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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My laundry room. My life.

This is my laundry room.
Tossed laundry all over the floor.  A dog dish.  Hangers and papers strewn about.  Countless things that need to be put away.  No flat surface left un-piled.  Bags that are meant to be delivered to people hanging from the door knobs.  One of the light bulbs is burnt out.  Cupboard doors are left open.   I know you can't see it, but my sewing box is on top of the washer somewhere with the lid open and stuff falling out.  Trust me it's under there somewhere.  A vacuum cleaner in the middle of it all.  The growth chart has a big rip in it.  Pictures are crooked.  That's poster board from an unfinished 6th grade project sticking out between the washer and dryer.  Don't get me started on the dust!  You can't walk in without stepping on something. My desk is a place no one would ever want to sit down at much less work at.  Ya, that's my passport just tossed on top of the mess waiting to get lost.  Please don't ask to see my closet!
This is where my life is.  
Right here.  
Right now.  
This is where my life stands. 
A chaotic clutter.  An embarrassment  A shambles.  A crazy mess.  

This room is combo pantry, laundry room and office so it does triple duty.  I'm a stay-at-home mom so I call this room my "office."   But it's not usually like this.  Cause I normally am able to WORK in this room, doing laundry, answering emails, putting groceries away.  But at the start of this school year it has turned into something different.  This year is gonna be different.  Our lives are different right now.  This crazy season.  And sadly that difference points to something that looks a lot like this laundry room.

If we count Sunny, the children are in 6 different schools this year.  Sunny and Liv are in college so I don't really have to keep track of those schedules so much.  That leaves 4 schools.
1 high school.
1 middle school.
1 grade school.
And 1 preschool.
We didn't choose 4 schools.  That's just how it ended up.  4 PTOs.  4 calendars.  4 different principals and different sets of fund raisers.  4 car pools lanes that all need to be driven to and from 5 days a week.  I calculated it and figured out that I'm in the car almost 4 hours per day shuttling kiddos to and from.  Last year we used school buses that are no longer available to us.  Last year Liv and Patch attended the same high school, and she drove.  So the amount of time that I'm being a chauffeur has drastically increased... a lot!

In addition to the crazy 4 school thing, Papa had a job change this summer, and this has him traveling much much more than he has in the past.  My lifeline, my support system and my husband is gone much of the time. About 2-3 times per months for 3-4 days each time he's traveling across the country.  Last week is was Chicago.  Tomorrow it's Salt Lake City.  It feels like he's gone almost all the time.  He's not.  It just feels that way.

All these extras, the schools and the job change and travel, they are all for a good cause.  The children need to attend certain schools for good reasons.  And Papa's job change is hopefully going to lead us down the path of more financial security.  But all this hopefully-good-for-us-in-the-future stuff doesn't change the fact that right now it is so stupidly crazy busy that I'm having a hard time coming up for air to breathe.  I'm drowning in a sea of dust bunnies, carpool lanes, 5th grade book reports, 1st grade spelling tests and dirty laundry!  (Anyone else feeling the same?  Can I get an Amen?)

With 7 children, you can image that things are normally busy 'round here.  It's true.  They are.  What I'm referring to in this post isn't normal busy.  Or at least it's not OUR normal busy.  It's beyond busy!  It's busy on speed x10.  Papa and I found a moment to talk when we realized how this school year was boiling down to craziness and decided that this would be the season, the one year, and one year only, that we would struggle and endure the crazy busy chaos.  This year we will be busy, and we will endure.  We will sit down to dinner with remnants of breakfast still on the table, pancake syrup and crumbs. We eat more take out.  There will be more clutter.  Dust bunnies abound.  And thus my laundry room ends up looking like mess that it is.  We decided that for we'd knowingly live like this, and if it didn't get better by the end of summer 2015, we'd throw in the towel, and change it all!  (Someone remind me of that in 11 months, okay?)

