The laundry started to pile up last weekend. My type A personality aims to wash, dry and fold at least one load of laundry per day to avoid an overrun of dirty laundry but the days became busier and busier and the laundry piled higher and higher. There are four laundry baskets rationed among the six people in our home. The problem with children is that they go through clothing at a much quicker pace than adults. Pee, poo, spilled milk, paint, snot and the like will typically contribute to a greater need for multiple outfit changes throughout the day. Cue the need for a daily laundry session to calm my fear of disorganization and chaos. To make matters worse, if you have a Fancy Nancy in your house like my three year old, the laundry piles up even more. The problem with a Fancy Nancy is that although his/her parents will only allow one outfit change per day, they conveniently create an issue with their clothing to give you no choice but to change their clothes. For example:
Fancy Nancy: “Mommy, can I change my shirt? This one isn’t sparkly enough.”
Me: “No, honey. This is what you are wearing today.”
Several minutes later, Fancy Nancy prances to the bathroom
Fancy Nancy: “Mommy, my shirt is all wet. I tried to wash my hands but the water got all over me. Now can I change my shirt?”
Me: “Alright you sneaky shit head.”
Note that ‘shit head’ is whispered under my breath.
And so, the laundry piles up even more.
As parents, the days and weeks can get jammed packed with things that leave little time for laundry, cleaning and meal preparation. Before you know it, you’re staring inside your empty fridge contemplating if dill pickles and slightly expired yogurt could qualify as dinner. Unfortunately, this is the reality for most of us parents. We have those weeks when you just can’t seem to keep your head above water. You look around your house and pray that you have no unexpected visitors because every room looks like a disaster hit, yet you don’t have the energy to pick it up at the end of a very long and stressful day. And so, the laundry piles up until one day, your son tells you five minutes before going to school that he has no clean underwear left in his drawer. You consider letting him borrow some of your older daughter’s Hello Kitty underwear but figure it’s a better call for him to wear some clean looking, day old underwear of his own. After he heads off to school in his slightly dirty underwear, you make it your number one priority to throw a load of laundry into the washing machine, even if it’s during peak electricity time. Slowly but surely, that laundry gets through the wash, hangs out in the dryer for a day or so while your kids pick out the clean clothing that they need each morning. You finally find a bit of time to haul the rest of the clothing out of the dryer where it stays in your bedroom in the laundry basket for another day or two. The basket gets torn apart as your kids search for more required clothing items. Then finally, one night, you finally get the energy to get some chores done. That laundry is folded and put away where it belongs and your children have clean underwear back in their drawer, at least for now.
As parents, we need to give ourselves a break every once in a while. There are days and weeks when you feel like you’re drowning and hate that you can’t even make your children a healthy dinner or provide them with clean clothing but you will find the time and energy to do so in a day or two. Want to know the best part? Your kids could care less if their bathroom is less than sparkling and find pleasure in rooting through the laundry basket to find some clean socks. Your children value the time you can spend with them, not the clean house they live in (at least when they’re young). On top of that, a Happy Meal or two during the week is a bonus for kids and they are probably thankful that you didn’t have the time to go grocery shopping that day.
So enjoy these moments with your kids because soon, you’ll have more time to wash underwear and stock your fridge with more viable food options. Even better, they might, just might learn how to do a load of laundry themselves or do useful chores rather than the half-assed bed making or table setting that they attempt now. They grow up quick and a day or two with day old underwear isn’t the end of the world in the grand scheme of things.