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Kathy's Chaos: Dirty Laundry

How Dirty Must it Get in Order to Teach a Lesson?

It is all I can do not to pick up the dirty laundry strewn across the floor of my oldest daughter’s room. But I am standing my ground. I want her to learn that if she doesn’t pick up her dirty laundry and bring it to the laundry room, it will not get clean.

I do all of the laundry in our house. With five people, that’s no small task. I sort, wash, dry, fold and put it away. I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to my husband who does help to fold quite often.

And, occasionally, I make the kids put away their clean laundry. But I am not consistent with assigning this chore. To be honest, I am not consistent with assigning many chores in our house.

The one chore I am sticking to, or at least trying to, doesn’t seem like much to ask. All I want is for each of my three children to pick up their stinky socks, yesterday’s pajamas and various other items of clothing they have already worn and bring them to the laundry room.

Our laundry room is on the second floor of our house so it’s not like I am requiring that they travel from the second floor down to the spooky dark basement or any great distances here. Simply bend down, scoop, walk a few feet down the hallway, open door, deposit into laundry basket, done.

Sounds easy, right? Apparently not for some in my house.

I figured the only way to truly get my point across was to force the issue.

My 10-year old daughter’s one pair of skinny jeans has been lying on her floor for nearly a week now. It is a lesson in self control when I am putting in a load of darks to hold back from running down to her room, collecting them and adding them to the wash.

So far, I have held out and she hasn’t needed them for any special occasion. 

I am expecting that the day will soon come when she does in fact need them to be clean this instant and I can finally pronounce, “SEE! I TOLD YOU!” and “THIS is why I ask you to pick up your laundry!”

My younger two generally listen to my reminders of “I see a lot of dirty clothes lying around in here!” or “I don’t think that’s where your dirty clothes are supposed to go!” or “We don’t have a maid, people, pick up your dirty laundry!”

It’s my oldest though who drives me the most nuts with the laundry issue. She’s the one who in all other aspects is a rule follower. As clean and meticulous she is about her personal appearance, somehow the appearance of her bedroom floor matters very little to her.  

Soon, I know she will need those jeans. I am trying to wait patiently. I am trying to teach a lesson.

Maybe if I close her bedroom door, I will make it.

Cathi April 04, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Kathy, you are speaking for so many mothers around the world. I can just hear a mom in Africa saying to her son or daughter "pick up your clothes, there isn't enough room in this hut to have your clothes pile up, take them to the river and wash them". I know that's not something to laugh about. It's a story as old as time. My middle son is a clean freak and has been doing his own laundry for years. He may have been the one that a pen ruined most of this clothes. He's no longer "letting" me do this laundry.. now there's an idea... Good luck.
Michele Gannon April 04, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Kathy, I hear you! We have the same issue in our house, but now my 4 year old started shoving his dirty clothes back in the drawer when he was done wearing them. I watched him do it and asked what he was doing and he responded that he was "keeping the clothes off the floor." I also taught the kids to clear their plates, but when I noticed that I have many dishes missing, I realized our 4 year old was throwing them in the garbage! My favorite saying about now is "This too shall pass."

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