Hidden inside the linen closet, across from the hall bathroom in the house my parents purchased in 1962, sat a faded pink hamper that played host to a daily stream of dirty socks, shirts, towels, and jeans. The image of my mother bending over the hamper, sorting the clothes into the designated "whites" and "darks" and carrying them down two flights of stairs to the laundry room 3,000 times a day is permanently emblazoned in my memory.
My mom would "oh so carefully" place the clothes into the washing machine, turn the dial to the appropriate setting based on the color, texture, style, make, and model of the garments in question, then tune in to the soaps to pass the time until the transfer from washer to dryer.
She chose the dryer cycle with the expertise born of experience, making sure nothing ever shrunk or shriveled. Then she tuned in for a relaxing hour of "As the World Turns" until the sound of the buzzer told her it was time to painstakingly remove and fold each precious item with care, lest even one member of her family of five set foot outside in wrinkled clothing.
In my own small family of three, one might think that the use of mountain climbing equipment to get to the top of the laundry pile is completely unnecessary. This is NOT the case.
I will answer with one word.
You see, with every 24-hour cycle, my 16-year old daughter Melissa seems to wear 14 tank tops, 22 sweat shirts, 39 pairs of pants, 274 sweaters, 1,345 pairs of pajamas, and 52,763 pairs of the socks.
In contrast, my loving hubby Bob, devoid of any desire to show off the latest fashions, wears the same two pairs of jeans for days on end before placing them in the "to be washed" pile.
At 6:30 am I take garments of every size, shape, color, and texture and shove them all into the washing machine together, hoping the cold water setting (which I never change) will prevent my red sweater from "bleeding" onto Bob's underpants.
Before I go to sleep that night I transfer the clothes into the dryer.
The next morning I pull the clothes I want to wear out of the dryer and leave the rest in there, telling myself I'll hang and iron them later.
Later that day Melissa takes the laundry and throws the entire unfolded, now wrinkled pile onto the top of the dryer, picks out the clothes she needs, and leaves the rest for me to fold.
That evening, I venture into the laundry room, throw in another load, steal a quick glance at the rumpled bundle still sitting on top of the dryer and - as I imagine accepting the honor as House Wife of the Year - ignore the clothes and climb into bed.
Repeat steps 1 through 5.
I have often wondered, as I routinely stare with disgust at my own, never-ending mound of dirty clothes, why my mother never demanded that my dad or any of her three children help with this daily duty.
Finally, I posed the question.
"Mom, why didn't you pick me up by the nape of my neck and make me do my own laundry?" I asked, thinking about motivational techniques to get Melissa to embrace the joys of washing her own clothes.
"Well," she sighed. "I had my routine, it was just easier to do it myself."
For the record....I DO NOT SHARE HER SENTIMENTS!
If you like my stories, please tell me in the comments section below.
We recently tried the do-it-yourself approach - it didn't take long for me to scream "Just let me do it!" I hated the way they do EVERYTHING! I like your graphic ;0)ReplyDelete
Thanks Cindy! Same here. I let Bob help once - only once! I had fun creating the graphic and I was so proud of myself for figuring out how to create it in power point an insert it into the blog!Delete
Amen to that Lisa! Sophia's chunk of the pie is just as big as Melissa's...and we have 4 people in our house! I am Queen of "redrying" the clothes before I fold them. Helps with wrinkles and keeps me warm in the winter. You can write the next blog about getting the clothes put away. I wash, dry. fold all laundry and bring it upstairs the piano bench where is person is supposed to put their clothes away. Sophia's pile grew so large it took over the piano bench, keyboard, surrounding floor, etc. And somehow she STILL managed to produce laundry!ReplyDelete
Oh my goodness, yes, a blog after NOT putting the clothes away is a great idea! Melissa's "clean" clothes are lying all over her floor! She claims she has a system for hanging them up.....but she never hangs them up!Delete
How do you solve a problem like Melissa? :) That graph made me laugh.ReplyDelete
I hope you finally come up with a (long-lasting) solution to your laundry problem. Everybody has to help in, yes :)
Hi Pepper, well I already know one solution that won't work, BOB! He tried to help once and ruined everything so now I do it myself!Delete
I am a laundry loather! I look forward to the day that I can tell my kids to do their laundry lol! They already help by sorting their clothes when it is laundry day (which means somebody ran out of school uniforms or my hubby ran out of clean underwear).ReplyDelete
You are teaching your kids a good lesson - at least they are helping! Thanks for visiting my blog!Delete
I hate doing the laundry too and I too don't sort out clothes to light and dark color. I just dump all together in 1 load in the wash and set it on COLD too... However I do get the kids to hang up the clothes after it is washed if they are at home.ReplyDelete
Dominique how do you get the kids to hang up their clothes? Melissa throws all of her clothes on a chair until I get so fed up that I make her hang them up!Delete
Very cute post! And so true! When my 3 kids were young I used to find folding clothes rather relaxing and therapeutic (perhaps because I did it after they'd all gone to bed). Now I find it tedious and overly repetitive! Do you ever find perfectly clean, folded clothes in the hamper (too lazy to put it away so it just got tossed back in the pile)? I do!! ARGHHHHH!ReplyDelete
Oh yes, Astra, I too have washed clean clothes over again because it was easier than folding them and putting them away!!Delete
Laundry is a never-ending battle here, too! As my mother did, I've been teaching all of my children to help with the laundry... certainly helps make this chore a lot easier, but I also feel I'm infusing a little responsibility and life skills. In any case, it helps keep things sane around here!ReplyDelete
Hi Barb, I figured I hit on a topic most moms can relate too! Thanks for visiting my blog!Delete
My mom was the same way and I quickly learned how fast laundry piles up after I had a baby. It was always never ending and it still is. However, I knew that I had to teach my own kids how to do this chore so that when they move out they know how to do it. Works like a charm and they are able to help keep the mountains at bay. ;)ReplyDelete
Teach your daughter how to do the laundry and I bet she won't change clothes 50 times a day because that is alot of laundry to fold and put away. hehehe
Hi Christy, she knows how...she just never does it! I just have to be more forceful with it!Delete
When I think of doing the laundry, 4 things come to my mind. 1). My mom had us throw all our dirty laundry into the washer, when it was full she'd wash it. So simple! 2). with my 11 children, I made sure they knew how to do their own laundry. No one does it for them and I am so grateful for that! 3). We never fold and put away the laundry, it just sits on top of the dryer in a basket and we grab what we need when we need it...except my husband, which brings me to 4). My husband washes, dries, folds and puts away his laundry and mine....he is definitely a keeper!ReplyDelete
Becky it sounds like your family has a great system! And you hubby....what a keeper!!!Delete