As a first time mom, I swear I have heard it all. Whether spoken with good intention, frustration, or even bitterness, the “friendly advice” given to new moms is often more than overwhelming. I would be willing to bet that the majority of people giving that advice don’t actually mean any harm. Even still, the ever accumulating advice in my new mom notebook is exhausting. I could share a long list of “just wait,” “you’ll see,” and “that’s a first time mom thing” sort of statements, but I am learning to brush most of them off and move on.
Even still, there are certain pieces of advice that tend to linger in my head. I find myself thinking about them and basically writing a blog post in my own head while having conversations with myself.
The latest conversation I have been having in my head involved one particular nugget of “wisdom” that others have continually shared with me.
“The laundry can wait.”
I have been given this advice so many times. Not just in regards to spending time with my baby, but also as a recommendation for generally not being stressed about my obligations.
I know, I know, the years will go by so fast and I will look back and wish I had spent more time just cuddling my babies and enjoying them. When I remember their childhood I’ll wish that I had spent less time cleaning and more time playing, right?
That’s what they tell me, at least.
What if that just isn’t true for me?
What if I look back and wish I had spent less time being stressed out by a mess that I could have just taken half an hour to clean up?
What if I am just the kind of person that likes to stay on top of my chores? What if I am the type of person that just likes to keep my house tidy and clean? What if staying on top of my laundry actually is just what I prefer?
What if, just what if, having a clean and organized home actually creates an environment of peace that enables me to enjoy my family more than I possibly could while staring at piles of laundry and justifying all the reasons “it can wait?”
The thing is, that truly is the person I am. I am the person that cleans my kitchen after every meal, and I am the person that picks up my baby’s toys every time she goes down for a nap. And I don’t do it because I feel pressure from my husband, the perfect mom down the street, or anyone else. I do it because that is who I am.
I am a person that thrives on organization. I thrive in a well kept and cleanly environment, and I thrive in scenarios where my work is done.
I guess you could say I am a “work hard, play hard” kind of person.
When I work hard and get my stuff done, I feel like I have the freedom to play hard.
I am not saying that my household chores will ever be more important than my baby(s). I’ll never allow those things to come first. I’ll never choose laundry over embracing a moment with my baby, over making her giggle, or watching her take her first steps. What I am saying is that when I carve out time to do the mundane and take care of simple household chores such as laundry, I actually enjoy my family more. I am less distracted, and far more present.
I know they say to sleep when the baby sleeps. I get that. But rest and peace look different to every person. Perhaps, for me, spending my baby’s nap time getting laundry done is exactly the rest I need. Perhaps bringing my baby into the laundry room and letting her crawl in piles of warm clothes is actually fun for us. And perhaps it teaches her that she has a mama that works hard.
So, as for me, my laundry can’t wait. Because years down the road, I don’t think I will regret having taken steps on a daily basis to create an atmosphere of peace in my home.
I won’t regret eliminating frustration and enjoying my family more.
Sarah Secord says
i totally agree. I feel stressed when for me if I put things away every day its easier to keep it that way and makes me feel more relaxed. I have 2 kids, so that doesn’t always happen anymore. But i have come to relax knowing I’m not having any company over anytime soon,
YES… finding that balance definitely helps!
Laura Dee says
I struggled with this too, especially having a newborn. Yes, the mess could wait, but that would leave me feeling stressed and anxious until it got done. So which was worse? I have had to majorly lower my expectations, but I would be lying if I said it still didn’t affect me in a way.
I totally get it.. I try to not care.. but I just do!
Love your perspective! How true when you said what if the mess is preventing me from being calm and fully present for my family? SO TRUE!
YES.. it happens ALL the time haha!
Gabby @ Gift of Gabby says
I think you’ve given a great perspective on this. What works for some just doesn’t work for some others. I personally can let the laundry pile up moderately but when I get anxious the first thing I turn to is cleaning up the house to try to create some semblance of peace.