Laundry Day


A mother is a machine for converting dirty laundry to clean clothes; discuss.

I don’t know how I came to be the only one that does the laundry in our home. We certainly never had a discussion about it. Probably, when we were a young couple, I offered to put his laundry in with mine. If there’s one thing I could say to my younger self, it would be this: it is not cute, it is not grown-up to share a washing basket, unless you also share the laundry task itself. Before you know it, you are a middle-aged woman, with a dodgy back, wrestling with six wet pairs of adult-sized jeans.

Saturday is my laundry day because it is the first day I do not have to work, and the first day the children take off their school uniform. There is just time to get it all washed and dried before they need it again on Monday. Of course, I have duplicates of most things, but there are always a few items that can’t be duplicated.

I know that laundry is no where near as dreadful a task for me as it was for my grandmothers, or even my mother with her twin tub and outside line. For me, most of the challenge is the logistics: sorting, planning the washloads so that we are not trying to dry everything at the same time, then sorting out the clean dry clothes back into cupboards.

But this is precisely the reason why it resists all my attempts to pass the chore onto the rest of the family. Brute labour might be something they can do, grudgingly, but the rules of laundry are as complex as the offside rule in football. As a set of individuals they are incapable of coordinating use of the various machines. None of them seem able to sort socks into pairs, or assign the finished pairs to their correct owner, without raging arguments.

I have tried teaching each person to do their own laundry, I have tried doing it collectively, I have tried rotating the chore around one person after another, I have even tried making it into a game, but to no avail. Laundry remains, fairly and squarely, a task for me alone.

  1. dhonour said:

    Never ending. And those socks! How can they possibly wear so many socks. I feel your pain. I don’t work, but I also don’t have a tumble drier. In Denmark. Great for the environment, great for the clothes. Sucks ass for me.

    • I agree completely. And not only do they wear so many socks, they wear so many socks that look identical but are subtly different in some critical way (such as size).

      Not having a tumbledrier is fine if you can control the climate :-).

  2. Joy said:

    How about if you just did yours. How long before anyone noticed? I suppose, to be fair, you’d have to tell them first.
    J x

    • I am sorely tempted! Perhaps I have been too timid and should try the experiment. It will be chaotic and quarrelsome, but maybe I should just have more courage. After all, the worst that could happen is that my son looks a bit disshevelled, and a few things get shrunken!

  3. Not to be bossy but if (?) financially do-able, hire someone to do this for you! Your life sounds hectic and your family quite able to get you to do everything…even into their teens. It could not be that expensive to have someone in once a week for two hours, could it?

    I’m very spoiled. No kids, and my husband does all the laundry. And enjoys it. (I iron.)

    • It’s a very good idea, and I do generally hire someone else where I can – I have someone into clean, and someone else does the ironing. The difficulty with laundry is that the school uniform has to be washed between Friday night and Monday morning – I have duplicated as many items as I can, but some are not easily duplicated. This constraint means finding someone who would work for me at weekends, which has proved impossible in such a rural area. It should get easier once my children reach sixth form, when school uniform ceases. And by then, surely I will have passed some of the work onto them! Household chores, as you can probably guess, are one of the areas of difficulty with raising children with special needs, as it can be difficult to give them responsibilities.

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