Laundry Wars – Laundry: 1, Me: 16

Mothers often joke about laundry.

I didn’t “get it” at first.

“It’s laundry. You spend a day every few weeks doing it, and you’re done. No big deal.”

Even when my son was born, laundry was only a minor nuisance.

Then Lil Diva appeared on the scene, complete with her Power of Regurgitation Reflux and suddenly I understood, like finally seeing one of those evil hidden 3-D images.

Laundry replicates exponentially, faster than a pack of bunnies.

First it’s just a tiny shirt.

Then it’s several pairs of pants the diaper leaked all over.

Suddenly, all adult shirts are at risk, as your three month old loves to burp and spit up over everyone. And herself.

Solid foods are added to the mix. Carrots. Blueberries.

The barf spots now have the power to dye your clothing.

So they are designated to the “Stained Clothing Bin.”

Where they sit.

Get bored.

Get horny.

And multiply.

Because the Lil Diva is now mobile and her big brother knocks her over/down at every possible chance – a 30 second bathroom break always ending in her cries, her brother swooping in.

I can’t eat or pee, much less do laundry.

And it breeds some more.

Then two baskets are required to hold the stained clothing; I have to pack it down to get it all to fit.

Lil Diva has a growth spurt, and all clothing outgrown is placed at the bottom.

Where it will rest…. and replicate…. for eighteen months – collecting more outgrown and heavily stained items.

I wish I was joking.

It reaches Ludicrous Laundry Level: All four bins are bursting with dirty clothes. All the time.

I have nowhere to put the laundry I am washing.

Father’s Day Weekend arrives.

I want my bedroom back.

I gather articles of clothing from all corners of the house. I enlist CG’s aid in watching the kids so I can work uninterrupted.

He gives me a look, like I’d rather do laundry than hang out with my family.


I’m may be burned out, but I’m not sadistic.

I sort, scrub, wash, dry, and fold.

Saturday ends with four loads of laundry washed, and four overflowing baskets sorted. It looks something like this:

The photo was only able to show HALF the piles of sorted laundry... Not counting the bins..

Sunday dawns and I realize I cannot stop.

If I do, my children will charge in, mess up all the sorting, and undo my hard work. It will be another three months before I have the energy to tackle the project again.

I must persevere.

But I have at least twelve loads of laundry. It would take days.

I venture to my first laundromat.

I soak clothes. I scrub. I scrub. I scrub some more.

I use stain remover in the machines to test its merit.

It’s about 75% effective on the baby outfits, without spotting the clothes.

I rejoice, figuring finally I will be able to use the laptop I’d brought hours ago.


The laptop isn’t cracked once during the 5.5 hours I stood at the laundromat.

Scrubbing the more stubborn stains.

Peaking at the hundreds of kid tops to see if the stains were eradicated in the wash cycle.

Yeah, that took FOREVER.

I melt as I walk to my car, the 100+ heat slamming into me, my stomach starving because I missed lunch.

Sixteen loads completed.

About twelve normal sized loads of laundry, on top of five done at home.

My short lived joy at being “done” evaporates, as I discover a new hell:


And Folding.

Clean laundry everywhere - waiting to be folded....

And Folding.

I spend another five hours just folding and hanging clothes (until the hangers run out).

But I’m done.

My laundry IS DONE.

Minus the clothes we wore Sunday.

It is not the Father’s Day I’d planned. Or wanted.

My back is killing me. My knees are sore. My feet hurt from standing on the concrete floor.


The question is, how quickly will the next batch breed?

Do you have your own version of laundry wars?


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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24 Responses to Laundry Wars – Laundry: 1, Me: 16

  1. I have the same situation. I always however get stuck at the folding bit. So the clean laundry lays in the basket until we need said item. Needless to say there is no basket space for dirty laundry. And so the cycle continues…

    • Yasmin – that is exactly what occurs here most of the time, although the guest bed also gets reassigned as “laundry resting place”.

      It is why I had to fold this time.

      I had to stop the cycle.

      At least once.

      So I can say I did.

  2. We’re (read as my wife) a little more masochistic than you. Laundry, and folding, and sorting, and scrubbing, are a near daily activity. It took me a little more than 30 years to understand why, when I was a kid, my mother would lose her mind if I got a pair of pants too dirty to wear to school a second time. Now I get it. Man, so I get it.

    Weren’t they promising us disposable clothes that we would wear in the flying cars?

    • Tell me about it. Where’s my transporter to beam us to visit family 900 miles away??

      I shudder in fear if my Lil Diva develops the habit of changing clothes three times a day.

      Is four too young to teach a child how to do laundry?

      Your comments rock. Thank you so much for leaving them.

  3. mairedubhtx says:

    I’m the only person in my house and I put off doing laundry for as long as I can. So I end up with a huge pile of laundry to do. I hate laundry.

    • I prefer doing laundry that way: avoidance until you must. Plus, when it was just me, it took a while to have a full load of darks, whites, and delicates. I hated doing tiny loads.

      But I didn’t truly hate it.

      Not until diaper leaks and spit up entered the picture.


