Making the Bed

8 Jul

I read once in my first year of parenting that part of caring for yourself as a mom, whose days involve responding to someone else’s needs, was to make the bed each morning.  Before doing anything else. 

It was a hard concept to grasp.  Once my daughter was awake, she required a fresh diaper, a tickle, a song, a meal, and by the time we had crept through each activity and I’d made the coffee and found a CD to fit my morning mood, cleaned the kitchen from its morning chaos, seen our eldest off to school with a packed lunch, fed the dogs, and developed a plan for leaving the apartment, I didn’t WANT to make the bed.  But here this book, which mostly seemed full of sound advice, made it sound as if failure to make the bed was failure to care for myself properly, so that until I could spare those three minutes — let the baby cry, skip the counter clearing, go barefoot into the day — I was failing myself and by extension, I was failing my family.  I have always been prone to mommy guilt, so I may have read into this advice a slant that wasn’t actually there, but six years later, the advice feels sound.

Now when I walk into the bedroom at the end of each day and see the bed in all its flattened quilt and corner-tucked beauty, I feel a sense of accomplishment, a cleansing peace, because no matter what else happened in the day — power struggles, missed deadlines, slow traffic, writer’s block, tantrums by the young and old, burnt pizza — I had started by taking the time to make things right at home, here in my bedroom, in my own personal space, for myself and for my partner. 

What happened between then and now — six years of growing, three house moves, one girl starting elementary school and the other starting college, both moms beginning new careers — what happened in that mix to shift my perspective remains a mystery.  Then again, perhaps it is not perspective at all, but only the shape of my days which has changed.  Perhaps I was never meant to make the bed until my daughter was seven-years-old and brushing her own teeth.

Whatever the cause of this colossal shift — these days, when I make the bed each morning, I am always happy I did.

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8 Responses to “Making the Bed”

  1. cindy July 8, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    we were just talking about this in my house! the act of making the bed is one thing – but getting into a bed that has been made, after a looooong day of exhaustion at work/school/gym/familytripplanning/doctorsappointments/budgetingtraumas……it makes the sleep come so much more quickly to tuck yourself into a bed that was made just 10 hours prior, than one that was all shuffled around…. Nighttime is why we struggle to make our bed in the morning 🙂 i’m sure this may all change once children come into our lives, but for now………

    thanks for this post!! xo

  2. Beth July 8, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    Love this, Roi! I have to say, thus far, I haven’t made the bed once. I think I’ll start trying.

  3. bmarie69 July 8, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    I was just talking about this last night! I rarely make the bed anymore, just hastily pull up the covers in the morning. However, I’ve been thinking lately that when I get into bed at night, crawling into a bed with tangled up sheets and flattened pillows feels like an extension of a chaotic day instead of the peaceful, comforting end to the day it should be. I think I’ll start tomorrow.

  4. rrp69 July 8, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    I love it! You guys totally rock – it makes such a difference at the end of an especially long, hard day – feels like a gift. Who knew?!? Sleep well tonight 🙂

  5. Molly July 9, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    Ha ha. Love this. It’s something we have aimed to do for years. It’s such a little thing, that has such a big impact at the end of the day.

    Just the other day I was delighted — after a really really long day, after I’d failed to take time to make the bed in the morning — to come home to see a pristine bed, fluffed pillows and straightened out sheets.

    So glad Sim values the same little bit of order amid all the chaos of the day.

    • rrp69 July 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

      Mmmm. Love it.

  6. Veril July 15, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Well, my darling daughter — you had no way of knowing how touching this post would be for me. My temptation every morning is not to make the bed, but Doris would haunt me if I didn’t!! Good thing, because every day whenever I enter the bedroom — late morning, early afternoon, late at night when I’m ready to throw back the covers — I rejoice that I have an attractive bedroom and well made bed to crawl into. I sleep well. Thanks for the beautiful post.

    • rrp69 July 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

      You’re gonna make me cry. Thank you, Dad.

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