I Had a Nervous Breakdown Over Laundry


I'm just a girl, standing in front of her laundry, asking it to fold itself.As mothers, we all have our thing that we absolutely hate doing, right?

For some, it might be cooking, or vacuuming, or emptying the dishwasher, or doing a craft, or scheduling doctor’s appointments. For me, it is folding and putting away laundry.

I know, conceptually, that I can fold an entire basket of clothes during an hour-long show. I also know, conceptually, that it will take less than 10 minutes to put away the folded clothes. Despite that knowledge, folding and putting away laundry is the first thing to fall off the wagon when life gets a little hectic. I’m a wife, mother, full-time corporate employee, and a homeowner. Guess how frequently my life gets hectic?

The pile of folded clothes had been sitting on the chair in our bedroom for over a week.

I finally snapped. Crying, I told my husband all the things that the pile of clothes had been taunting me with over that week:

A good mom would make putting me away a priority.

A good wife would have taken care of this immediately.

You can’t handle all of your responsibilities.

You’re a failure.

Even though I knew those fears weren’t true, I listened to them, fretted over them, and wondered if maybe they actually were true. After a completely innocent, unrelated comment from my husband, they all came sputtering out.

You know how sometimes you see a strange shadow on the wall that freaks you out, so you work up your courage to turn on the light…and it winds up being something tiny and mundane? That’s what happened when I finally shared those fears with my husband. They became smaller and less intimidating when I spoke them. 

Incidentally, I found myself wondering why it had taken me so long to share them, and I felt a little silly that I’d wasted so much time silently struggling against them on my own. 

What would have happened if I had talked about it to my husband or my best friend when I first had the fear instead of letting it fester?

That’s what I’m trying to do now. When I notice one of those fears of inadequacy creeping in because, perhaps, more laundry needs to be put away, I’m experimenting with bringing them to the light sooner. It certainly does not mean my laundry is put away, but it means, so far, that I’m ok with that.