I hate doing the laundry. It’s one of those never ending chores of adult life/ parenthood that never seems to end. I used to love the process of the laundry. It was fun to smell the clean clothes and watch the pile get folded neatly and put into the appropriate drawers. I really did! But things change.
As much as I hate cliches and platitudes, I’ve learned they’re cliche for a reason- usually a pretty good reason. And plenty of the laundry cliches hold true.
It is never ending. The pile regenerates like something out of a comic book. Constantly morphing back into the monster pile that can’t be killed. Oh, you thought you killed it back on Monday with your superhuman laundress powers. But you’re wrong. It will always regenerate, ever present to be your downfall and an impediment to a happy life.
Dramatic? Maybe. True? Yes.
The other laundry cliche that I hear is that motherhood in general is a kind of thankless job. I am a laundry slave to someone I overheard singing a song about the mess he planned to make of his burrito the other day. Massaging handfuls of refried beans into his t-shirt and the previously clean kitchen table. All of this artwork happened in the time it took me to sprint across the kitchen to scream “noooooo!” in slow motion. (Maybe I could get more done if I wasn’t moving in movie slow motion when I screamed “noooooo!”.) It’s easy to think that he has no respect for the work I do in the laundry room. None. He probably thinks it’s what I do for fun.
But some days, your three year old surprises you by bouncing into the room and saying “thank you for foldin’ my laundry, momma!”
Of course I got super emotional and goofy and hugged him so tight that he might think twice before saying it again. And he may not have really known what he was saying, but I don’t care. It was a moment. It did my sudsing heart good.
I got to thinking. I thought about how this wasn’t the first time my sweet baby has thanked me for doing the household work for him. He does it on a regular basis. Because he doesn’t know any differently.
Brandon is a very appreciative husband. He thanks me every night I cook dinner and says how delicious it tastes. It’s genuine. He doesn’t just say “thanks, babe” and move on. He’s gives specific examples and truly gushes. He’s a dream guy when it comes to thanking me. I couldn’t ask for more.
As W has gotten older, we’ve noticed that he’s absorbing some of the things he hears from daddy. He says “thank you” for dinner and compliments some aspect of it most nights. True life, rubber-meets-the-road type gratitude. Brandon doesn’t stand for hearing a “this is yucky” comment. He doesn’t treat anyone this way, why would a three year old be allowed to speak to me that way? W has learned that being unappreciative isn’t acceptable. He is really starting to learn how to compliment the domestic work I do on a daily basis. He’s learning that it’s hard work worthy of his gratitude.
Ladies- YOUR WORK DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A THANKLESS JOB!
Men- THANK YOUR DANGED LADIES! AND TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO THANK THEM!
Brandon has always viewed the household work as being collaborative. I’ve had jobs throughout our marriage that lent themselves to me being the one who did the majority of the household work since I was the one spending the most time at home. I’ve worked from home or part-time since we got married. It was logical for me to bear the bulk of the household work regularly When I worked more full-time hours, he picked up the extra housework without question.
We can talk feminism and gender roles later… mmm’kay? Just know, I went to career day in elementary school as a stay-at-home mom. This career path has been on my radar for a whole lotta years. Talk to me about how I’m letting feminism down by choosing to work as a childcare provider so I can stay home with my kid- I dare ya!
My husband hasn’t ever taken for granted all that I contribute to make our household run smoothly. And, good grief, if that doesn’t make the job just a little easier. Sure, sure, sure, we’ve butted heads on certain aspects of household maintenance in the past. It took him a few years to appreciate that my pre-bedtime routine was actually necessary. And I’ve also learned to occasionally scrap the routine and wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes. (Spoiler alert- IT DIDN’T KILL ME!)
We’ve figured out what works for us. And my husband’s experience with his own share of household work has given him a greater sense of appreciation. One that he has given to W.
Please understand that I am not placing my child on a pedestal as an example of perfect childhood behavior. Just the other day W rudely demanded I get busy washing his favorite PJs so he could wear them at bedtime. It was easy to ask “do you ever hear daddy talk to me that way?” and he knew the answer was a definite “no, he doesn’t”.
Brandon sets an example of how to be a good husband and father every time he shows his genuine gratitude for something I’ve done. I just hope I show nearly as much gratitude to him for the work he does.
I read a lot about the mom woes and thanklessness of daily work. Even with a thousand “thank yous” a day, the job won’t ever be any more glamorous. That being said, I’m incredibly grateful for the work my husband does to raise a child who is appreciative of his mother’s work. I am grateful that I don’t have to moan and complain on my blog like other bloggers about how thankless my boys are. I prop my feet up at the end of a long day able to rest in the knowledge that what I do actually matters.
Most days I won’t get a thank-you for the laundry. That’s ok. The garments will go into the closets and drawers unnoticed and without fanfare. I just know that I won’t hear the refrain of nitpicking or whining in my head while I do the work. I don’t stare at a load knowing that the recipients of the clean clothes don’t really care about what I do. Instead, the echoes of a well-timed “thank you for foldin’ my laundry, momma!” will play in my ears while I sort, load, and fold for the millionth time.
I’m a lucky lady, and I know it.