When my oldest son was a baby, our entire family came down with a debilitating case of the stomach flu. As if two adults and a baby vomiting for a week weren’t bad enough, we were away on a family vacation when the bug hit. So we had to endure a seven-hour drive home while our baby shat all over himself and puked all over his car seat and my husband and I dealt with our own uncomfortable digestive ailments. Once home, we realized we were having our floors refinished and had to move most of our furniture in between cleaning up puke and running to the bathroom ourselves.
Needless to say, it was a week from hell.
On the first day after this week from hell, when we were all finally feeling better, I ran into a friend while out for a walk with my son. “How’s it going?” he asked. “Great! I’m so freaking happy to do laundry today!” I exclaimed.
And I was happy. After a week of cleaning up vomit and piss-shit and feeling like I was literally dragging around a 20-pound weight, I was thrilled that the weight was unshackled and grateful for the ordinary — dare I say, boring — day ahead of me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that feeling lately, how an ordinary day tastes downright delicious after a period of awful.
We complain a lot about the monotony of parenting: the laundry and snacks and more laundry and toy clean-up and meal making and more laundry and dishes and even more laundry. (Seriously, does the laundry ever end?) But after dealing with a literal or figurative shit storm for a while, and a poor sick baby, the monotony doesn’t look so bad. A boring day becomes beautiful. An ordinary day seems pretty damn extraordinary.
I’ve been longing for an ordinary day filled with the monotony of parenting for a while now. Life has felt like that week from hell for the past few months, with lots of shit to clean up and that heavy weight we’re dragging around. There’s the typical overwhelm that so many of us feel as we try to raise a family and build a career and generally do allthethings that we want and need to do. Life is fucking busy, folks. For everyone.
But on top of the general shitstorm of parenting, there’s been a collective tension mounting for some time, and like an overstretched rubber band, it sometimes feels like the world is ready to snap. Everything from Facebook interactions to work deadlines to various parenting crises have felt a little heavier, a little harder, a little unhealthier than usual. Have you felt it? I know I’ve felt it.
For the past I-don’t-know-how-long, I’ve been looking forward to an ordinary boring day when the busyness would subside, the overwhelm would fade (to manageable levels at least), and this weight we’ve been dragging around would be unshackled. I have wanted a day filled with laundry and dentist appointments and household projects and silly emails and cat videos. I wanted a newsfeed filled with nothing but cat videos. No more devastating political blows, please.
There is a sweet beauty in a boring day, a beauty that we can’t really see until we’ve had that week (or year) from hell, until we’ve carried that weight around, until we’ve dealt with shit (of the literal or figurative kind) for days, weeks, years, a lifetime.
I know this and you know this, but sometimes we forget. We forget how amazing it is to fold laundry and wash sippy cups and deal with toddler tantrums until we’re also cleaning up vomit and every bone in our body is aching and it starts to feel like the world might actually be collapsing all around us. We forget how wonderful it is to putter our way through tedious work projects, take our dogs for a walk, and clean out the crisper drawer (what is that rotting vegetable back there?) until we’re dragging that damn weight around.
I’m still waiting for a boring day. The overwhelm is still there. So is the shit and that heavy weight so many of us are dragging with us. But maybe that’s just part of life right now? Maybe it’s enough to recognize the beauty of a boring day, and to find joy in the monotony of laundry and dishes and yet another trip to the grocery store even when life isn’t as clean or easy as we hoped.
I’m still looking forward to a day when my newsfeed is filled with #soblessed and humblebrags, instead of name-calling and frightening news headlines. I can’t wait for a day when sorting laundry and cleaning closets and nagging my son to do his homework are the big worries of the day. I’m ready for the shitshow that is parenting and life and allthethings to be a little less dramatic. And I cannot wait for a boring AF day.
It will come soon enough. And it will be glorious. Until then, there are snippets of ordinary goodness. There are always snippets of goodness — and of course, laundry. Boring day or not, there’s always laundry.