On My Soap Box

This is an excerpt from my book, I’m Going to be the Greatest Mom Ever … Even if it Kills Me

Picture – Just for fun 🙂

Oh - Don't We Wish!

On My Soap Box

When I dream of mountains, I picture myself twirling around in a meadow on top of a high mountain in the middle of the Alps singing at the top of my lungs, “Climb Every Mountain!” The view is incredible.  I can see for miles.  The air is crisp and clean.  Even the mud looks clean from the top of the mountain.

But since I’m not Julie Andrews and I do live in Iowa, the only mountains I get to envision on a daily basis are stinky, dirty, dingy piles of clothing that never seem to go away. As I look at my mountains of laundry I’m not even tempted to twirl around and gleefully sing “Climb Every Mountain.”

Instead I sing a song that goes like this:

This is the pile that never ends.  It just goes on and on my friends.  Some people started doing it not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue doing it forever just because this is the pile that never ends. It just goes on and on my friends…

I figure that if I keep singing loudly enough, my children just might think I have gone absolutely mad and might banish me from the “Mount Neverest” room forever.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  I have a sleeping bag that has been in my laundry room for at least a year. It’s waiting for space in the washer—when there is nothing that “needs” to be done. But just when I’m getting close to being done, the inevitable happens—someone gets sick. Before you know it, three more kids are sick. In one day a family of sick children can produce more laundry than an entire regiment of soldiers.  Why is it that two-year-olds turn their heads away from the bucket?  Oh, but that is another topic.

One big advantage to home schooling is that if there isn’t any clean laundry, the kids can wear their pajamas and no one notices. One morning I had not yet made it out of my pajamas, but I drove Ashley over to feed her horses anyway. It was one of those Mommy Moments for me.  My daughter looked at me and said, “Only you, Mom!”  It was the moment I had longed for all my motherhood—the moment my daughter would roll her eyes and realize that she did indeed have a complete kook for a mom.

As much as I try, the children insist that I am not a kook, but a cook.  I have tried on numerous occasions to inform them that I have indeed now gone stark raving mad.  But, they don’t buy it.  They still come to me and say, “What’s for dinner?”

After days of endless laundry, I will often tell them that they are getting nothing for dinner that has the slightest chance that someone will spill it, drip it, drop it, or wipe it.  That pretty much narrows the choices down quite considerably. “Let’s see…hmmm…you can have dry cereal!”

To which, of course, they all shout, “Hurray!”

One of my mommy-ponders is how is it possible for an eighteen-month-old to manage to get oatmeal in his socks? I have also tried to figure out why I never have any clean towels. We have about twenty-five dishtowels.  But, we never have one in the drawer.  Where do they go?  Do washing machines really have hidden digestive systems?

Another mommy-ponder of mine is, if clothes touch the floor, does that mean they are dirty?  My children are more than willing to pick a spoon up off the floor and use it.  They are willing to drop an apple outside on the ground, wipe it off on their shirt, and eat the apple. But, if they have a shirt that is on the floor, they will not pick it up and wear it. This doesn’t make sense to me.

I’ve decided to create a new line of laundry products.  I think the soap will be a big hit.  I’ll call it “Mountain Moments.”  My slogan for the television commercials (starring my eight darling children, of course) will be,

Do you have a Mount Neverest? Try “Mountain Moments,” and you’ll be glad you did. From the moment you open the box, it will spread an aroma throughout your laundry room that will even make the urine scent from the wet sheets pleasant and inviting.  Do you smell mildew coming from the towels left in a clump?  “Mountain Moments” will turn them into snow-capped mountains.  Relax and enjoy your Mount Neverest again!

When I was a little girl I remember Mom declaring, “Laundry Day!”  We would gather all the clothes from the hampers.  We only had two kids and two grown-ups, but there sure was a huge pile of clothes.   We’d pile all the dirty clothes at the top of the stairs and try, without actually picking them up, to get them down to the basement.  Often my sister and I would sit on top of the huge pile and ride it down like an avalanche.  The only problem was that on occasion I would find that I had stuck my hand right on someone’s underwear.  “Oooh—skidmarks!” I’d scream. I hated carrying all that laundry down to the basement.

My mom had no system for laundry really.  She was just basically doing crisis management.  We would finally get all the clothes down to the basement, and then we would have to sort them all.  I kind of thought it made them dirtier sitting on the cold basement floor.

I was so happy when I discovered bins. I use huge Rubbermaid containers to transport, sort, and deliver all of our laundry.  I only have four because that’s how many will fit in the laundry room.  You can tell a house that has been designed by a man because he puts the washer and dryer in a little, tiny space.

