Laundry work goes unappreciated

  • Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I hate doing laundry. It is the most pointless task on the planet, aside from wrapping Christmas presents, which will be ripped to shreds and thrown away.

You should know I am an expert. I’d estimate that B.C. (before children) I spent at least 30 percent of my life doing laundry. After kids, it’s more like 80 to 90 percent.

I have to pass my laundry room every time I walk in and out of my house. It reminds me of running at the speed of light past my darkened closet as a child - my heart hammering in my chest and always on my tiptoes. I didn’t want the Boogie Man to be able to grab my whole foot when he reached for me. Just like my closet, I try to avoid even looking at my laundry room, but it’s impossible.

Erma Bombeck said, “My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.” This is how I feel about laundry.

It’s not the washing and drying - that’s the easy part, the part the machine does for you, but the rest leaves me cursing and sweating.

I jam clothes into the washer without too much difficulty, but once they get wet it’s like wrestling a 500-pound octopus to get them from the washer to the dryer. I reach in for an armload and inevitably the leg of my husband’s pants is wrapped around a sheet, which is tied in sailor’s knots around the arm of my shirt.

I pull. I tug. I sweat. I say bad words. I finally jerk all the clothes free and load them into the dryer. This is my favorite part, because then I get to push a button and feel like I’ve accomplished something for a few minutes, or until that blasted timer goes off.

Then it’s time to fold and sort. And match socks. Sigh.

For the love of all that is good, I could write a book about how much I hate to match socks. We know the sock gremlin comes under the cover of darkness to steal handfuls of socks, just enough so that you never have a pair that matches. With three daughters stacked like stairs, deciphering one sock from another almost requires a degree.

I’ve tried buying brand new socks and numbering the sizes, but the gremlin, he mocks me. He comes and steals them.

It’s not uncommon for me to give up, close my eyes and grab a sock with each hand. In the scheme of things, does it matter if my 6 year old is wearing one of her daddy’s athletic socks like a thigh high and one of her sister’s ankle socks at the same time?

Ironing is a different animal. There are no words that can accurately describe how much I loathe ironing – all that standing still, thinking, concentrating, working out microscopic wrinkles, straightening tiny little pleats. You turn a wrinkled mess into a show room masterpiece, a museum quality work of art. You carefully and lovingly hang your piece de resistance in your family’s closets.

Do they open closets with awe and adoration? Do they even say thank you? Nope. They nonchalantly pull on the shirts and dresses you have slaved over and wear them.

Sometimes I can barely even speak to my husband in the morning; I’m so distracted that he had the nerve to get up and put on a shirt. I realize the alternative is that he go to work topless, but still.

Maybe Erma was on to something. Maybe we need bunk beds.


Robin O’Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is “Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.” Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog at www.robinschicks.com.

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