words wont make anything better but I feel compelled to say you are truly blessed. Youre married to someone who loves you. YOu have a wonderful child. You dont have to go out fight traffic, fight deadlines ect. You can play with your child, take trips together some women who have to work would do anything to be in your position. You are blessed woman! If it seems like you arent doing enough and miss being out there you could always volunteer somewhere.

Posted by: angela on February 27, 2006 07:51 PM

I do like to fold laundry, as it is one of the few tasks I can still accomplish, so if could, I'd lend you my hands.

I think these brilliant ladies are all correct. You need to find something else to occupy your mind while you're doing the folding, and you need to realize that you are doing something. Each folded item is one less in the bag. 16 bags is gonna take a while....

Posted by: caltechgirl on February 27, 2006 06:55 PM

I hear you. But as I sit in my large law firm-office, I would love to be sitting, instead, in front of a tv, or next to a radio, folding laundry. I am overwhelmed with stress - the kind that, in a cruel twist of fate, paralyzes you and renders you unable to be productive. I've been sitting here thinking, what can I do to relieve the stress? I would love to smoke a carton of Marlboro Lights, but that is a no-no in my
Mommy-world. Tomorrow's 5:30 a.m. gym class seems too far away. Maybe folding laundry - especially those tiny, little items belonging to my children - would do the trick.

Posted by: Monica C. on February 27, 2006 06:03 PM

Well, it's taken me several months to learn how to not long for another job. I have definately found happiness and peace...but I frequently consume my thoughts with the What If's. Which drives me into hypermode in finding a new job. So every day, I have to pinch myself to stay in the moment. I am safe. We are fine. I will work again someday but before that happens, I will heal. My hope for you is that you will be able to do the same. Hang in there and best wishes.

Posted by: Jill on February 27, 2006 04:18 PM

I would hate laundry (more!) if I had 16 bags of it, too!
This isn't really about the laundry, though, is it? More about what needs work now that you are there, staring it in the face, over the piles of un-done laundry.
Or perhaps I am losing MY mind in MY laundry, too!

Posted by: Tammy on February 27, 2006 04:15 PM

Ahh, the point when there's nothing for your busy mind to focus on other than the simple misery of the daily grind. And here you are doing something (the laundry) but thinking "I should be doing something". I'm betting soon you'll be so happy that you'll wonder why this transition was so hard. In the meantime I recommend you list your personal goals, NOT to be confused with career goals, and tackle one or two of them. For me it was first learn to cook and meal plan. Soon, I hope to tackle learning to sew. I know that all sounds very domestic but it's stuff I truly want to know how to do. Maybe you've always wanted to write a book, or knit, or some other art...you pick. Now's your chance, jump on it!

Posted by: MJH on February 27, 2006 02:57 PM