Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How to Do Laundry like a Boss! Finding God in the Loads. - Day 10

I've done a lot of laundry in my time.  It has been my never-ending evil nemesis.  I'm not sure what God was thinking when he left "Laundry" out of His explanation of the curse in Genesis.  Maybe He thought it was just too much to heap on Eve after He'd just mentioned pain in childbirth and all... and mercifully decided to just let her figure that one out on her own.

 My first impulse is to calculate it out and give you an impressive statistic about exactly how much laundry I've done thus far....but I think that might make me throw up, so I won't.   It feels like such a colossal waste of time.  How many diseases could have been cured, books written, masterpieces performed in the time that we've all just been using Maytags?  At least we have Maytags....those poor pioneer women who not only had to wash things in a tub over the fire but had to make THEIR OWN SOAP the day before....oh goodness....thinking about them is my only tether to thankfulness when the dirty piles outweigh the full drawers.  And don't even get me started on the problem of piles of clean that haven't been put away yet.  People in my house have no respect....they think that just because they've run out of underwear, that gives them a free pass to DIG THROUGH those piles, all willy-nilly, and leave them in such a state that I can't remember what's clean and what's dirty.  I can't tell you how many times I've just lumped it all together and started over.

"If you can't beat them, join them...."  might have been coined by a woman wringing out her 478th load of laundry, looking for a way to cope.  Most of us (except for my "blessed by God" missionary friends who have maids...) will be doing our own laundry for the foreseeable future...so we might as well make peace with it.  The last 20+ years of not living in my Momma's home have taught me a few tricks for wrangling the chore of laundry into a multi-tasking tool that doesn't feel like a black hole of wasted minutes.

1.  Laundry can teach!
Laundry is more fun with a sidekick and since we're doing it anyways it might as well become a teaching tool.  We've all got big dreams for our children, but those babies come out as brand new little people who have to learn everything!  Laundry has a lot to teach them.  You've got an avid audience with that baby in her Bumbo seat....so start talking!  Her little brain is soaking up language as fast as it can.  The more you talk to her the better.  "This is Daddy's shirt!  The big "D" on the front stands for Tigers.  They're Daddy's favorite baseball team.  You're going to fall asleep in your room many nights with the sounds of a baseball game wafting through the house, just like your Mommy did.  The Tigers didn't do so well this year....pitching, bull pens.....that kind of trouble.  But I bet you'll get to cheer them on to some big things someday with your Daddy.  Their colors are blue and orange...see here, on the shirt??"  With a little practice you'll get good at the babbling rabbit trails....it can be kind of zen-like.  And the whole while.....you'll be providing what the education world calls "a rich environment, language development, early intervention." 

When they get a little older, the laundry basket is a ready made color quiz.  You can learn the difference between rectangles and squares in a load of towels and washcloths.  That load is also a good place to teach basic folding skills to your little hands!  Forget Pinterest boards full of learning activities to make or buy.....just go do some laundry!


2.  Laundry is middle school currency.
Credit for this one goes to my first-born, Riley.  He and his brother are only 16 months apart, which means 1 year different in school.  When Riley started middle school he came to us with a problem.  Even though he wasn't much older than his brother, he was older none-the-less and felt like he deserved some privileges that were different from his brother's...particularly a later bedtime.  We listened and then had the obligatory discussion about greater privileges being paid for with greater responsibilities.  We asked him what responsibility he thought he could shoulder to pay for his proposed later bedtime.  His response, "I'll learn to do my own laundry." And the angels sang!

Since that brilliant discussion with Riley, it's become a "Coming of Age" benchmark for middle-schoolers in our house.....start 6th grade and you get to trade doing your own laundry for a bedtime that's 30 minutes later than those younger siblings who's laundry is still delivered by the laundry fairy!  I now have 6 children doing their own laundry in my home!!!  That' a deal worth making, my friends!!  And I think it's going to gain me some points with my future daughters and sons in laws too!


3.  Laundry makes you pray!
 I'm not just talking about the, "Please Lord, don't make me to any more laundry!" prayer!  Many loads of laundry means I have great reason for thankfulness.  I'm thankful for so many clothes that none of my family has to wear the same thing over and over. (Some might do it even though they don't have to....and they know it makes their Momma crazy....but that's a different problem.)  

I'm thankful for the people who wear these clothes every day.  I'm also thankful for the things my people are able to accomplish while wearing these clothes and making them dirty and stinky.  Each of those items in your basket represent a reason to give thanks.

I'm thankful for each of the 21 t shirts my youth pastor hubby's designed for winter retreats for our youth groups. I'm so happy that he's strong enough to do hard work and gets his work clothes really messy.  I love how good he looks in his dress shirt on special occasions.  

Tiny little brand new baby laundry is easy to be thankful for....the new life, the sweet smiles....every piece is a reminder that life is sweet.  

Grass-stained knees on the jeans of little boys mean the boys are running and playing.  They're doing what boys are supposed to do.  Thankful.

The first few loads of character studded toddler underwear is the hands-down best kind of load.  When you're doing this laundry you feel like a stud-muffin mom - the mom who has conquered and vanquished the dreaded diaper dragon!  You're folding laundry in a cape and speaking your thanksgiving prayers in the King's English at this stage!  "Oh we thank thee, dear Father, for thy gift of underwear and holding it and not drinking after dinner and waking up dry!  This is truly a foretaste of heaven for which we are grateful!"    

The stinkiest laundry I've ever done come straight from the soccer bag....shin guards and jerseys.  I'm so thankful for the fun years I've had on the bleachers watching my kids test their skills and grow.  And seeing your kids in a official school uniform for the first time.....ooooh baby, that's the good stuff!!

 Each shirt and pair of pants is like a bead on a rosary, a reminder to be prayerful for these precious people who's clothes I'm folding.  This little trick is my favorite of them all....if a drudgery like laundry has the ability to have such a gilded lining as bringing my family before God's throne day in and day out.....than there's nothing that can't be redeemed.


So don't despair when the laundry loads overflow and the laundry room feels like your ball and chain. There is a purpose even in this.  No part of the curse that came along with sin is exempt the the redeeming power of our Savior's touch....even laundry.   Take your life back!  Do laundry like a BOSS!  I promise you'll find God in those loads....and then you'll thank Him that they're endless!





















3 comments:

  1. I LOVE THIS! I only have three kids, but I have been experiencing a lot of laundry woes lately! A lot. Mostly having to do with sharing washer and dryer with everyone in our apartment building. Bleh! I'm visiting from #write31days and I just wanted to say hi and you have a gorgeous family.I love that picture.

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    1. Laundry for that many in a shared washer must be a challenge! Thanks for reading!!

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  2. I agree with Natalie. You do have a beautiful family! And I loved the laundry post!

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