How to screw up the laundry at home, a comprehensive guide.
OK so maybe this isn’t an all-inclusive, super secret handbook on how to screw up the laundry system at your house, but it might be a good substitute until someone decides to write that book. It won’t be me though, I’m the girl still working on last month’s laundry pile-up.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
So how does it go down in your house, the laundry? Does one adult bear the whole burden of the household (and man, sometimes it feels like a burden), or is there a fair amount of shared responsibility? I think laundry can be one of the stickier points in the early years of marriage, right along with who’s responsible for the dinner dishes (hint: not me). I’m super curious how it all breaks down in your house. If you’re in college, I’m a little jealous of your small laundry pile, but not even sort of envious of your quarter-hoarding-for-the-washing-machines-babysitting-laundry-for-6-hours-at-a-time-if-you-leave-the-laundry-room-someone-will-take-your-laundry-out-and-put-it-on-the-dirty-floor stage of laundry life.
That’s just messed up.
If you’re a parent, let’s have a moment of silence, shall we? A quiet remembrance of our pre-baby laundry lives, the likes of which we may never see again. Those were the glory days, the salad days (name that movie), the pre-diarrhea-up-the-back-of-the-onesie, barf down your shirt, new MAC lipstick artistically colored on your favorite white top days. There’s no how-to guide handed out with the kid to tell you exactly what chemical warfare you need to wage on those white onesies to get the brown out.
Kid laundry is no joke, but I’ve always been lucky enough to have a washing machine in our home with small babies. Those laundry years can be rough on a person’s psyche, and I genuinely don’t know how people do it without a machine in house. If this is you, or has ever been you, I’m holding my hand over my heart in green diarrhea stained onesie solidarity. I feel that pain.
In our house things have gone in starts and stops. The stages of life change so fluidly it’s hard to know who’s a kid anymore and who’s a 13-year-old, emancipated from the likes of any parent future, past, or present. NOT NAMING NAMES.
Here’s a basic breakdown of our cycle of laundry life, aka
How to screw up the laundry at home:
- Newlywed phase: it’s so adorable we’re sharing laundry!
- Not as newlywed: wash your own damned clothes.
- Early parenting years: is there any clean laundry in the house? none? okay cool, no one will notice if I go to a lunch meeting in my old black business suit with breast-milk leaking down the front and a white spit up stain covering the whole of my right shoulder. the baby somehow exploded some nuclear green poop on my white shirt? the breast-milk stain will wash it out. ish.
- Elementary school parenting years: WHERE IS THE CLEAN SOCCER JERSEY?! YOU’RE WEARING THE RED ONE TODAY, WHY IS IT STILL MUDDY? WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE ONLY HAVE ONE GOOD PAIR OF SOCCER SOCKS? Never mind, just roll around in the dirt the first few minutes of play; no one will ever know you weren’t clean to start with.
- Late Elementary: It’s time to have the talk. Your father and I have been meaning to share some really important life information with you. It might feel scary at first, but we’re trying to protect you in the long run. Know that we love you, and no question is a wrong one. Now. You MUST separate the whites from the darks. No matter what. You can always call, no matter what time of night, no questions asked, and we will help. Do NOT wash your whites and darks in the same load.
- Junior High years: When was the last time you wore clean underwear? Never mind, no, I don’t want to know. How many days has it been since your last shower? And you brushed your teeth, oh, sometime last week? So the laundry situation, it’s, uh. Are ANY of the clothes on your floor wearable? DO YOUR LAUNDRY OR YOU’RE GROUNDED.
After that it’s into high school (please see above re: junior high) and then straight into the college years. My personal evolution of laundry was pretty screwed up. I never really learned how to do it, I just started washing my own stuff in 4th grade so I’d have something clean to wear. I became less and less picky as the years waned on, and somehow in my mid-thirties I’m finally worried about separating colors and air drying my jeans.
Still, when my 8-year-old offered to do the laundry while I was packing for Europe, I totally took him up on it, and wore my blue-y, greige, used-to-be-nude-bra all over France.
p.s. bonus points if you get the Gleaming the Cube reference.
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