Have a great Monday, busy mom!
“My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.” – Erma Bombeck
Does the thought of all the laundry you have to do overwhelm and discourage you? If so, you’re not alone. Laundry is one of those things we tend either love or hate!
I used to hate it—but in all honesty, I don’t anymore. I love the smell of clean laundry. And I REALLY like grabbing shirts and dresses out of the dryer before they need to be ironed! Mmmm. Lavender fabric softener is my new guilty pleasure. 🙂 But I won’t tell if you won’t!
No matter how you feel about this age old chore, it’s always good to feel like you’ve got the best of it instead of the other way around. No, really! You can! It’s important. And you don’t need a laundry “room” to be really great at getting a handle of doing laundry. In fact, I devoted a huge part of a chapter to laundry in “The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight” because I honestly believe that if we had a better system, laundry would not be such a chore.
So without further adieu, here are FIVE of my favorite laundry tips! Let me know what your favorite tips are – if they make my next article, I’ll send you a free copy of my book.
Train your children to do laundry. I’m not kidding! If your child is just three years old he is not too little to start training. A three year old can put laundry in the hamper. She can help you put the clothes into the washing machine.
So often, moms find themselves overwhelmed when a quick glance around the room reveals a much bigger issue: children who could and should be helping simply are not.
Start when they are little. By the age of eight, my kids can run both the washer and the dryer, and they can measure the detergent too. Teens can do their own laundry. Tweens should be helping by folding the baby’s laundry. You get the idea. Put your kids to work! Yes it’s more work for mom initially but the payoff is worth it, and believe me when they move out they will thank you for training them to take care of themselves and others.
Early and often. Fly Lady says, “A load a day keeps the chaos away”, and I could not agree more.
Around our house, the first load is started first thing in the morning. We often run three loads a day but two for our household of 10 is about average. Two loads a day. Kitchen towels pile up and we do them twice a week. My point is—we are doing a lot of little loads to avoid the massive laundry “day” that is sure to pile up if we don’t.
Use a system. This cannot be over-emphasized. 🙂 Systems work! And usually, any system is better than no system!
I wrote about our system at length in my book but I can simplify it by saying that in our house, each BEDROOM has it’s own laundry basket. Here’s how it works:
1. Child fills up his or her laundry hamper.
2. Mom or children start a load and run it through.
3. When laundry comes out of the dryer, it is immediately sorted into the basket that corresponds to the room the child is in.
This makes the CHILD responsible for his or her own laundry. It works. BONUS: It forces the child to think about the amount of clothes they throw in the wash each day. 🙂 And I’m ALL for that!
Think before you buy! In other words—if you have a lot of people in your house, if it wrinkles easily or if it will require extra care, maybe it’s something you should just leave in the store. Yeah. Just say “no” to more work in the laundry room!
Get caught up. Have a laundry-folding party! In our house, when we get behind (and believe me, it happens) then my solution is to gather the troops, dump all the clothes out on the floor and have a FOLD-FEST.
The last time we needed to do this was … mmmm… two days ago. 🙂 I had been gone and we had about eight loads of laundry that needed to be folded and put away. With my kids helping, we got it all done in just over an hour!
hint: if you need to have a fold-fest, take a washcloth, get it wet and throw it into the dryer with the clothes that are too wrinkly to wear. Give it about ten minutes on medium heat. Voila! No ironing!
Ready to Git ‘er done? Train your kids to help, get a system and get moving! You’ll be glad you did!
Feeling behind? Overwhelmed?
Good news! If you have a child who is four or older, you’ve got help! 🙂
Homeschooling is a lifestyle. Around here, sometimes that means taking the day off and catching up on chores that have been overlooked. We teach our children the importance of working simply because they are part of the family. While we reward our children for “extra” things like washing the car or helping with a family project, their primary reward is the reward of working together as a family. Of appreciating the food they eat and the clothes they wear—and the warm comfy bed that greets them each night.
As they grow, knowing they have done a good job by helping their parents around the house becomes a reward in and of itself, and an important part of growing up.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to train up your kids! Train them in every way you can—pretty soon they will be running their own homes.
I like to make individual checklists of everyday assignments for our kids. I plan six months at a time if I can. It takes me two days to make these checklists for each of our kids. I’ve attached a page from last year.
Notice that I have a special time set aside for each child to go over their assignments. 🙂 The checklist is meant to help them know what is expected of them each week. And no. We don’t always get it all done. But we try. 😀
Last week, I spoke for NCHE (North Carolinians for Home Education) at their awesome conference in Winston-Salem. I loved being able to talk with many of the 6000+ attendees on everything from multi-level teaching to marriage. Moms, and especially homeschool moms really float my boat. They are my people, if you know what I mean. 🙂 I get being a mom. Most of the women I spoke to had similar questions and the biggest one is usually “Am I doing enough?”
We do so much, don’t we? Or at least we try to do so much. Ballet, soccer, music lessons, co-op, church, birthday parties. Just looking at a potential list of all the things I “could” be doing but am not makes me feel like a failure sometimes.
Man, we’re hard on ourselves! I used to ask myself if I was doing enough a lot when our kids were all little, but I must admit, it’s lessening with each passing year. Now that two of our daughters are grown, I find myself emotionally tied to less “super” things … and more sappy ones. Turns out that the best memories we all share are pretty simple. Like reading together. Nothing “super” about that… or is there? 🙂
One of the reasons I love speaking to moms is because it provides me with an opportunity to “be real” about my own life—flaws and all. You see, there’s no such thing as a mom who has it all together. The mom who is SUPER academic will often wonder why she can’t be more laid back like her unschooling friend. And the mom who is SUPER organized may secretly wish she could be more laid back. Some moms are SUPER at socializing while others are SUPER at crockpot dinners. We’ve all got our strengths and weaknesses. And that’s okay. I think the key to avoiding Super Mom Syndrome is just to keep being real with each other.
You see I’ve come to believe that the best encouragement comes from ordinary moms being … well … ordinary. It’s not the “Super Moms” that encourage me. It’s the moms who share the same struggles I do but who remain willing to try again tomorrow. The mom who can say “Yeah, I thought about quitting homeschooling last week too!” … and then didn’t quit because she was reminded of the why rather just the oh-so-daily tasks of homeschooling.
The mom who falls down, and then talks about how God met her where she was at—and kept at it—shows us that His strength really is made perfect in weakness.
That’s the good stuff.
At the end of the day, my kids won’t remember me as Super Mom. But I hope they remember that I loved them. That I asked for forgiveness when it was necessary. That I wasn’t embarrassed to put a frozen pizza in the oven even when company came over for dinner unannounced and that I taught them how to navigate the often rough waters of parenthood with a little flair all their own. I hope they learn how to listen for the Lord so that they take on His yoke and not someone else’s. His yoke is easy. His burden is light.
You don’t have to be Super Mom. Just have to Abide in Him. You can do all things through Christ.