An Essay on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

by Melissa Neely (Apr 2009)


          Let me begin by saying I have 5 children. They are 17, 15, 5, 4, and 1 Ĺ. This is important information in understanding why laundry is the bain of my existence, and why I HATE it so much. I didnít use to hate laundry. It was a mindless activity I could do while watching TV or a movie.  I use to be a nice mommy who did everybodyís laundry. Washed, dried, folded and put away.  When I had just the two girls it wasnít that big of a deal, even with the multiple costume changes required in a little girls day.  But all that change drastically when 9 years later we were blessed with 3 additional, laundry dirtying people. 

          Now, everybody has there own laundry basket. Iím reasonably nice; I wash all the laundry and will even go around collecting it off their bedroom floors occasionally.  But that is where my job now ends.  When the laundry comes out of the dryer it is thrown onto the couch where it piles up all day, and sometimes for days. Then when the kids get home everybody helps sort the clothes into the proper laundry basket. There is no fighting about whose laundry basket is whose because everybody has their name on their basket (that way I know who to blame when itís laying around).   I take mine, my husbands and the babyís laundry to my room, I fold and but away mine and the babyís and I fold my husbands and leave it on his side of the bed so he is forced to put it away if he wants to come to bed. Sometimes he chooses the couch over putting away his laundry Ė what do I care, it will still be there for him tomorrow.  Sometimes I feel especially generous and I put his hang-up clothes on hangers and hang it up, but not always.

           I did a count, each person wears an average of 5 articles of clothing, (unless youíre a teenage girl, then add a cami and layers of clothing) a shirt, a pair of pants, socks, and underwear. Multiply this by 7 and it totals a minimum of 35 articles of clothing every day. 35! I have a large capacity front loader- even it canít hold that much in one load.  Then add to the list PJís, towels, I wet my pants-again, 12 dish towels used to mop up multiple spills, and bedding (which good hygiene requires I change occasionally.)  Are you starting to see the mountain of laundry I face every day?

Heaven forbid I skip a day or even two, which I did last week.  So, on my day off one child wet the bed. The baby pooped out and hit every blanket in the crib. The cat barfed on my pillowcase so I changed the whole bed. And the boy ďaccidentallyĒ missed the cups he was peeing in and sprinkled both bathroom rugs, bringing my laundry count way up. Next week, just for the fun of doing laundry, Iím bringing all the summer clothes down from the attic to be washed; it will probably snow just to spite my efforts.

          So sit on the couch, watch a movie mindlessly folding your laundry and say to yourself ďIt could be worse, I could be that lady!Ē

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Revised April 2009.