Laundry. The black hole of death.
Emptying the dishwasher (another day and another time) and doing laundry are never ending. They are mind numbing, time consuming, want to rip your hair out activities that Don’t. Ever. Stop. In my house, one day’s worth covers the dining room table and there is about a 30 minute window in which this task is complete before it begins again. Can I get an AMEN?
Over the last 10 years, I let tasks and to-dos, responsibility and fear allow me to grow weary. Instead of rejoicing in all that I now get to do as an adult, I let it weigh me down, keep me ‘focused’ and made me boring. Life should fun. We shouldn’t take it too seriously. We should laugh and play and work and struggle. There will be things that we hate doing, but we do them anyways because….it’s life. I realize that there are major crises happening in the world and that my overflowing laundry room is not on any top 10 lists of “world problems that need solved.” But in my little house and in my little life, it’s a to-do and one of many things that weighed me down, so I’m talking about it.
I’ve said it about 4 times today. I really should start the laundry. And yet here I sit. Looking out at the trees. Lamenting and not doing. I promise, I will get to a point, but this is therapy. Why do I feel overwhelmed by simple daily tasks?
We are a culture of showcase perfectionists and it is absolutely exhausting (impossible) to create an illusion of perfection All. The. Time (I know, I’ve tried, it’s why I suck).
We have a “I can do it all and don’t need help from anyone” attitude so people can see what I can do! (Again, I get it, it’s why things are no longer fun).
We do not EMPOWER our kids with responsibility to make mundane tasks enjoyable experiences.
The first two require an entire separate content blog, so I’m going to focus on number 3. Our children. What happened to the days of chores and responsibilities and contribution to the “family community.” Why have we taken that away from kids? I am guilty of it on multiple accounts: It’s easier for me to do it. I want it done a particular way. Kids shouldn’t have to be doing these household chores, right? Am I missing out on some enrichment activity? No. No. No. No. Have you ever sat with your kids and freely given them the opportunity to help you? Amazing relationship building will occur. Interesting facts about their life will be discovered. Unique connections will be made. Trust will be built.
Let them fold the damn clothes, people. Let them sort the socks, fold the shirt wrong, roll the towel instead of folding it half, half, thirds - you know what I’m talking about. Let go of the reins and be grateful for the job that they do and tell them so. Kids are actually yearning for responsibility, a feeling of accomplishment, a sense of purpose and place among the family community. Let’s not take that from them. Oh, and it makes it a lot more F U N.
I want to say something….else. People say to me all the time “I don’t know how you do it with 5 kids.” Wait for it: I don’t. I don’t actually do anything. At least not everything. I have help, I have a village, I have had to GROW as a human being. I have learned that when I get in the mix and try to control the situation, fiery disaster ensues. So, like with the laundry, I’m learning to humble myself, trust my kids and believe that they can do X, Y, Z, so that they will.
E M P O W E R not Employ. Maybe it will change your perspective and your standards for what your kids are capable of doing. It’s a practice and a process. Allow it and find joy in growing — I’m telling myself this as Dash is loading the washer ‘not my way’ right now…