It’ll Wash

I remember life as a young wife, with young kids and a husband who really didn’t give a damn. I

Life is a precious gift. Don't waste it being ...
Life is a precious gift. Don’t waste it being unhappy, dissatisfied, or anything else you can be (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

was determined to be the perfect wife, Mommy, cook, hostess, baker and maid that I could possibly be. I was determined to be the personification of the Domesticated Housewife. I said domesticated for a reason… The tamed wild beast called “woman”, after the male’s influence and intervention, is “domesticated” much like any other animal. That’s the way several men view women in general. It still brings me to tears.. It’s what I believed my calling was. After all, wasn’t that every woman’s calling? I know that is so way off base for any normal girl. Most girls set out to see their dreams come true, and to anyone who would stand in her way?? Hell hath no fury as a woman blocked from what she wants! Except me. My dream was to serve. Seriously. My dream was to achieve absolute perfection, from the domestic view-point. I wanted my parents to be proud of me. I wanted my husband to be happy and proud of me, too.

Didn’t happen.

Ever.

“Hell hath no fury as a woman…”

With each day that passed, it became more and more apparent that my husband wasn’t happy with me, other than as a servant. I wanted him to be IN love with me, which he never was. That  was reserved for my best friend, who lived down the road. It was reserved for the younger girls who he worked with in our church’s drama group. It was reserved for every one else but me. This produced a drive in me that wasn’t a good one. I worked harder and more furiously. He would leave his week-old socks (he wore them for a week) in the middle of the living room after I cleaned it, expecting me to pick them up. I asked him to “Please put them in the laundry” and his response was the same as any other chauvinistic jack-ass…”I work all day, while you do nothing. I think it’s only fair…” This included yard work, spending time with us as a family and so on. Ok…I sense a tangent brewing. Moving on…

The harder I worked, perfectly timing everything in the house, the more demanding and gestapo-ish I became, and the more my husband viewed me as a tool. Everything was done in the house by 9am. The shades wouldn’t open until then, because I didn’t want anyone to see my house as a mess. My kids would be kids, leaving toys around. My year-old daughter would tip her bottle, just to see it drip. Cute, right?  I panicked. If I left a butter knife in the sink, unwashed and undone, I would freak. If my ex left anything out of place, I would freak. Get the picture? In my exuberance to be the perfect “whatever”, I was creating an absolute hell for myself, my family and especially my beautiful babies. In feeling like a failure in every area, quickly fighting to become something for others to be proud of, I was becoming a type of monster. I called this phase my “cleaning frenzy”. It wasn’t fun for anyone. The difference is that I recognized it. I’ve always been a prisoner to introspection and extrospection.

020My then 18 month old daughter would spill something, as normal babies and children do. I didn’t want to freak out in any way, so I handed her a towel and showed her how to clean up her own messes. Of course it wasn’t perfect. She missed a little here and there. I learned to breathe deeply, saying to myself, “It’ll wash”. This brought a sense of peace to my heart, strange as it might be. As the years have gone by, I’m not nearly as uptight about my house being spotless. I like it clean, don’t get me wrong, but I recognize that other things in life are more important. I’m ok with that to the point that I can border on being a slob! lol! I’m a housewife by nature. I’m a giver and server by nature. I honestly don’t know where I picked that up, but to serve makes me happy. Like I am making a difference for someone else.

I also recognize that try as I might, I will never be perfect. I have shortcomings. I do stupid things and make stupid decisions without thinking them through.

On the days that i find myself getting down on myself for not doing something “good enough”, my automatic response is, “It’ll wash”.

The peace that the phrase brings, is the good thing about it. There is a bad thing, too. Life is constantly fighting to hold a balance to all things. All life. All of nature. For anything good that happens, there will be something bad. For every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. It’s a law of physics and a law of nature. Ok..now that I’ve thoroughly confused you all 🙂 …

“It’ll wash”.. what that does in the negative spectrum, is allows you to push away anything negative. If the normal reaction is to get upset about something, taking a deep breath and allowing yourself to resign to, “It’ll wash” allows you to dissociate from that thing, situation or what-have-you. The bad part is in the dissociation. Left out of balance, that breeds the belief that your feelings are invalid. That situations will go away without any intervention from you. In my case, it reaffirmed what I had always been taught. I further solidified that belief. that type of life. Not good.

Left unchecked, you will find yourself further pushing anything negative away. “It’ll wash” will cause you to keep from dealing with what needs to be dealt with. Devalue. Discard. Dissociate. You put yourself in a realm of resignation. Something that becomes habitual over time, which keeps you from living. From experiencing life. From allowing yourself to grow.

There’s a place for that phrase to become a part of your thinking process. There are also places that it should be the LAST thing you resort to.

“It’ll wash”. When the house is a mess, with your kids’ toys all over the place. Lawn needs mowing, dishes need to be done, etc. etc. etc. and your toddler comes to you with a picture he/she drew. When your best friend is having a bad day. When life over-rides the mess. “It’ll wash” will allow you to keep everything in a healthy perspective for the moment. It’s in the moment that we produce lasting memories. Never something planned, and always something spontaneous.

Keep that from permeating every area of your life. Life still needs to be dealt with. However, when it’s something that you can’t change. Something that you are unable to handle for the moment, “It’ll wash” will give you that peace you need in the moment.

Take the time that your family needs to know you love and care about them…more than the house…more than work (when you are able to). Take that moment. It could mean their life, later on. It could be the deciding factor that tells your kids that they are precious to you.

It’s all in the perspective.

For the moment.

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6 thoughts on “It’ll Wash

  1. I can TOTALLY relate. I had the disease of perfectionism, too, and saying “it’ll wash” is just a band-aid. Understanding the source of our need to be perfect and learning how to love and accept ourselves fully and deeply with all of our faults and shortcomings can cure the disease. I wrote a recent post for Elephant Journal: “Letting Go of Perfect.” How coincidental!!!

    1. That disease has been a constant battle in my life. More so the balance in coming to terms with it. I have a tendency to swing to both ends of the “perfection” spectrum. Either I’m perfect or I’m not. I can either do things perfectly, or I don’t do them at all. As in many areas, the balance is the true battle. I think recognizing that we are beautiful BECAUSE of our imperfections, is the part that we need to believe above everything else. Our lives are perfect in every perfection and imperfection. It’s our own perceptions of ourselves and our own lives that bring the feelings of inadequacy. There are things that I will always battle. Viva la beautiful mess! 😀

  2. Others will only value you as much as you value yourself. How is it I can see that so clearly reading your story, but I can’t translate it into my own life? Then again, watching you learn to value yourself, I’m also learning to value myself…

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