There’s is not a day in my life when every piece of laundry is clean and folded and put away.
I mean maybe when it was just me and Mr. Gaga….maybe?
But definitely not with 2 children…or 3 or 4.
It starts small…so to speak. You find yourself doing load after load of these cute little miniature clothes in Dreft detergent. (Maybe you wash the ocassional sheet or changing pad cover.) And you fold them up into a cute little pile and put them away in a cute little Pottery Barn drawer.
It seems quite managable.
Then catastrophes start to happen that you are unprepared for. There are bibs smeared with barf or sweet potatos and bananas. Diarrhea becomes a regular occurance and can destroy your life. You will find yourself scraping shit off of sheets and clothes and blankets for days. Explosions can happen and soak clothing with urine and runny poops that are green and seedy and you have to hose them down….before even laundering them.
You think – “Well I am not going to use cloth diapers – because I am not a sadistic person- so the diapers will catch all of the poop and pee!”
Yeah – no.
Poop in liquid form oozes and squirts up children’s back regularly.
The smell of poop and urine will infiltrate your life and you will quickly toss the Dreft to the curb and replace it with Tide with Bleach. Sometimes when I was at the end of my rope I would toss shitty clothes into the garbage and cut my losses.
One time I cleaned everything and kept smelling poop all day. I couldn’t get the smell of poop out of my nostrils no matter what I did. Finally, I put my children to bed and bleary-eyed and miserable I meandered into the bathroom to wash my face and go to bed.
I looked at myself in the mirror. There wasn’t a shred of my old self left in the reflection that I saw. My face was old and pale and my hair was in a greasy bun. But what was most alarming was that there was a smear of runny poop on my earlobe, which was why I had spent the last 8 hours smelling like shit. That was a very low point in my life.
The point is…the laundry problem sneaks up on you as a mother.
Before you know it the potty training starts and while you are no longer scraping shit off of clothes, you have a lot of urine and poop soaked underwear to contend with. And then there are the urine soaked sheets. Depending on the strength of your child’s bladder – that can last for a couple months or years….
The clothes get bigger. The piles get bigger….
Sports and activities begin. There are costumes and coats and baseball pants. There are smocks for art class, undershirts, jeans with grass stains, and your husband’s work shirts.
The laundry that you once confidently threw into the washing machine with a Febreze ball and a special organic detergent has now become a full-time job from hell.
It’s easy enough to separate the clothes and throw them into the washer and dryer….
But then there’s all of the folding….
And then…the worst part of all…
The putting away.
And don’t forget the fucking socks.
I could essentially write an entire blog post just about socks. I never realized until I was a mother what an impact socks could have on someone’s life. First of all, nobody takes their socks off in appropriate places. Depending on the person, the mood will strike them to take off their socks at different stages in the day. I, personally, keep me socks on all day until I go to bed, at which point I place them into a dirty clothes hamper.
My children and my husband have a different approach to socks. They take them off whenever and wherever they feel like it and leave them in various areas around the house. This results in a very haphazard grouping of socks that make it into the washing machine.
When I am folding the clothes, I find sorting and matching socks an annoying and menial task that I am not interested in, so I add insult to injury and just throw single socks into different piles and hope nobody will notice.
I mean – no offense to people who sort and marry socks – but I don’t have time for that shit.
So needless to say, when you add full-time work into the equation and maybe you go to the gym and have sweaty sports bras and Lululemon clothing that need special laundering – the laundry is overwhelming.
I have been working way too much.
We had Easter weekend away at my parents, and baseball season began with baseball pants and socks and jerseys…So Monday morning came and off I went to work and left a pile to the ceiling of dirty laundry and sheets.
Mr. Gaga inquired when I might have a chance to get to the cleaners because he was running low on work shirts.
I looked at my week and there was literally not 10 minutes to spare for a trip to the cleaners. I lied and smiled and collected the shirts and pretended as though I might take care of this task.
Also he mentioned that he was wearing my underwear and asked nicely when I might have a chance to wash his dirty underwear…..
Ridden with anxiety and failure I told my friend about my plight as a working mother.
“If you are really in over your head – you can send out your laundry,” she said nervously. “I mean I only do it when the kids come home from camp or if company comes and I have a lot of dirty sheets….I will give you the number.”
It seemed crazy. But I called the number. An angel from heaven told me she would pick up my laundry – clean it and fold it and then deliver it on my doorstep for a very reasonable price. I agreed. I collected Mr. Gaga’s shirts and half of my dirty laundry and left on my front stoop Tuesday morning.
Wednesday I had a nightmare that the laundry came back with a bill for $200.
I woke up in a cold sweat. I realized I was very tortured by this secret laundry mission.
I couldn’t tell Mr. Gaga what I did. He wouldn’t be mad about the money – but I just didn’t want to confess to him that I was a failure. That I had asked a secret company to launder his underwear because I was too weak and tired to do it myself.
I had a plan.
On Friday, when the laundry got delivered – maybe I would come home from work early and hide the piles behind the chair in my room. I would mess up his pile and pull apart his socks so he wouldn’t catch on….I would leave my clothes and the sheets crisp and folded.
On Thursday, I was dreaming of my laundry delivery.
“It will come back folded like origami,” my friend assured me, “It’s amazing.”
On Friday, my cleaning people were coming and I left them a note to hide the laundry delivery.
I came home from work to a clean house and a stack of sheets and underwear folded into fortune cookies behind my chair that smelled like heaven.
Mr. Gaga had a row of shirts clean and pressed in his closet.
I ripped the invoice off of the stack of clothes. I cautiously opened it and prayed that it wasn’t $200 like in my nightmar.
The bill was $32.
I ran down the stairs and confessed everything to Mr. Gaga and announced that I would never be doing laundry again.
He was so thrilled that he had clean shirts and underwear that he didn’t even judge.
Even though I was elated I still felt like a failure. Why is it that I feel like my role as a mother and a person is shown through laundered clothing and food on the table? It’s not the 1950’s. I work, I do a lot for my children, I am an educated person. Yet, I still feel best when I complete my work day and have fed my children a healthy dinner and placed their folded clothing neatly into their drawers. What’s wrong with me??
I confessed to my very successful and smart friend that went to Yale and is good at everything.
“I have to tell you – I have been working so much and I just cannot keep up with everything – and by the time I get around to doing laundry at night – I want to drink a glass of wine and watch the Real Housewives..” I said defeatedly.
“You should send out your laundry,” she said knowingly with no judgement, “Doing laundry is dumb, D U M B, dumb, why would you waste your time washing other people’s dirty clothes when you have so much else to do?”
She was right.
Laundry is dumb. I am clearly not dumb.
I am a very smart and busy woman.
So I am sending that shit out.
If you feel overwhelmed find a great solution!! This has been a public service announcement!!
XO, LADY GOO GOO GAGA