I have to start off by giving credit where credit is due. I am not responsible for the analogy that prompted this post. But it’s funny as hell, so I’m borrowing it. My friend, “Flippin’ Hysterical” is always good for an absolutely hysterical one-liner. A favorite of mine is: “Life is long, but marriage is longer. I’m pretty sure that’s a Buddhist saying… or it should be.” Don’t get me wrong, I love Big Man and I know Flippin’ Hysterical loves her guy, but you can’t tell me it’s not a funny quote. If you are offended by that particular gem, you may be reading the wrong blog. But I digress, today’s post is about “Doing laundry is like being Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Every day you wake up and there it is again.” It’s funny because it is so true, and we all know it.
Just a few days ago we were in laundry crisis here in the MostlySane house. Sock and underwear drawers were dangerously low, or empty. Ladybug was running low on shirts. Laundry baskets in all of the bedrooms were overflowing. It was time for me to stop shirking my mama duties. I spent an entire day doing laundry. Dirty clothes dumped in a pile on laundry room floor and separated. Some dirty clothes in the washer. Clean clothes into dryer, more dirty clothes in to washer. Clean/dry clothes back in to laundry basket, more clean clothes in to dryer, more dirty clothes in to washer, and so on and so forth. The whole day went on like this. After a day full of laundry and all of the other activities I had going on I was just not interested in folding laundry that night.
So the next day I got up, and there it was again… all of the laundry I had done the day before, back in the laundry baskets, but still not folded or put away. BUT we still needed to get dressed. Like any quick thinking mama, I did what had to be done, and dumped all of that clean laundry out on the couch in the formal living room. You know, the couch we hardly sit on, in the room we barely use. Then I picked out what everyone needed. This is a dangerous and desperate act, because the clean clothes could sit there for days with us picking out what we need and making more dirty laundry to be dealt with. Maybe, like Bill Murray, if I’d gotten things right the day before I wouldn’t be in this predicament anymore, but that nagging feeling in the back of my mind reminded me that there was more dirty laundry piling up in everyone’s closets (on the floor, because the laundry baskets were still downstairs). Finally, on the second day, I found the time to fold the Mt. Everest of laundry that was piled up on my couch. That night I even got the kids’ laundry put away in between showering them and getting them ready for bed. So close.
I woke up on day three to more laundry on my closet floor and a basket of my laundry and Big Man’s in our bedroom, still not put away. Arghhhhhhhh!!! How did Bill Murray ever move on to a new day in Groundhog Day anyway? Today is day four. All of my laundry is put away. Big Man’s is sitting on the rocking chair in our bedroom, waiting for him to put it away (because I draw the line at putting another adult’s laundry away), and I am doing laundry, again. Currently, load three is in the dryer. It’s early enough in the day that I will probably fold all of my clean laundry in front of the TV tonight, but it won’t get put away until tomorrow, and there will be more dirty laundry waiting for me as soon as that clean laundry is put away. It doesn’t help that Sue’s kids strip down every time they come over and I find random extra socks around the house after they leave. It will never end!
I’ve tried a variety of things to avoid the Groundhog Day effect. You can hold out until people are on the verge of going to school and work naked, and you will get a little break from doing laundry. However, the resulting side effect is several days of digging yourself out of the laundry mountain you have built around yourself, which just brings the Groundhog Day effect right back. I’ve tried doing laundry every other day, in attempt to keep things small and manageable, hoping to get it right the first time and then get every other day off. This can work, BUT let’s not forget that bed sheets and bath towels need to get washed too, and this usually adds to the overall process slowing things down and thus bringing about the return of the Groundhog Day effect. I refuse to be that mama who does laundry every day. Sure, the loads would be smaller and I could get everything done in a day, but that’s just choosing to be Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. I can’t go there, it’s sad and ugly. In the summer I know I’ll wind up there with towels and bathing suits for three or four of us from beach trips and pool play dates, so I just won’t let myself go there the rest of the year.
However, I would say that there is one mama task that is worse that doing laundry. It’s doing the dishes. Most people wear one outfit a day. Kids sometimes need more than one outfit a day. I will admit that running produces one extra outfit to launder, swimming a swim suit and an extra towel, and yoga an extra outfit and extra towels, but eating, that’s three meals worth of dishes plus drinking glasses and snack cups, bowls, plates, whatever. Sure, I eat lunch at work two days a week, but I bring the Tupperware containers home to wash them. Ladybug eats lunch at school, but ditto for her containers. Big Man, bless his heart, buys lunch at work five days a week. I don’t care if you hand wash your dishes, use a dishwasher or do a little of both. There is no way to wake ever wake up from the dish doing cycle. One can never “get it right” and move on. I don’t know that there’s ever any hope with doing dishes, so I’m just going to try to kick the Groundhog Day effect as it pertains to doing laundry. Let me know if any of you ever find a way out.