Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mommy Triage

The situation in my laundry room reached a critical state several days ago. By this morning I had to literally walk across a floor covered by least one foot of laundry to reach the washer.

It was time to triage.

Sheets, blankets and towels: low priority. Everything of my son's, though possibly the most dirty items in the room, could also wait. After all, thanks to an abundance of hand-me-downs and generous grandparents, he has more clothes than my husband and me combined. You know where I'm going here: underwear. Underwear had to be at the top of the list. Unless, that is, if we wanted to go commando tomorrow.


Merriam-Webster defines triage as:

1 a: the sorting of and allocation of treatment to patients and especially battle and disaster victims according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors b: the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care
2: the assigning of priority order to projects on the basis of where funds and other resources can be best used, are most needed, or are most likely to achieve success.


While I know there are times that we feel like we are dealing with battles and disasters, I think the second definition is most applicable here. I mean, isn't that what moms--and some dads, too--do every moment of every day?

Two kids are crying. Which one needs you the most or is most likely to be comforted quickly allowing you to move on to the next? The bills are due but you don't have enough money to pay everything now. Which can be pushed back a week or two? Clean the house or get on the (dirty) floor and play with your child? Which will have the best long-term reward?

There are never enough resources--time, money, energy, even hands--to accomplish everything we need to do each hour, day or week. I think that often, without even realizing it, most moms are mentally performing triage on daily life. I know I am.

Original post to DC Metro Moms. When Aimee Olivo isn't ignoring doing laundry. She blogs at


Stimey said...
This is a great post. That is exactly what we do every day!

amy said...
Hi-I was hoping you could spread the word about this great opportunity. Freelance writing about shopping in the DC area. Thanks

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Diana Funk said in reply to amy ...
This is really inappropriate. What about a comment for Aimee's funny post?

Ames T. Philips said in reply to amy ...

Please stop shilling your "opportunity" like this. This is not the appropriate venue for that.


FishyGirl said...
Absolutely. Every second of every day. You know what? I can't NOT do it. My laundry MUST be sorted or I can't do it. Whereas my husband, when he does laundry, just kinda throws in whatever's on top, so we end up with a clean blanket and a bunch of dish towels, but no underwear. Great post.

Mom on the Run said...
Laundry pile...I mean laundry floor. That's it I'll leave all laundry on the floor and then call it the floor. We'll use what clothes we have left. Kind of like in Henry the VIIIth's time where everyone would throw bones and trash on the floor and then servants would put a lyaer of straw on top.

Jessica McFadden said...
I can completely relate. You just described my laundry...and my life!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

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