Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Confession: The Unmade Bed

When it comes to the task of making beds, there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who make their beds religiously, unless they are so sick they can't get out of them, and those who just can't be bothered.

I fall squarely in the latter category. (Sorry, Mom!)

Somehow I have an enormous blind spot in my OCD tendencies when it comes to making the bed.

Growing up, I was taught to make my bed every morning, but as soon as I was a teenager and got my own room in the basement, my true bed-making (or non-bed-making) nature emerged. I was always in a rush to get out of the house in the morning, and by the time I got home, what was the point? It was almost time to crawl back under the covers anyway.

Wash the sheets, sure. I wash almost every week because I love clean sheets on the bed. But pull up the sheets and smooth out the comforter every morning? That's a challenge for me.

I've reformed several times. First when I went off to college and shared a dorm room. Then, when I got married, because I was a grownup now and grownups make their beds every day, right?

Truth is, the tiny place we first lived in had a lot to do with it. As soon as we got a big enough place that I could just shut the bedroom door, I backslid again.

My next big reform came after I had my first child. I was trying to set a good example. But the sleepless nights and morning rush to daycare and work soon put an end to that effort.

Shortly after the triplets came along, we moved Amelia to a big girl bed. And then I really tried to shape up and make her bed as well as mine. After all, it was my job to set a good example.

I could not have picked a worse time for reform. My attempt clearly shows how badly clouded my thinking was. Between nursing round-the-clock and maintaining a pumping schedule that could qualify as an extreme sport, I got back under the covers every chance I could. And I certainly didn't have time to be making the bed 10 times a day.

So I closed my bedroom door and made Amelia's bed, more or less, most days, sort of. OK, so her bed mostly went unmade, too, but if it didn't need to be fed or changed it didn't get much attention around here when the boys were tiny.

Now I find myself in the mood for reform once again. But this time I might just be successful. Because this time I'm motivated by the need to regain a little control around here. So now my perfectly made bed is an island of calm is a swirling sea of chaos. It is a small victory in the larger battle to keep the house from sinking entirely into the morass.

True, it makes no sense to make the bed that no one will ever see instead of spending those 10 minutes on laundry, cooking or cleaning a part of the house we actually live in. But I have discovered something about making the bed.

It stays done longer than anything else in this house.

The laundry regenerates so quickly I sometimes wonder if it hasn't taken on a life of its own. Meals are eaten as soon as they are cooked, and sometimes even before, leaving more dishes in their wake. Diapers are the very definition of perpetual. And I think the toys are picking up some tips from the laundry.

But the bed. The bed gets made in the morning, and it doesn't have to be remade all day. It doesn't get dirty as fast as it gets clean. It doesn't have to be picked up three times a day. It doesn't need changing in triplicate.

Sometimes it stays made as long as 16 hours.

Which is 15 hours and 59 minutes longer than anything else around here.

These days, that's my definition of victory.


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Suz said...

And something else: the bed is probably the biggest thing in your bedroom (in the past year)(snorting with laughter)(waiting for laser beam eyeballs to shoot from my monitor), so it probably makes your room look monstrous-huge to have the blankets pulled up nice & neat.

Wish I could follow your example. Dh is usually still in our bed when I'm rolling out the door with the chix....

dw said...

I remember that un-made bed in the basement...and the clothes on the floor and the piles of books in the corners... :)

I voted. Your blog--and your writing--will always be number one in my world.