About four years ago I made a brilliant decision.
Amazingly, wonderfully, incredibly brilliant.
One of those decisions where you’re not really sure how or why you made it or even what inspired you, but you pat yourself on the back every day that you did.
A decision that literally changed the course of my life and added hours to my day and made me want to write a book to tell others about it and put it on a billboard surrounded by twinkling lights and take out an ad on page two of the New York Times.
Teaching my children to do their own laundry.
The whole laundry thing started kind of slowly.
First we did colors and discussed temperature and why we should watch out for the reds and pay special attention to new clothes where the color might not have set yet.
And then we introduced whites.
And then went all laundry PhD with towels and bedding.
Truthfully? We had a few missteps along the way.
There were the socks that turned pink and the sweaters that shrunk and the lace on the bottom of the vest that wound itself around the entire inside of the washing machine.
And I still find piles of not-folded clean laundry that people treat like a dresser. You know. The one where you pick out what you’re wearing for the next day and it’s super wrinkled because it kind of froze in place after you piled it in your room and then you stealthily come downstairs holding your book bag carefully in front of the wrinkles hoping your mother is writing a blog post and doesn’t notice.
But slowly everyone started taking ownership of their laundry.
Leaving me extra time to read romance novels and eat bon bons with all my free time.
Sometimes there are still occasions when they need laundry help, though.
Like last week when my son came to me with a laundry dilemma.
His baseball uniform.
His away uniform is red and gray and hides dirt amazingly well.
But his home uniform? It’s white. And covered with dirt from sliding and leaping and catching and running and diving and standing at the plate kicking at home base waiting for the walk-up song.
We attacked that dirt with a vengeance like it was public enemy number one.
I read about how to treat stains on Pinterest and asked my mother and talked to the other baseball moms and made homemade concoctions and let the uniform soak overnight.
And when all else failed, I tried to bleach it.
All to no avail.
The dirt had taken up permanent residence and wasn’t reading any of the eviction notices.
I sighed and hung my head and declared myself a laundry novice and told him to smile more and try to hit home runs to distract from his not-too-white uniform.
And then Monday….this walked up to plate.
A white uniform.
White and clean and telling the world that the dirt had left the building.
I almost fell out of my chair.
What happened to the ground-in dirt? How did he do it? How in the world did he get his uniform so white?
Patiently I waited until the last inning, until the game was over, until the last bat was put away and ball gloves stored and then (and I can’t believe I’m about to type this sentence)…..
…..I asked my sixteen-year-old son for his laundry tips.
He grinned from ear to ear.
“It’s easy Mom,” he said. “Especially if you read the directions on the machine.”
“I just used extra stain remover directly on the dirt and then set the washing machine to whitest whites.”
I missed that setting in mom baseball class.
See what I mean? Teaching your sons to do their own laundry.
Simply brilliant. 🙂
PS This story was really for my future daughter-in-laws. I’ll get the thank you cards ready. 🙂
PPS If one baseball story isn’t enough, here’s another.