Everyday Balance: A Laundry Revelation
I’ve written many times about laundry over the years. Mostly when I write the word “Laundry” I really use it as a euphemism for “Every Household Chore I Hate But Can’t Escape Because It Never, Ever, Ever Ends.”
But this blog post is about the actual, literal laundry.
Before I adopted my 3rd child, I could wash, fold and put away every piece of laundry in my house in two days. That left 5 laundry-free days every single week. I seriously did laundry only on Monday and Tuesday. That was it. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t talk about it (that much). It didn’t consume my very being.
But something happened when Elliana—little 13-month-old, 24-lb Elliana—entered the picture. Laundry Days became Laundry Life. It was like something with that 3rd child just threw me over the Laundry Edge.
I know the math doesn’t compute. A 13-month-old child does not A Laundry Life make. I don’t get it. My friends don’t get it. I’ve had actual, real-life friends (Lisa B. and her husband) make fun of me because I talk so much about Laundry consuming my life.
(And just so you know, Lisa B.’s husband is my therapist.)
(Well, ONE of my therapists. I have more than one.)
(You know when your therapist and his wife make fun of you, you have serious issues.)
(And you also have serious issues if you have more than one therapist.)
Anyway, this summer, I decided it was time for my oldest daughter to learn to do her very own laundry. She’s in high school now and I vaguely remember learning real-life responsibilities in high school. So, I took her to Target and let her select her very own color-coordinated hamper and basket. I instructed her on the proper method of sorting. I explained the various washing and drying options. I allowed her use of the laundry room for an entire day each week. And I went about my life with the rest of the house to run.
And something miraculous happened.
Laundry Life became Laundry Days again! I’m not even kidding you. I’m sitting here on a Tuesday Freaking Morning completely caught up on my laundry.
I mean, how does this happen? Is there a law of physics I’m not aware of? A Laundry Law? A LAWNDRY? I was a Communication Major—I’m not even sure what physics is. So, what am I missing?
My daughter, on the other hand, has not yet mastered the art of folding and/or hanging her clean laundry. I’m not even sure she knows which of the items on her floor are the clean ones or the dirty ones. Let’s just say, she’s got some kinks to work out of her system. And if I think about it for too long, I may very well march up there and fix it all for her. Which may very well defeat the whole point of delegation.
The important thing here is that my theory is correct. It truly WAS the 3rd kid that put me over the Laundry Edge! It wasn’t the youngest child, necessarily. It was ANY 3rd child.
Lawndry of Physics:
>/= 2 Children = Laundry Days
< 2 Children = Laundry Life
The other important thing here is that, not only have I eliminated days (!) of housework, but I think I’ve also eliminated my need for therapy. Or perhaps the need for ONE of my therapists. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
(I fully expect to hear from every mom of 4 or more children. I can only imagine your Laundry Lives and your Laundry Edges. I’m so very sorry. I weep for you. My only advice is to delegate as soon as possible. And when they don’t fold or hang or put away and every item of clothing they own is strewn on their bedroom floor—don’t rescue! Just keep the bedroom door closed. That’s what I do.)
Oh, closing those bedroom doors was a hard challenge for me. I’m glad you are staying strong and enjoying that laundry free time.
PS I am impressed with the math equations from a communications major!
I am getting a lot of practice with the math equations because I’m pretty much re-taking 6th grade math–thanks to my son. Good times.
Lawndry = TRUTH
Except I eliminated a laundry life by:
A. Refusing to do any child’s laundry older than 12. Which meant many, many weeks my daughter(s) wore stinky, dirty, stained, sweat-stiffened (or just the wrong) soccer uniform.
–this didn’t actually work for girls learning laundry until my mom went 9 months without visiting… If mom won’t wash your clothes, ask Grandma.
B. refusing to wash any clothes that were not in correct person’s basket placed in the laundry room or hall on laundry days (Monday& Wednesday). I gave each person a basket. I wash, dry & place back in basket. You fold, hang, put away. If the same laundry is there & hasn’t been worn, you learn to wash before 12!
C. When all else fails, hire a maid who does laundry. Mine does about 12 loads a week :/ However, I don’t. 😀
Wow. You are hard-core. I’m impressed.
Your articles just crack me up. Honest to goodness girl, you can find humor in the most mundane things and make it almost exciting. Keep writing, we love you!
Jerrie, you are so stinking encouraging. Thank you.
My wife does laundry most everyday. Our family generates alot of laundry. Last year I did some math on how much laundry she had done since we had been married and we took her out to eat and celebrated her doing 25,000 loads of laundry. An average of about 2 loads a day is what she ends up doing. There is beauty in doing the mundane day after day.
25,000 loads. That sounds about right. And you are a good man to notice it. You are a GREAT man to celebrate it.