1 1/2 months into Operation-Just-Be-Grateful-If-We-Can-Tread-Water, I'm not sure how I'm going to endure 10 more months of this.   But for all this complaining, the mess is just that.  It's only a mess.  It's not a representation of my life or who I am.  It isn't a reflection of our family.  It's a season.  It is where we are right now because we have to be as we aim for better things. The laundry room does get tidied up pretty regularly... if I need it to and make it a priority.  But often in our crazy busy life, cleaning up the laundry room isn't a priority.  Because other things, the important things, are.  Things we're not willing to sacrifice.  Like training up children. Like following up on a hard earned A+ spelling test.  Like dropping everything when my best friend needs to go have coffee.  Because as fast as the laundry room can get cleaned, it gets messy again.  The children throw their dirty clothing in there to get washed when they clean up their rooms. They miss the laundry basket and clothing goes all over the floor.  And sometime they throw "dirty laundry" in there while shirts are still on the hanger (lease tell me my kids aren't the only ones that do that?)  But here's the thing... they are cleaning their rooms!  And they actually want to wear clean clothing, and THAT is a step in the right direction!  I know if I asked a couple kiddos to clean the laundry room up with me, they would.  They have.  Many hands make light work, and THAT is a big thing for children to understand.  Sure the vacuum is in the middle of the floor, but it's actually out, and that means it has been used recently!  Something (anything!) got vacuumed, and for that I am grateful!  The dog is getting fed, so be it it's in the middle of the laundry room floor, but at least someone (I honestly have no idea who) is taking the responsibility of feeding her without me asking!  Despite the remnants of another meal, we're still sitting down together for breakfast and dinner and eating our meals together!  Who cares if our elbows stick to the table.  And in the midst of the chaos and the mess, we're happy.  We squabble, Things get lost and time gets squandered in the process.  That type of stuff happens even in a clean and tidy house.  So we talk to each other, work things out and learn important stuff from each other like how to settle disagreements.  We all pitch in when asked.  And sometimes we ignore the mess altogether and just laugh at something crazy that Patch says.  And that's the best part, being together as a crazy happy, albeit messy family.
This is my laundry room.
This is my life. 
And it's okay. 

ps-come on over to my Facebook page and post a pic of your laundry room!  Or closet. Or car. Or whatever it is that represents your craziness. I dare ya. It's liberating I tell you! 'Cause for every messy room there's usually a mom who is training up her children in the ways that matter.


  1. Thank you! Yes! The love is greater then the mess.

    1. " The love is greater then the mess."
      yes. that.

  2. Dude, you are really rocking it. Thanks for this post. I love that you gave this season a "mission" name! It seems appropriate and really sets the tone. I'm afraid I'd be hollering from here to kingdom come.

    I have one word for you - podcasts. It really helps with all that driving. Here's my favorite one: My kids really like Sparkle Stories. There are some nice soothing ones for anyone who gets agitated when they're contained too long or there's too much traffic (me!)

    Now can we see pictures of the inside of your car??

    1. Well thankfully the kids aren't in the car as much of the time. Mimi is more than I'd like. We've set up some book pockets so she can look at books and that helps. But one of the strange benefits is that I've been listening to a LOT of NPR. I SO KNOW what's happening in global news for the first time in a LONG time! Patch prefers to listen to news and then we talk about Syria, Ebola and how big a role NATO should play in Crimea. Anything I can have an open conversation about with my 16 year old son is a GOOD thing! It's been a great and unexpected side effect to being in the car so long!

  3. Amen, sister. Remember when I said I don't know how you do it? Thanks for not making it look easy.

  4. Sometimes messy is the best choice, we're having one of those years and I have made a habit of choosing the mess (not pretending I'll get to it later) so that I can truly "be" fully with my children. And you're right, my oldest has stepped up a bit. I also will find little bits of time to clean up a particular area then rest my eyes there! Thus giving the illusion of order. You can't make me post pictures though. ;0)

  5. I LOVE the strategy of cleaning up a bit and "rest my eyes there." SOOOOO good. the mess can drive me nuts, but a itty bitty area of tidiness and it can be okay!

  6. So good to read this! First of all as an antidote to my almost-OCD behaviour (I just ironed my pyjama bottoms, including the waist tie, before putting them on — but then I only have one child), but mainly because I was feeling very down about our failed VN adoption 4 years ago and you really made me smile! I'll try not to pick up the dirty knickers that my daughter Hâuie, 13, routinely leaves on her bedroom floor, but let them accumulate and see if she finally takes them upstairs to the laundry basket. Fat chance, but better than me nagging every day! Please keep posting, in spite of your mad year!

  7. This is a happy, exhilarating post about a messy room, and it is a happy messy room, because it breaths life, and full of vision of an ordinary happy family, with ordinary routines, chaos, etc,,. I think you will miss its messiness, once all the children growing up and leaving their nest.

  8. No less than 3 hurricanes and a tornado have swept through our home. I am an OCD, detail oriented, neat freak. I want to invest in my kids' lives and spend time with them more than having a clean house. It is "duh", but living that out is hard. A sensitive balance it is.

  9. Nancy thank you for sharing you heart with us.
    Right now I have too much on my plate. My nephew is seventeen and has multiple mental and physical disabilities. My sister and brother in law divorced two months ago and due to circumstances, my husband and I have become the guardians of their son. Plus, we have four children in four different schools. Giving my nephew around the clock care on top of being a mother is overwhelming. Letting go of wanting my home as orderly as it was is challenging.
    This is only a season. This is only a season. Only a season.

    1. Oh my. OHHHH my. And then there are times when I'm reminded how busy I am NOT.
      You are the Lord's hands right here, right now.
      This is only a season. This is only a season. Only a season.

  10. So what I needed to hear as I focus on my children & connecting with them instead of dusting & sweeping & laundering as much as I'd like! My children are much happier & they never notice the dust!


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