July 16, 2024

Have you ever gone down to the basement, seen piles of dirty laundry out of the corner of your eye, felt a hole in your stomach from how far back you are, and then tried to forget about it so you never have to feel overwhelmed again? This is a common story that working mothers tell me about; it is your “nemesis”.

I know I was amazed at how much clothing a smaller being could produce. Then I had my second child and I couldn’t believe how dirty laundry was quadrupled. As with everything I do, I took a look at the situation and found a better, simpler (and of course, stress-free) way to take care of the mountain of clothes my family accumulates each week.

As I thought about how I could solve my problem, my thoughts returned to the classroom when I was a teacher. I put in place organizational systems and routines so that the classroom and our life within it functioned like a well-oiled machine.

One of the things I did was come up with cute names for certain days and attach a job or activity. For example, I loved humor and it really brought us together as a class (the kids loved it when I laughed so hard I cried), so I created a day called “Witty Wednesday.” Throughout the week, the kids brought in jokes they had encountered or heard, wrote them down, and placed the newspaper in our “Clever Wednesdays” basket. On Wednesday, during the last 10 minutes of class, we would sit together on the carpet and I would pull 5-7 jokes from the basket. The child would read it and we would try to respond to the joke or just listen to it. It was one of the things the kids always said they liked the most about our year together.

Now, how can you bring this into your home, not only to help with clothing, but also with other tasks? Here are some suggestions. Feel free to make your own and if you think they are brilliant write to me as I always LOVE hearing other people’s ideas.

  1. Washed on Wednesday. After dinner, your husband puts the kids to bed and washes the dishes while you go to work on the “wash” (also known as laundry). With most machines, you should be able to wash, dry, and fold at least 3 loads at the end of the night. Make it fun for yourself. Put on good music or your favorite TV show. You could even take out your novel and read between cycles! Get creative here so you really ENJOY when “Wash Wednesday” rolls around!
  2. Bathtub and WC on Tuesdays. Why not make Tuesday one of your kids’ bath days (No, you don’t have to bathe your kids every night. Just wash their hands and face and save the big cleanings for a few days during the week) your playtime in the bathroom, you can clean the toilet (and sink if you like). Then after you’ve scrubbed the kids, ask your husband to put on his pajamas while you clean the tub. You can switch these roles so that he cleans the bathtub and you dress the kids, whichever suits you best.
  3. Mail on Monday. Make Monday your day to check the mail that has accumulated (as you do so easily) and then pay the bills immediately so they forget about them. If you need to book an appointment, please do so immediately or at least put the task of reserving the appointment on your “To Do List” for tomorrow (if you decide to do it in the evening). You could even take this further and make Mondays “Mexican Mondays.” Because most Mexican dishes are quick to prepare, you can go home, take care of the mail, and then know that you have a simple Mexican meal to make in just 10-15 minutes. Think, quesadillas, tacos, burritos, quinoa salads with roasted vegetables and goat cheese, taco salads, rice and beans, stuffed peppers … the list is endless!

The point with all of this is that there is no way around doing laundry and other household chores (unless you have a full-time maid), so why resist? Make them fun! Better yet, get the family in the game! Just be sure to do these tasks in a fun and enjoyable way.

We all have 24 hours a day. We can run around resenting everything we have to do or choose to find better ways and go with the flow. We have the ability to design our lives. Design yours with this fun technique and you will be sure to live life more as you want.

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