Putting the Permanent Press on Laundry Day

Contrary to popular teen perception, parents don’t like to rag endlessly. It’s just a necessity due to our knowledge of basic scientific principles like that germs can make you sick, or even worse, smelly.

While we are mildly entertained by some excuses our children use for not doing what we ask, most leave us lukewarm. Like my children’s latest, “But Mom, we’re concerned for your finances and we’re saving you a fortune in water bills by not doing laundry.”

What a load of ….dirty laundry.

The concern for finances was touching but it didn’t hold water. I should have been tipped off when I passed my son’s room and had un-explicable high school flashbacks. Now I get it. My locker was near the boy’s gym for four years.

My bad for not conducting weekly room inspections or checking laundry soap bottles for changes. I missed the sledding hill-sized pile of laundry in the corner and the impacted laundry hamper needing the “Jaws of Life” to extricate the clothing crammed inside. I’m hoping the wrinkles from being semi-permanently pressed through the lattice work sides like meat through a grinder will work out in the wash.

I fell for the oldest trick in the book – disguises. Apparently, if you use enough body spray or perfume, it works like olfactory whitewash. My dad hated perfume and if anyone used it he would say they smelled like a French whore. Once I asked him how he knew what they smelled like. I never got an answer so it was all very fishy. I guess they didn’t do their laundry either. Where were their mothers?

Complimenting the kids’ fleecing of foul odors were clothing “extensions.” The kids were supplementing their wardrobes with clothing items begged, borrowed or bought new, rather than putting the dirty ones in a machine, adding soap and pressing a button. After all, lifting a finger might bring on a debilitating condition, like developing personal responsibility or breaking a nail. I also found out that my children and their friends were in a conspiracy, passing their clothing back and forth to support their bad habits for weeks. (It all says Old Navy – how was I supposed to know?)

To keep our kids clean, we moms have started our own 12 step program. Twelve steps to the washing machine, every weekend. And like 007, we use special intelligence tools: laundry pen markings to identify our own kids’ clothing in secret locations that only we are privy to. Not very high tech but we don’t have access to a spy lab and Money Penny won’t put our calls through to Q.

Now I conduct unannounced hamper inspections, routine spot checks and have a designated laundry day schedule. It’s a strict regime, but I’m hard pressed to find a better method.

As for my kids’ money saving excuse, they need to learn to spin a bit better. We have well water and don’t pay a dime for it. I broke the good news, and they looked very relieved. Or was that reviled? At any rate, those drips are going to wash and dry all weekend. Sweet.

Mary Fagan has an M.S. in Education and is the mother of three children. When not inspecting their rooms and checking for clean clothing, she offers lighthearted parenting humor at http://motherwise.us.

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