Today is laundry day. I hate laundry day. I was dragging my feet, putting it off. Somehow my four tiny humans produce mass amounts of dirty clothes each week. How? How does this happen?! I swear we don’t actually go through three or four outfits each day, so where are these piles coming from?
Anyways, as I was sorting laundry into piles, checking pockets, turning everything right side out, exhausted even looking at all of the clothes... then something happened. I looked around at all the clothes and suddenly became super grateful, and emotional, and I just started crying.
When my ex-husband and I separated I had nothing. He would not let me take a single thing with me. None of the kids’ clothes, toys, bedding... nothing. It was devastating. All I had for them was this cheap little bunk bed that we had previously purchased for my mom’s house, and a pack and play. Plus, the few toys my mom had at her house for the children.
At the time I had no money either. I had given up everything – my career, financial independence, friends... everything to be a stay at home mom and cater to my family’s needs. So when I left I left empty handed. I was given no help to get my own place, no money to get the kids new stuff for my place. Nothing. It was hard. Not just for me, but for the kids too.
They didn’t understand, among everything else, why they couldn’t have their stuff with them. The things they grew up with, the toys, stuffed animals, blankets that were special to them they were not allowed to have at my house.
So, I started trying to rebuild. I started to buy new clothes, new bedding, new toys, new everything.
I started making new memories, and new traditions. I created new ways to help all of us get through the mess. I tried to keep them positive about the situation, but distracted from not having their “stuff”.
And now as I’m sitting here doing these piles of laundry, looking around at their bedrooms, with their posters on the walls, their messed-up beds with their favorite pillows, blankets and stuffed animals, their toys everywhere... I’m grateful for this mess.
There was a time that I felt completely hopeless. Like there was no way I’d ever be able to move forward and create anything for myself or for them. And even though I’m not as far as I’d like to be, these piles of laundry and this mess has reminded me of how far I’ve come.
So, instead of freaking out about the house not being clean I’m going to look around and appreciate this mess.
Kathleen Nelson is a mom blogger focusing on her journey as a single mama of four. She shares the ups and downs of parenthood, divorce and mental health while holding it all together with a bit of coffee, dry shampoo, and a sprinkle of sarcasm. You can follow her experiences on her blog: www.sweatpantsandtopknots.com