I didn't do my first load of laundry until exactly ten days after I left home (the day I ran out of underwear). Now I do more bushels than I can count. I'd never written a check, and now I'm in charge of our finances. I didn't babysit much, never even liked kids that much, and here I have FIVE of them!
Of course, I'd never been married before, and, well, I learned how to work that out. And I've come to embrace motherhood.
But of all the things I least enjoy doing (dealing with papers, doing laundry, and grocery shopping), what is it that takes up so much of my time? That's right: Dealing with papers, doing laundry, and grocery shopping.
You'd think, after 22 years of marriage and 14 years of parenthood, that I'd at least be resigned to the idea that these jobs are just a part of life. Oh, no. I still spend so much of my time and mental energy acting surprised at how much work it really is to keep this family going. Frustrated that I don't have more free time! Wishing for a reprieve! What on earth?
This morning I sent Annie (6) out the door wearing dirty socks. Yep. And Neal (12) asked me where a particular shirt was. I gave them both my line of, "If you don't put them in the laundry, I can't wash them, and therefore, you can't wear clean ones." I can't figure out where stuff goes. It's the Big Black Hole of clothing.
Which does nothing to explain why I am still washing SO MUCH LAUNDRY. See, it seems that if all these items are disappearing, my job should be getting SMALLER. But no. Instead, it grows exponentially, like so many baby rabbits inhabiting my dryer. It makes for a very grumpy morning (I had to apologize to EACH of my kids this morning!).
Then there's the issue of papers. Ugh. I've really got to get a better system. Yesterday I went through a huge paper sack (I had thrown all the papers that had been stacked up on my counter into it, right before company came recently. My, the house looked spiffy!). I keep all my bills separate and pay most of them online, so that was not the problem. It's all the other stuff - invitations, offers to change electric companies, pictures, and a gazillion bank, insurance, and charitable giving statements. I shredded most of it, but just going through it took the better part of the morning. I'm determined to go through the laundry-sized basket of papers I've been sitting on for several months before Christmas (I went through the other one last week!). Help me stay accountable, will you?
Okay, and now on to grocery shopping. Last week, Jen emailed and asked if I had any tips on saving money on groceries. I replied: NO. Other than "Don't go to the store very often," so you don't buy 5 items instead of the one you went for, I do a really bad job at economizing.
Here's how I justify it: "I'll buy this nice roast for $12 because it would cost us $40 if we went out to eat!" Yes, it's savings, but not savings-savings, if you know what I mean. We have a lot of people to feed, and I think I've just become resigned to the idea that our grocery bill could easily finance a small third-world country. I know I could do better. I'm trying to get better about sticking to a bit of a menu (I hold that word loosely) and thinking more about what my sister Rachel Anne does: use Planned Leftovers.
And now I'm off to the grocery store. Pray for me.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.