The Load of Laundry That Broke Me


woman upset resting her head on a heaping load of clothes in a laundry basket

I could hear my kids playing in the living room, the noise of their toy firetrucks whirling telling me that they were safely occupied. I thought to myself, Whew, I can get dressed in peace this morning. Then, I came out of my room and saw the heap of clothes in the middle of the floor—the clean clothes I had spent an hour folding the night before, the clothes I had set on a counter where I wrongfully assumed they would be safe until I could put them away. Seeing them lumped and messy and knowing that I would have to re-fold them (because my kids are too young to do this) broke me.

I walked into the kitchen and sat in the corner, covered my face with my hands and cried big and heaving sobs, feeling sorry for myself over a load of laundry. It sounds ridiculous now, but I bet you’ve been there, and if you haven’t, you will be one day. Maybe it won’t be over a load of laundry, but your children will do something that temporarily wallops you.

Leading up to my breaking point, I’d been enduring for weeks the whiny phase of an eighteen-month-old and the rebellious streak of a threenager. The background music of my life was a maddening mix of whimpers, shrieks, and nasally demands. My body was going into sensory overload from my kids clinging, pulling, and prodding me twelve hours a day, and my oldest had decided to drop her nap, which meant I had absolutely no downtime. While I was getting dressed that morning, I learned that my husband’s flight was delayed, and I’d be on my own for longer than I was mentally prepared. Then I saw that mountain of laundry jumbled on the floor, and I broke.

I felt defeated, and I felt exhausted. It’s already enough work to care for children without having to do chores over again. I think about the parents of kids with special needs, and I don’t know how they do it. Managing the regular stuff can be draining, let alone the scary stuff.

So, it momentarily broke me, and it’s okay if it breaks you, too. Parenting isn’t always fun, and it’s not useful to think that it should be. We’re helping these little people navigate the world, and we’re forging relationships with them as we do it. That takes a lot of work for all involved, and there are going to be bumps along the way. I’m cutting myself some slack, and I hope you give yourself some, too. The benefits of raising a family far outweigh the negatives, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need a break sometimes in order to not, well, not break.


Editor’s note: This article originally published on June 23, 2016, and was lightly edited prior to republishing. 

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Rebecca is the former Managing Editor for both Mid-Peninsula Moms Blog and San Francisco Moms Blog. She and her husband moved to San Francisco from the East Coast in 2008 and love raising their two children in the city. Rebecca worked for two Fortune 500 companies in a variety of HR roles before surprising everyone, including herself, and leaving her job to stay home with her kids. She's written for a variety of online parenting publications including Scary Mommy, Motherly, and YourTango, but promises that she can talk about non-parenting stuff in real life. Follow her on social media at @rlang165 and on


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