April 26, 2011

You’re Doing Your Own Laundry

Filed under: Estrogen,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 12:59 pm

Dear Future Husband and Child (if you’ll ever exist):

You’re doing your own laundry. I will not do it for you provided you have the physical capability of operating the washer and dryer. In your case, child, I’ll do it for you since you won’t be able to for the first several years, being too short. Once tall enough to be able to reach the control and understand simple operating instructions, it’s your job and no longer mine.

I mean, even being single and childless now, it’s pretty disgusting how seldom I do laundry. I rewear stuff quite a bit between washes. Now imagine if I had to do it for both of you, as well!

Especially you, husband. What the hell? Just because you’re married to me doesn’t mean you don’t take care of yourself anymore. You can wash your own damn clothes. You can iron your own damn clothes. Though I don’t get the fascination with ironing as I don’t even own an iron and have only ever used one maybe once or twice. And laundry really is pretty simple. That crap about not mixing whites with colors? Yeah, I have never made that division in doing laundry and there has never been a problem! Seriously, load the clothes, keeping it somewhat balanced, pour in detergent, start it, and go do something else. Come back when it’s done, put stuff into the dryer, which is RIGHT NEXT TO IT, throw in a fabric softener sheet, clean lint screen, push start, and walk away and do something else. Come back when it’s done and – yay! – you’ve cleaned your clothes! Not complicated. Process takes two hours at the most, and very little of that time is spent actually worrying with it. Seriously, if this little chore and numerous others like it that I expect you to do yourself are too much for you, I’m not marrying you. Huge turn off!

All this comes from one of my most important values, which is self-sufficiency and independence. Husband, you should already have this ability and expect to retain it even after we’ve made those vows. Child, well, you’re new to the world and all, so of course you’re not there yet, but I’m here to help you. And by help, I don’t mean do all these things for you. Once you’re able, you’re doing your own laundry. You’re dressing yourself. You’re washing your own dishes. You’re keeping your own room clean. My maternal job here isn’t to do all these things for you just because that’s what wives and moms are supposed to do. No, as your mother, my job is to enable you to do these things yourself. There are way too many people out there who are incapable of the simplest tasks of basic self-care, and damn it, you will not be one of them. I had people like that as college roommates. Your grandfather is like that! As for you, you’ll be doing all these things well before you hit puberty.

I mean, I’m not going to force you to do any of these things, hell no. I don’t intend on having any coercion in that house! I just mean I won’t do it. So you must do it if it gets done at all.

This is not out of laziness, mind you. Like I said, self-reliance needs to be taught and encouraged as early as possible. Some people, if they get taught or encouraged at all, are started on it way too late, sometimes after puberty, after they’ve already gotten used to mommy waiting on them. But this is also about making sure you are unafraid. Children are systematically kept ignorant of the day to day lives of adults, even though they need to know all this since they’ll be adults someday. You, my child, will have at least some familiarity with this early. I’ll show you how to cook various things. I’ll show you how to do basic home repairs that may come up. I will be showing you the utilities bills each month, to see how much these things cost, how some of them change depending on time of year. I’ll show you the tax forms. I’ll ask you to calculate tips at restaurants. You will be present when I purchase a car or house, and I’ll explain each step of the way. Why am I listing all this? Personal reasons, I guess. A decade ago, the mere thought of all these things overwhelmed me, being part of a scary adult world I did not understand and was rarely shown. In your case, if it is shown to you early and often, if you are involved in it, well, I hope you’ll understand it better and are more confident once you take care of these things one day, and you’ll be not only happier but less likely to be taken advantage of. I want to protect you, like any mother, but the best way to do that is to enable you to protect yourself.

Now don’t think I’m all about kicking you out of the nest. I still have lifelong responsibilities to you. For one, yes, I will pay for your education, though exact specifics of this are to be determined once you exist and have gotten that far. My home will always be open to you for free, though once you’re grown and legally able to be elsewhere, I ask that you only exercise this right if you have no other options, like if you haven’t saved up enough money yet or have fallen on hard times. But again, we’ll work these specifics out once we come to it. Still have to make or adopt you!

I don’t want to say too much on what I’ll do once you exist, if the day ever comes, seeing as you don’t exist yet and there are a zillion things I’m just not seeing and don’t know yet. But what the hell is parenting if teaching self-reliance and providing an unconditional safety net aren’t the most important things (next to love, of course)? Keeping you ignorant until age 18 is not parenting. It’s sabotage. My job is making sure you’re okay your entire life, by enabling you to keep yourself okay, and helping you back up if you fall so you can easily be okay again. With all the love I can bestow upon you!

But that mustard stain on your favorite shirt? *hands you bottle of detergent* You’re on your own.


  1. you sound like my mom

    Comment by evilfoods — April 26, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

  2. When it comes to sharing chores (I have lived with my primary partner during the summer for the last 2 years), I just sort of do it on a “who’s up to doing what now” basis while still maintaining a near 50/50 split. I wouldn’t mind doing laundry as long as the other person, for example, cooks that night.

    Comment by Jessica — April 26, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

  3. […] I’ll certainly agree they should be doing their own laundry, besides that, quit your […]

    Pingback by Sure, Why Not? » Dear Tide Parents — December 3, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

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