I have a friend who has claimed on more than one occasion that her favorite domestic chore is laundry. Why? “Because it’s the one thing I can actually finish. It has a beginning and end. Every other household task seems endless.” I have never been able to wrap my brain around this, because although I agree that “every…household task seems endless,” to me, laundry fits into this same category. I respect this friend, who has as many children as I do, and trust that her method is much more efficient than mine. I tend to do my laundry in bulk — several days of keeping up with it, several days of ignoring it. If I had a more persistent mindset about laundry (two loads each day would probably help me keep up with washing clothes for seven), I’d be better off. But there are so many other things that need tending to as well. I choose my battles and select my obligations each day, depending on what seems most urgent. Usually, it works out okay.
I was tempted to take a photo of my laundry mountain and share it with the world, but at the moment it’s actually gone down a few feet. Rest assured, in a few days the dirty clothes from my family will be piled halfway to the ceiling again. Just imagine, if you will, three or so days’ worth of laundry for seven people in one pile: a few towels each, perhaps a pillowcase or two, undearwear, shirts, pants, pajamas, a soiled blanket, kitchen towels and rags, all heaped in one big lump (forget about the tiny little canvas three-pouch sorter I picked up a few months ago; it had to have been made for a single person).
One of the biggest factors for me in choosing our current home was, in fact, the laundry room. Our former home had one small laundry nook in the bathroom. It was separated from the rest of the bathroom with a shower curtain. I would get panic attacks each time I opened that shower curtain. My current laundry room is a true blessing. There is a clothes rack, where my kids’ school uniforms hang, and shelves where baskets of clean, folded clothes are kept. Although clean clothes occasionally make it to bedroom drawers, for the most part we work right out of the laundry room. It might not be status quo, but it’s a system that works for us.
For today, I’ll end on that note: the gratitude I feel for my laundry room, and for that fact that our children have clothes to wear, and, even beyond that, that I have children who need clothes. It’s tempting to focus on the mountain — the laundry mountain in this case. And sometimes I still walk into my laundry room and gulp audibly. But always, a contrasting thought can offset the panic. In parenting, as with anything else, it’s important we approach our challenges one task, one section of the mountain, at a time.
Today, if you must do laundry, I hope you will find a moment to consider how fortunate you are.