The two constants in my life are laundry and dishes, the true NeverEnding Story of anyone in charge of a household.
Likewise, I feel I am forever searching for The Secret or The Quest or The Answer to The Laundry. After many years of fruitless searching and with almost all hope lost, I am beginning to think the Nothing will win after all…
Without a powerful relic or small boy with a secret name to solve all my problems, I’ve had to accept that Laundry will continue to be a NeverEnding problem for the rest of my life. So, what’s a parent to do? I can’t pay someone else unless it’s a laundromat and I fork over $20/clothing item. I can’t buy new clothes instead of washing the dirty ones because we need money for food. I can’t force the children to wear the same outfit over and over since we have all boys.
Guess we’ll go through it.
But. But. We hardly need to go it alone. In the words of a former neighbor who birthed 11 children: if a child is old enough to dress himself, he’s old enough to operate a washing machine.
In my experience, this is true. Some of mine have needed a lot more help than others, but they can at least dump the soap in and push the right buttons. It’s not like they have to beat the garments on rocks and keep lye from getting in their eyes, after all.
I’ve even started a family rule that everyone is in charge of his own laundry starting at age 10. All I had to do was show the old-enough child how to start a load, what clothing not to mix, and how much soap to use. Then, all I’ve had to do is remind them every single time their hamper is full that it’s time to wash the clothes.
Still, it’s progress. They’re learning life skills. And, they’re screwing up their own clothes when they ignore what I taught them.
Wikimedia Commons, By Michael Kleinhenz from Bonn, Germany
© 2019 Chelsea Owens
Brain -can’t think
Mom -on brink
©2019 Chelsea Owens
I beg, I whine, I plead, I bribe,
I even fib a bit.
Yet; with the chores list, ev’ry time
I always see through it.
©2019 Chelsea Owens
The kitchen floor detests my mop;
It’s been on strike all year.
The great room carpet, as you see,
Has developed vacuum fears.
Meanwhile, the toilets, yellowed raw
Fear brush and boy alike;
While nearby sink and faucet friends
See sponge and yell out, “Yikes!”
The piles and piles (and piles) upstairs
Of clothes shy from my hand.
Our blankets, sheets, and pillowed beds
Won’t lay as I demand.
And so, you see, oh dearest spouse
I’ve tried hard as hard can be.
One simply cannot fight a house
Nor law of entropy.
The Creative Exchange
Toys are so overrated. And expensive. And messy!
The kids play with them for about five hours less than the time they play with the box it came in. Our stomachs growl in hunger for the lunch we skipped to pay for that toy (and its box). Then, to add insult to injury, we find the toy and its brothers everywhere.
And so, I have concluded that we need to no longer fund this operation. My husband decided that long ago, and continually reminds me of this resolve every time he has to walk in the house.
I’ll hear his voice from the boys’ rooms: Who left all these Legos on the floor! We need to put these all away till they learn to clean up!
Then there was the time of The Battle of the Art Cupboard. I’d hear everything from, Who painted the floor? to Who didn’t clean up after his papier-mâché? to Why is there confetti all over?
I tried. Sort-of. I limited birthdays and Christmases to number and cost. I encouraged thrift and order. I devoted about a decade to teaching (yelling at) our miniature houseguests the meaning of “Clean up.” I cleaned on my own; again and again and again.
In frustration, I moved most of the mess out of general sight and set up a toy room in our unfinished basement.
As my husband and I snuggled in to immediately fall asleep all romantic-like, he said, We need to keep the kids’ toys in their closets. The basement is getting too messy.
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay