Laundry: not part of the job description
My middle son was walking around this morning with just one of his new t-shirts on. I knew he wanted items that were recently washed, yet not put away.
“Hmmm, I said aloud. “If I were a basket of laundry, where would I be?”
My oldest ventured, “On the dining room table?”
I almost snorted coffee out of my nose. I had whisked all the partially processed laundry off the dining room table last night just prior to “Pasta Night,” so that our guests would not have to share table space with little piles of shirts, pants draped over the backs of chairs, or our centerpiece of socks-and-underwear.
I couldn’t remember exactly where I put the basket, and told my middle son I needed to get a coffee before I did anything else, which is why he was walking around naked from the waist down in the first place.
I sighed and said to my oldest, “Oh, geez, I’m not a very good housekeeper, am I?”
He answered, “That’s okay, Mom. You already have a job.”
I had actually moved my laptop to the kitchen table on my way to get the coffee; my middle son and I were planning a working breakfast since he hadn’t finished his homework from the night before. My to-do list flashed before my eyes.
“Your job is being our mom.”
I stopped in my tracks. How validating, I thought and considered making a witty comment about how part of being a mom is actually doing all that housework, but who says? It so happens that in our house, it’s me who does it or delegates it. But in some households, maybe Dad or Grandma does it, or maybe they have a cleaning service. Doing laundry is not actually part of the job description of mom. I imagine in the grand scheme of things, when my sons grow up, they will care more about my having spent time with them: cheering them on, helping them with homework, making them go to church, and as long as they have clean clothes to wear, they will care less about whether they get them out of their drawers or closet, out of the basket, or off the dining room table. Furthermore, I doubt it will really matter if I bought them at a store or acquired them via the hand-me-down network, as long as they think they’re cool.
I decided to simply accept the compliment. I hugged my son and thanked him, before I set off to find the laundry basket.
It turned out to be in my room, camouflaged by the bins of summer clothes I haven’t fully integrated yet. I recalled my reasoning was that if I left it in any area where kids might be, during which time their friends had joined them in their practice of running around the house like a small troop of monkeys, I’d be back to square one with the laundry as it would likely end up strewn across the floor (along side the Pokemon cards and Nerf gun bullets) and disguise itself as dirty.