  4. I was right there with you. Doing the same thing. And to think, we could have been talking about Miss America!

    All I can say is that as soon as Tackler and Diva get older, create a system so they can easily put their clothes away. Yes, you’ll still be doing the bulk of the work, but by 3rd grade, Monkey started dragging his laundry downstairs and by 4th grade he was doing his own laundry and now – at the end of 6th grade, after I fold it (I still fold it), he now brings it upstairs and puts it away. Next year, we shall introduce, the last concept – the missing link: FOLDING. Then he will be the master of his own domain.

    I can’t imagine how much laundry you have to do right now with two littluns. I only have one Monkey, but think about where you want to be. Do you want Tackler to be a good husband and do laundry or be some dick sitting in the couch with his hands down his pants watching football while his wife is running herself ragged with the laundry? (*Note: This statement was not to imply your hubby was a dick. I am sure he is not.) 😉

    Train your kids young while they still like to measure and pour chemicals and push buttons.

    • Funny you should mention this.

      Twice I had The Tackler help pour in detergent, toss the clothes in, and close the lid.

      I didn’t show him the settings or how to start it yet.

      The last thing I need is to find out he tried to wash something un-washable, or dry something melt-able.

      Because he would.

      He so would.

      I have plans to break in both children early for chores.

      Because picking up the toys is just going soooo well.. :p

  5. TheKirCorner says:

    oh wow, I do laundry about twice a week and while I hate doing it and it feels like it’s multiplying every time I turn around, I do get through it and get it done by Sunday nights most weekends. Which is a blessing for sure.

    so glad you got it all done, GO YOU!

    • I do hate how I lose weekends to laundry.

      But my Lil Diva often won’t let me escape long enough to sort, much less wash anything during the week.

      I freely admit I’m too selfish to sacrifice nap time for this.

      But I don’t usually write on weekends.

      Now I just need to buy hangers..

  6. I thought I was the only one with horny laundry.

    My kids wear clothes to school, karate clothes (every night – they are on a black belt training team) and pajamas. My husband wears work-out clothes, hospital scrubs, casual-home-from-work clothes.

    Between the three of them, they wear at least 9 outfits a day. And that doesn’t include sheets or towels.

    It makes the woman who does the laundry never want to change her clothes. OR underwear, for that matter.

    It’s just something else to wash….

    On that note. I just heard the dryer buzz.

    • You know, I’m thinking you have a 14 year old now.. who would benefit greatly from the life experience of laundry.

      And how happy it makes his mother to have help.

      Just saying’. 😉

      I had The Tackler help a bit for the first time. Gotta break him in early.

      Nine outfits a day… OUCH.

      Underwear is ok. It doesn’t take up much room.

      Those jeans however…. they fit better after a few days.

  7. Laundry will be the reason my marriage ends. Next week, after the plumber I’ve hired runs the necessary pipes to hook up my washing machine (one of TWO, I’d like to point out) which has been sitting, unused in my basement, for almost two years.

    DH goes to the laundromat every week – Friday or Sunday night -for two to three hours at a time. He is antisocial but is on a first-name basis with the Laundry Lady.

    Is DH capable of running the necessary pipes and hooking up a washing machine? Yes.
    Has he done it? No.

    So, I have hired someone to do it for me/him. He is gonna lose his noodle, but *I* will FINALLY have a working washing machine in my home.

    • I cannot imagine not having a washer and dryer.

      Your husband had time. He didn’t do it, you needed to hire someone.

      I have had many battles with my husband over hiring people. He’s a do-it-yourselfer. He’s smart. He can figure things out. Why pay someone to do what he’s capable of?

      Because he doesn’t have a clone, has a full work schedule, and the children want time with Daddy. Unless it’s something the kids can “help” on, it causes more issues than just hiring someone.

      You should’ve seen how opposed he was to hiring people to clean my house.

      I’d snapped. I couldn’t stand it. We didn’t have time.

      They come ever two weeks now, and he doesn’t voice a word of complaint. I just feel if we can budget it, it’s worth it to spend the extra time with your family.

      At least until I can get the kids to do it for me.

  8. Annie says:

    Folding is the pits!! Once it’s clean I don’t want to mess with it. So my system involves hanging what I can, and then clean bins for each kid – where I throw the clean under things. It works great. As it comes out of the drier I pitch it right in the appropriate child’s bin.

    After baby #3 I had to come up with a major war strategy – bins, hanging system, etc. After baby #4, when I thought the laundry could surely be no worse, I was buried under 3 feet of cotton and polyester shrapnel. Ugh.

    Great writing. Loved it.

    • Laundry typically rests in a the “laid out flat so not wrinkled” state in baskets and the guest bed.

      With that much laundry clean, I had to fold it.

      That sucked.

      The only positive about folding is I do it in my bedroom while I watch TV shows. I caught up on Burn Notice and Psych during the 6 hours of folding. It’s one of the few times I watch TV anymore.

      I did actually get all of that laundry put away, except for a few shirts that didn’t have hangers.

      DAMN! I just got back from Target and forgot to buy more hangers. ARGH.

  9. Kim says:

    Why don’t the socks ever get horny and multiply??? 😦

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  12. Kate says:

    I’ve asked my crew to go naked for a day so that I can catch up with laundry madness. So far, I have no takers.

    • My four year old and 21 month would LOVE that, especially in summer.

      My husband often lets Lil Diva run around pant-less. I get upset because she digs at her diaper and has succeeded in pulling it off.

      I do not need more poopapaloozas..

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