I was off for two weeks over the holidays, and I had truly modest expectations for what I would accomplish during that time. I mean, my kids were off, too, for one thing, so I knew that the majority of my time would be devoted to pouring glasses of milk, finding lost toys, cleaning up spills and other messes, and stepping on Legos and/or Polly Pocket dolls and cursing.
For another, I know myself well enough by now to know that I am never going to clean my closet or organize my attic. My house isn’t squalid or anything – we do the dishes every night and sweep and mop and scrub the toilets weekly – but if I have a choice between sorting through the giant pile of shoes on my closet floor or doing … almost literally anything else, I am going to go with Option 2.
My goals for vacation didn’t even include anything as lofty as Put on Real Pants Every Day. Once, when I mentioned feeling overwhelmed by trying to clean my house with three kids, a well-meaning friend sent me a link to FlyLady. I got as far as the step that requires you to get dressed every day to “real lace-up shoes” before deciding that it would never work for me. Even on days when I have to go to my office (which is almost all of them), I don’t wear “real lace-up shoes,” and if I am not leaving the house, the chances of my putting on anything fancier than my newest pair of pajama pants are extremely slim.
After last year, my main goal for my and the children’s shared two-week break was to yell, “OH MY GOD EVERYBODY JUST STOP TOUCHING ME FOR FIVE MINUTES!” approximately 75 percent less than I did last year, and I probably accomplished that.
My other goal was to try to conquer Laundry Mountain, which has overtaken the laundry room and also a goodly portion of the master bedroom. I did not accomplish this.
I can manage to get clothes washed and dried. I can get the crucial pieces (underwear, socks, school uniforms) pulled out and set aside for each day. But no matter how many times I swear to myself that I am going to do one load of laundry, start to finish, including folding and putting away, every single day, it just never seems to work out. Yesterday, I actually took half of a vacation day with the express goal of folding the five baskets of clothes we have just sitting in the laundry room, but I instead ended up: calling the pediatrician to schedule a chest X-ray for Ruby because she has been coughing since the second week of December despite a course of amoxicillin, and her best friend was just diagnosed with walking pneumonia; driving a check out to Airline Skate Center to reserve the spot I booked for Ruby’s birthday party because the U.S.P.S. lost the check I mailed before Christmas; taking down my Christmas decorations and putting up my Mardi Gras ones; and watching two episodes of Making a Murderer with the laundry basket sitting right next to me and yet being too entranced to actually start folding any clothes.
In other words, as is often the case, I had the best intentions, but life and Netflix interfered.
But 2016 is still shiny and new, and I am still determined/delusional enough to believe that I can do this. I can tackle Laundry Mountain. I can do one load of laundry, start to finish, every day. I will not find myself, as I did this morning, toweling off after a shower with a hand towel because all the real towels are in the hamper or stealing my stepson’s camo-print socks because I can’t find a matching pair of my own in the baskets of clean clothes. This seems like a reasonable resolution. It’s certainly more realistic than giving up coffee or wine or carbs or committing to jog every day. It probably still won’t happen, but I can try. This is not a “shoot for the moon so that even if you fail, you’ll land among the stars” goal. This is a really low bar, but at least if I fail, I won’t be any worse off than I am now.
What about you? Any resolutions this year?