Not every mother cooks.
Not every mother cleans.
Not every mother drives her children to school.
Not every mother is married.
Not every mother is single.
Not every mother works.
Not every mother stays home.
However, with the exception of a few, there is one thing every mother has: Laundry. Some may choose to do it all in one day, while others choose to do it every day. Some may choose to iron, while others choose, my personal favorite alternative, those magical words – “wrinkle free.”
It is the one household chore that makes me want to throw my hands up and run for the hills. And I’m really not sure why. Is it because it is the most repetitive and seemingly endless task that never gets done? Or perhaps it is the 642 tedious settings on the washing machine that despite all my education, I still cannot for the life of me seem to figure out their differences or when to use them. Regardless of the cause, laundry is one household necessity that transforms this loving mother into a grouch.
One great anecdote for a bad mood is to come up with a gratitude list. Yes, that’s right, a gratitude list. Sometimes we may need to search harder to find the good amongst all that seems frustrating, but they are there. Given my Laundry Loathe, I thought I’d give it a try. After all, what could it hurt? I was already in a really bad mood. Here is what I came up with:
1. I can be grateful to be blessed with modern conveniences of appliances
I have pictures of my great-grandparents actually doing laundry in small washtubs. Every day I drive by a local antique shop that has a wringer washer setting outside for sale. I think of all those women in impoverished countries that must use rivers to clean their clothes. Instead of bleaches, they use rocks. Can you imagine?
2. I can be grateful I have children that provide the opportunity for laundry.
Having felt the sting of infertility, I remember the heartache of walking through the mall desperately wanting to buy baby clothes but having no one to buy them for. No matter how big the laundry pile is, just being able to identify myself as a mom makes my heart grateful. So the stained clothes, ripped pants point my gaze in the right direction.
3. I can be grateful for this time
There will come a day when the local thrift store play clothes will be replaced with expensive designer brands. Their YMCA sports uniforms will be exchanged for professional team logos. And the seemingly endless number of loads of laundry in my house will be cut in half to just two people. Being thankful for this time and being present or wishing it away – the choice is mine.
4. I can be grateful that I am able to purchase something to wash.
Each piece of dirty clothing is a reminder that there are financial resources to clothe our family. Moreover, that chocolate-stained shirt with blueberry pie on the sleeve makes me smile as I remember those friends and relatives that passed on their gently used clothes from their children for ours to enjoy.
Laundry is an endless task, but something that also gives a sense of accomplishment and being productive. When the day is long, and emotions are amped up, it helps to have a distraction. Monotony can be meaningful.