Monday, February 7, 2011
I used to have HUGE control issues with laundry. As our family grew, it got crazier. I taught my children, from a very young age, how to do the laundry--how to use the machines, how much detergent to use, which buttons to push, etc., but as far as letting them do their own, I honestly couldn't figure out how to detach myself from the never-ending spin cycle. I HAD to do it. Our machines hardly ever rested. It was a daily chore. How was I ever going to let someone else into my chaos.
As I struggled more and more and became more and more resentful of the washer and dryer (that became increasingly inefficient), I knew something HAD to give. There had to be something I was missing.
It was at this point that I re-learned a lesson that I'm sure I had learned and re-learned ever since I became a mom. It was--"Never do for a child what that child can do for himself." In order to free myself from this crazy way of doing things, I had to hand some of it over to them.
So, here's the plan. Every child who is in middle school and older does his/her own laundry. They each have their own day. I get Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and I do the laundry for the Warden and Inmates #4 and younger. I also do most of the towels and other household items, but they know that if they have room for more items in a load, they can throw in towels, blankets, sheets, or whatever they can find in the laundry room that might need washing.
Inmate #1 has Tuesdays; #2 has Thursdays; #3 has Fridays. We are to be done and out of the laundry room by midnight each day. As of next year, #4 will have Wednesdays; he has already expressed his anxiety of going to middle school. When I asked him why, he replied with something I didn't expect, it wasn't worry about going to another school, it was, "Because then I have to do my own laundry."
At this point, I know there have been weeks when they've forgotten to do their laundry. I know there have been times when they've run out of clean clothes, and darn it, I know they've not folded things at times, but the beautiful thing is.....It's not my problem! That's what I love about it.
In the past, on my days, I've taught the little ones how to throw a load into the wash. I've kind of let this go, but I need to reimplement this way of doing things. #s 4 and 5 know how, but I don't ask them to do it very often. That's going to change--today. Won't they be excited when they get home?
Oh, the other thing we do is that I don't put one load of laundry away except for sometimes (very rarely) my own. If I'm willing to wash, dry and fold, they get to put away.
The one thing I noticed, when we started doing things this way, was that laundry actually had an end. I was able to cut ties with the laundry room. It was amazing how liberated I felt.
Posted by Julie Hess at 9:27 AM