Today, my son did the laundry. I didn’t ask him to do it. It wasn’t on his list of chores to do. I just came home from grocery shopping to find the three baskets of clothes I’d washed this morning folded and ready to be put away.
This was momentous for several reasons:
First… and well probably the obvious reason… he folded the laundry!
Now, if I’m being honest, this is one of my most hated household jobs. I really don’t mind washing the clothes. I don’t even mind making sure they get out of the dryer in time as to not get wrinkled. But folding laundry? I hate it! So, you can imagine how grateful I was to find the laundry folded and placed in baskets to be put away.
Another reason this was so awesome was that I didn’t even ask him to do it.
He took it upon himself to get the job done because it needed to be done. Now, if I’m honest again… I want my kids to do this more often, but in reality, I usually have to ask my kids to do chores around the house. I’m always asking them to pick up, take out the trash, refill the toilet paper roll, or clean their room. That request is often followed by a sigh and a disappointed face. From time to time, they even give me a bit of an… well, let’s call it “attitude.” But not today! My nine-year-old saw the laundry needed to be folded and did it on his own! It was a proud mom moment for sure!
The best part of this wonderful surprise was not that my son did laundry, however, but in how I reacted to his work.
See, I’m kind of a perfectionist. I’ve been known to come behind my kids and clean the bathroom again to make sure it was done right. I may or may not have rearranged the dishes in the dishwasher or re-wiped down the counters after my husband graciously did the evening dishes for me. I’m the first to admit that I have a hard time accepting help because I can’t control how the work is done. It’s not my finest quality and it’s been a work in progress for years; making its appearance on several New Year’s resolution lists.
But not today! See, when I took those freshly folded baskets of laundry upstairs to put away…
The T-shirts weren’t folded quite the way I like them. The underwear didn’t fit exactly right in the drawer because he hadn’t folded them into neat little square like I normally do. My leggings were folded in fourths and not in half. But you know what? I didn’t refold that laundry. I didn’t get frustrated. And I didn’t come behind and “fix” it all. I smiled, I put it all away (as is), and made sure to stop and tell him thank you once more.
In that moment, I saw the growth. I saw that not only had my son shown growth – being responsible and helpful – but I had shown growth. Maybe, just maybe, I’d put my perfectionism aside for a second and accepted the help for what it was. He wanted to help his momma out. He knew I would end up folding that laundry and he decided to do it instead. And by accepting his help, without preconditions or specific standards, I could show him that I value his work and I appreciate the initiative he showed.
So, most days I’m not killing it as a mom.
Some days I feel like I’m just trying to keep my head above water. Just trying to help everyone with homework, get them where they’re supposed to be, make sure everyone eats, is bathed, and maybe even have some time to help them work through the ups and downs that childhood and the teenage years bring. But today…today I felt like maybe, just maybe, I was getting better at this “mom thing.” Baby steps toward those resolutions…right?
Today I’m celebrating my “laundry moment.” And even though it wasn’t big, or seen by anyone but me, it was still important, and I took a moment to celebrate that growth quietly in my bedroom. Find something you did great today, big or small, and celebrate it; your own “laundry moment.” We may not be perfect parents, but every day we can get one step closer to killing it! Cheers to you…and your next “laundry moment.”