I’ve told you all before about my laundry policy, right? If I can manage to get the clothes washed and dried, that’s good enough for me. Folding and putting them away? Eh… too time-consuming. In general this policy works fine, although our house IS always cluttered with laundry baskets that need to be awkwardly shoved into closets when people come over. And sometimes, the frantic search for the ONE clean soccer shirt right before practice does get to me.
I recently read an article in Real Simple Family about getting kids to do chores. I was ashamed to recognize myself in the article — I am that mom who insists on things being done right (read: my way) versus just plain done. Yep, I’m too Type A to let a kid sort the silverware. All the forks and spoons and knives jumbled up together? What ARE we, barbarians?! I do realize that this makes more work for me, however. So I was willing to give this delegation thing a shot.
These articles always suggest you make chores into a game for kids. (I tried out an app that did just that, remember?) So I dumped out all the clean laundry into a gigantic pile, got 2 empty laundry baskets and called out with forced enthusiasm, “Hey, kids! Let’s have a laundry-folding party! Who’s in?” To my surprise, both boys shrugged, shuffled over, and said, “OK.” I think the novelty intrigued them.
The sorting part was actually kind of fun, even if it did devolve into a game of throw-underwear-in-your-brother’s-face. At least it was CLEAN underwear, right? Things got a little trickier when we moved on to folding, though. I used to work at a department store in high school – I could wield a folding board in my sleep. Even without one, I can whip a T-shirt into a neat square in seconds. My boys, however… well, let’s just say I don’t see a bright future for them at the Gap. They take after their dad in that way, I’m afraid. The guy can’t sort socks to save his life.
Anyhoo, eventually we ended up with 2 baskets of (sort of) folded laundry, which each kid then put away in his own dresser drawers. I tried to restrain myself as they recklessly mixed together short- and long-sleeved shirts and put pajamas in the same drawer as swimsuits, IF YOU CAN IMAGINE. Deep breaths…
All in all, this little exercise took up the entire afternoon. I would love to say that it taught me to loosen the reins and give the boys more responsibilities, freeing me up to eat bon-bons in front of the TV, but really it only led to me leaving baskets of sorted, folded laundry in each kid’s room. I figure I save, oh, about 5 min. a week making them put their clothes away themselves. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.