Our previous home was brand new with five bedrooms, a gigantic master bath, and a laundry room that was only six feet by six feet and tucked as far away from the bedrooms as possible.  In fact, you had to go through the little, teeny-tiny laundry room to enter the house from the garage. There wasn’t even a sink in it!  There was one cupboard above the washer and dryer (like any normal-sized person would be able to reach inside the cupboard).  I had to locate a stepstool every time I needed to get the Bounce sheets out.

And what about the names of soap?  Who comes up with these names?

“Okay, everyone up!  We’re going to wash ‘All’ the laundry today.”

“What do you mean? Aww, Mom.”

“‘Cheer’ up.  It could be worse. You could be poor and not have any clothes.  You could not have electricity and have to wash your clothes in the ‘Surf.’  Consider it pure ‘Joy.’ Stem the ‘Tide’ of this poor behavior and make your attitude become white as ‘Ivory Snow.’”

Laundry is one of a home schooling mom’s biggest challenges. It’s one of those things that you think you get a handle on, then suddenly, the bins are full again.

Take Jill for example.  One day, she had all her laundry done.  She was feeling pretty good about it, too.  She had delegated, as a good home schooling mom should.  Nathan folded all the clothes.  Heather, being the “observant one,” thought it a bit odd that Nathan was folding clothes that didn’t look quite that clean.  When she questioned him, Nathan just said the clothes were stained.

Well, the next day as Jill was putting the clothes into the drawers she noticed a “smell.”  Hmmm? she thought to herself.  These clothes aren’t clean. It became obvious to her when she saw food, dirt, juice, and other stains on the clothes. Well, so much for those clean clothes. She gathered the rest of the “clean” laundry and took the clothes back to the laundry room.  So much for a job completed, she thought as she erased the checkmark next to “laundry” on her chart.

Life continued on as usual for Jill until she and the kids dropped by their local library for a visit.  Nathan climbed out of the van and headed for the door.  When Jill caught sight of his pants, she was horrified! His pants were not just a little dirty. They were disgustingly dirty. He had grass stains down the entire length of his pants. Trying not to lose her temper in front of all the clean-looking people who were walking into the library, she asked impatiently in a hushed voice, “Nathan, why are you wearing those dirty pants?”

“Uhhh, I thought they were just stained, Mom.”

To be quite honest, I think having a child wear clothes he thinks are stained might be a lot better than the three-year-old who simply cannot decide what to wear.

He rises early and puts on an outfit.  Shortly after breakfast, finding he has dribbled a bit of milk on his shirt, he confidently marches back to his room to find a new shirt.  But, of course, the blue pants don’t go with that striped shirt.  He remembers that he has some checked pants that would look simply marvelous.  He shuffles through the first drawer, pulling some out so he can get a better look. Not in there, he decides. He then weeds through the clothes in the second drawer. Nope, not in there either. Perhaps, he will find them in the third.  He digs some more and then notices, Oh, there they are. He picks the pants up off the floor and puts them on.

Being a helpful little tyke, he grabs the rest of the clothes on the floor and stuffs them back into the first drawer.

He goes out to his mother who takes one look at him.  She obviously doesn’t know how much looking he did to find those checked pants, and she tells him to find his red overalls. Back to the room the little tyke goes.  Red pants, red pants, must find red pants.

He doesn’t know the color red yet, but he’s sure he’s found them.  So he puts them on.  By this time, the poor little tyke is so tired he just leaves the heap of clothes on the floor.

When he finds his mother (in the laundry room, of course) he tells her he’s dressed.  She just looks at him and shakes her head.  He found the red overalls.  But how in the world did he manage to put them on backwards?

As his mother makes her way down the hall to a bedroom to put away (what else, clothes) she sees out of the corner of her eye what used to be a clean room.  She calls the little boy in to pick up his room.  (For some reason, this mother leaves the child to complete this task on his own.) When she returns, she is satisfied.

A few days pass and we find mother, once again, in the laundry room.  She is sorting clothes and finds, folded pajamas! She becomes suspicious and realizes that three-fourths of the laundry belongs to one little boy.

Just as she’s beginning to feel a screaming attack come over her, her precious son comes in and says, “How do I look, Mom?  Aren’t I handsome?”

He’s wearing his three-piece suit that she just bought him to be the ring bearer for Aunt Josephine’s wedding next Saturday. He managed to get the pants on the right way.  His little clip-on tie is straight and perfect.  His hair is slicked down and parted.  And chocolate ice cream is dripping off his chin…

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