life lessons for kids: laundry
I used to enjoy laundry. Well, not enjoy, but I didn’t hate it. When the kids were babies it was a nice break from their chaos. I would sneak down to the basement and the thumping of the dryer or the whooshing of the washer would drown out the noise from upstairs (when the kids weren’t sitting at the top of the stairs asking when I was coming up).
But as the years have gone by and the kids clothes have gotten bigger and, therefore, the amount of clothes have grown and the amount of space said clothes take up has grown the chore has become…well, a chore. I dread laundry. Not because of the actual doing it but because it seems to be never ending. The kids bring it down and I start it. It all smells like pee because I have 2 bedwetters. I get most of it done only to find out they did’t bring all the clothes down in the first place or because in the 3 days it took me to wash and dry it all they mad a whole other load to wash.
The constant changing of outfits has become a real annoyance. With 4 kids, changing 3 or 4 times a day and throwing the used clothes in the hamper (whether dirty or not) creates a ton of laundry at the end of the week. And since they throw their wet, peed clothes on top everything has to be washed whether it was dirty when it went in the hamper or not.
This ended yesterday. I had left the basket of clean clothes in the basement because I was just tired of cleaning up and went on strike. Since the kids didn’t feel like putting the clothes away they have been digging through the basket for clean clothes every day, in the process throwing them all over the dirty basement floor. Then they would walk on them on their way out the basement door, my son threw his wet clothes on top of them, wet towels, bathing suits, etc.
I reached my breaking point yesterday morning and marched my 9yo daughter down the stairs and said SHE was doing the laundry. She wasn’t very happy about this because she bucks any kind of chores. So I explained how to set the washer and where to get the soap. Then she helped me load it as I explained how to distribute the clothes to keep the weight even. She grumbled through the whole thing and kept saying, “but I only have to wash MY clothes, right?”
While that was washing I brought up their basket and set the kids to folding. I showed them how to fold shirts for the hundredth time. My 9yo refused to help so we left her stuff in a pile on the floor. My 7yo and 6yo kids folded and put away all their clothes and it all went rather smoothly.
When the wash was done I took my 9yo down to show her how to load the dryer. I had to find an old milk crate for her to stand on to reach into the washer. Even with that she could just barely reach the bottom. With each scoop of wet clothes she had to jump off the crate and walk over to the dryer to throw them in. There was a lot of clothes in the washer and half way through she was whining her back hurt and she didn’t want to do it any more. Kids are so funny.
So she got the dryer loaded and I explained about the lint trap and how to set the dryer. When that was started I had her load up the washer with her 3yo sister’s clothes. My 6yo helped with that then she finally set to folding her clean clothes.
Later that night I remembered the laundry and told her to go take the clean clothes out of the dryer and put them in a basket and take the wet clothes and put them in. She grumbled about hating laundry but went to do it with the help of the 6yo. An hour later they were cleaning up from dinner and she was whining she didn’t want to sweep or scrub tables so down to the basement she went to empty the dryer. I wasn’t down there when she loaded it up last but all the clothes were dry so she did it right and her brother carried up the basket.
So, laundry done, and none of it by me. YAY! I just have to fold my 3yo’s clothes.
From now on the kids are doing their own laundry. Next they learn to load the dishwasher.