By Diane Ako
I've come to realize I like hanging up the laundry. I've done it for years - we have a clothesline - both to reduce my carbon footprint and to reduce my electricity bill.
I'm the only one who does it. I have never minded it - and my mother, aunts, and grandmother did it - and when time and energy allows, I hang up the clothes. If not, I toss it in the dryer.
Of all the house chores, I like doing the laundry the most. I never have five piles waiting for me by the weekend. I have other cleaning tasks that need dire attention, but not dirty clothes.
From all these years viewing it from a neutral standpoint, I just made the leap in my mind that I actually like hanging up clothes. Why? Because it's ME TIME!
I'm slow to this party. Other mothers know this secret. My work friend Jennifer Humphrey has two young boys, and her Me Time is going to the grocery store without children because "you can take your time, walk through the aisles, think about what you want to make. It's different when I'm with them and I have to rush through as quickly as possible."
With my laundry, nobody wants to help, and I have definitely asked repeatedly before. They think it's like, the kiss of death or something.
Claus will only use the dryer, which I do not criticize because at least he's getting it done. Olivia just doesn't want to, and it's more trouble than it's worth for me to stand there and tell her over and over again what to do.
The other day I realized it's like running away, without running away. I'm going to a place that still qualifies as Mommy Being At Home, yet far enough away to not be disturbed. They know if they come out they risk being made to work so they avoid the laundry area when they know I'm headed out.
The other week, I was hanging up clothing and listening to Olivia whine at Claus over something. And I hid out there.
I noticed I was zoning out pleasantly as I hung up the latest batch. I like laundry. It's clean, it smells good, and I am mostly just standing still doing a soothingly repetitive motion. I now look forward to having to hang up (or taken down) clothes.
It's perfect! I can actually go somewhere ten feet away that people will actively avoid! It's like teleporting to a secret place! Some people hide in the bathroom, but I escape to the laundry room!
I used to hide in my home office but sometimes people would still open the door without knocking and come inside, or whine outside the door that they wanted to come in. Then I would have to tell my husband to just give me ten more minutes.
The secret is to find a place nobody wants to go! Why didn't I think of this before! I should also start adding in yard-poop cleanup! I'll be treated like a measles-carrier!
I'm both pleased with myself for figuring this out, and a little sad when I look at what now constitutes, for me, joy. There was a time when I was hip with the latest trends and food eateries, able to go out to concerts, and planning hikes and surf dates with my friends.
Today, my pleasure is in realizing the laundry room is a fun place to be. Parenting=FUN!
I'm now strategizing how often I can wash clothes (and pick up poop - can I honestly hide in the yard for an hour "picking up poo" when we only have one dog?)
*sigh* At least we probably have the cleanest clothes on the block.
What's your secret hideout from the family?