Friday, January 8, 2010

I Think I've Died and Gone to Heaven (I just didn't know this was where it was)

A number of months ago, for any of you that remember reading it, I was going nuts about laundry....Remember?

I tried everything to hold onto my control of everyone's clothing and all that needed to be done with it.  I fought everyone's urging to let my children control their own.  I had some serious issues with this, and now that I look at it, must have felt that the world would end or the rotation of the earth would somehow be altered, if I let go of my control.

I finally gave in about a month ago.  It just so happened that for the umpteenth (I've always wanted to write that) time, I felt like the queen of the world as the laundry was, as far as I could see, all done.  Then the kids cleaned their rooms, and the piles filled the room, and it started all over again.  Uggghhhhh!  Something had to give, so I relented.  As an experiment, I handed some of the control over.

Now, you have to understand that all of my children (except the three year old and the baby) know how to throw a load of laundry in.  They know how to sort it, how to put it in the dryer and how to fold it and put it away (even the three-year-old can do this), but given too much control, I knew they'd leave it sit in the washer until it was moldy or someone else wanted to use the washer; or they'd leave it in the dryer and let everything wrinkle until it was an unrecognizable mass; or they'd throw the clean clothes into the corner of a bedroom unfolded and leave them there until it was time to do laundry again, and the insanity would start all over again.  I had nightmares about all of these scenarios.

So, the assignments were given in a way I could live with.  I have access to the laundry room on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  I do laundry for me, my husband, and the four youngest children.  I also have the basic household items that need to be laundered.  The children that are middle school and up each have a day--Q has Tuesday, G has Thursday, and DJ has Friday.  I have not shared with them my concerns--they do not know that I break out in a cold sweat as I watch each of them haul their over-stuffed laundry hampers up the stairs.  They do know, however, that by midnight on their given day, their laundry must be completely removed from the laundry room.

I have decided since the beginning of this that I need to let go of some of that anxiety.  Who cares if they go to school wearing clothing that's been wadded up with the garbage in the corner of their bedroom?  So far this hasn't happened, I'm happy to say, but I guess they've decided that having people want to be around them is worth their time and effort.  Let's hope this continues.

I didn't realize the effect it would have on me, though.  I quickly learned that before handing this over, laundry never ended for me.  It was always there; always growing; never ending; even when it was done, it wasn't done.  The great thing is that, on my days, my laundry has to be out of there by midnight too.  I have an ending point.  I have days when I don't even have to go in there.  Wow!  It's pretty danged heavenly!  The other great thing is that my laundry never overflows the baskets.  It says sorted when I sort it, and it gets done by about midday every time.  Ahhhhh!  I love it!


Alyson said...

Excellent progress you've made. :) I'm glad it's working out!

Tonya said...

Such a great idea. I have NEVER handed over responsibilty for laundry for the exact same fears you have described. It would make me crazy to have moldy laundry and a full washer and dryer if I needed it. But the rules you have attached are brilliant. BRILLIANT!!! My mind is whirling about how to implement this in our home. B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T, I tell ya!

Unknown said...

I like this a lot. I don't remember the hand-off in my laundry days, but I do remember being ready and wanting to do it myself around age 12. I will ask my mom how she did it. I am keeping this stored in the back of my motherhood mind for when my kiddos are old enough. 6 feels a bit too young, but she is tall enough!

Small House said...

Laundry, sweet laundry. AUGH!!!

Alesha said...

I have been trying to decided on how to get a grip with all the laundry. I have tried that, however the problem I found is that I have to many that are just to young still. I think I might make Kayla do hers, but I think I may have to stick with my minimum 4 loads a day to keep up problem. I can't wait for the days when some more can do their own as well. Me and Jason even talk about a dream of having two laundry sets so more people can do their own and keep up with it all. Anyone can dream,right! I am glad that it has worked for you now.

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