Tuesday, December 6, 2011

negotiating with myself on washless weekends

Just to clarify the title: this is not about not bathing on the weekend. Please, shower regularly.

When Little E arrived I heeded the advice to let everything in the house slide and focus on adjusting. I remember the day I finally managed to squeeze one load of laundry into the routine - I was on top of the mound! Gradually, the number of loads I could finish on a good day grew and life resumed a new "normalcy" that did not include letting the house become a complete health hazard. If I remember correctly, five loads is my personal best.

Now, as a SAHM, life is pretty consistent 24/7 - at least demands, expectations, and responsibilities are pretty much the same. So, the alarm clock (read: Little E) goes off somewhere between 5-6 AM and we start the daily pattern - Sunday through Saturday (read: no weekend). I needed something to make Saturday and Sunday a bit more of a "non-work" time.
Taking care of Little E is a lot more fun and definitely easier when Hubby is home, but for some reason my psyche needed a clear boundary. So, I instituted "No Wash Weekends." No laundry is done (washing, drying, folding, or ironing) on Saturdays or Sunday.

Since I instituted the policy, I've only done laundry on two weekends - when we returned home from Chicago a couple weekends ago and when we returned home from Thanksgiving. If I hadn't, Little E would've been creeping around naked and my Monday of laundry would've been insurmountable. This brings me to my point - which, granted, is a long distance from this discussion, but useful - conflict negotiations and the difference between positions and interests.

Looking for little ways to create balance in your life? Start negotiating with yourself. Determine what your positions are (what things will you absolutely not do) but be sure to also articulate why that position is necessary (i.e. - your "interests" - what are you hoping to achieve by committing to this position?). That way, when you have a challenge to your position, you can identify if it is worth negotiating or if it is a detrimental distraction.

For example:
My position: I will not do laundry on Saturday or Sunday.
My interest: Keeping my sanity and enjoying time with the family.
Therefore: When my sanity is threatened by an unusual event that creates more laundry than usual during the weekend (read: any person has a chance of walking/crawling around naked for the weekend), it may behoove me and my family to make an exception. If it cannot all be accomplished on Monday in a timely fashion, the need is stronger.

There. I never thought I'd use a master's degree in conflict studies for determining household management. But, I have.


  1. Nice job! As a fellow conflict studies grad, I think your application was thorough, succinct and compelling - I like!

  2. Thanks - I'll admit it's a stretch, but I gotta put that degree to use somehow. :)