Do more, be more?

I have stopped folding my kids’ clean clothes before I put them away in their chest of drawers. There. I admit it. I just put them into piles — shirts, socks/underwear, pants, pajamas — shove them in the drawer and move on with my life.

I did fold Jack’s clothes when he was really little and when I was still a naïve, inexperienced mother. But after the millionth time of opening the drawer to a mess of onesies, I realized that Ben was not going to respect the order that I spent time creating with each load of laundry and that he didn’t care about my Suzy Homemaker flex, tucking those little pants and snap-bottom bodysuits into small squares and rectangles.

This picture was taken 15 days ago. I am still finding shreds of tissue paper in the house and those window clings behind Ellie are still right there.

As he got older, Jack started pulling his clothes out of the drawer and putting them in a pile on the floor for fun. It must be genetic, because Ellie and Gus have started the same practice.

I finally just gave up. Now all three of the kids’ clothes are in one chest of drawers.

“Do more, be more” is what I have always heard. The more you take on, the more you become. I think there is some truth to this in that the more you do, the more you learn and experience leading you to becoming more.

But there is a difference between doing more and taking on more. Am I  doing more park days with the kids? Or am I taking on more to be a the perfect mom/wife/advocate/writer/etc. and forgetting that perfect is a mirage?

My husband has been on me for a while to do less. He says it will allow me to be more. More present, more focused, more relaxed, more happy.

I admit that I get frustrated when the Great Bedtime Race is on each night and I am on my feet folding the 30th load of laundry for the day while preparing backpacks and he is in the recliner, covered in kids and reading bedtime stories. In the moment, I think, “If he would do more, then I could do less.”

After reflection, I realize that I have most likely set some really high achievement bars during the day that have me tired, annoyed and no better off than if I would have settled for an average performance rather than pretending that I am in the running for Mom of the Year.

I have to ask myself: Who is doing more in those moments before bedtime?

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