I know what you’re thinking, how could anyone love washing? Why would anyone want to love washing? And it’s not like its my calling in life, I haven’t found my passion standing in front of my front loader. But I prefer it to just about every other household chore (aside from cooking, but I’ll get back to that).
Five and a bit years ago I entered a crazy world of new motherhood with a very unsettled baby. She didn’t sleep well, it took hours and hours of every day and every night to get her to sleep and the sleeping part never lasted very long. I remember Mr Good and I playing tag team to sleep, me in bed between 8pm and midnight and him from midnight to 6am when he had to get up for work. If I was lucky I could get back to bed sometime after 8am when the baby finally succumbed to sleep for a couple of hours. The days were hazy in the midst of such sleep deprivation. The crying was an intense soundtrack to that period of my life. Not many things got done in those days. There was a lot of take away, there was little cleaning. The nights were long, the days were lonely and the house was a disaster. But the one thing I managed to keep on top of was the washing. I could put a load on. Two hours later I could hang it out – being outside on my own was heaven. And although I didn’t always get it folded and put away, Mr Good often stepped in and did that bit as I lay exhausted on the couch in the evening, or more likely, pacing the floor with a crying baby. When I think back to it those months didn’t last too long, things improved at little at six months and by twelve months we were really turning the corner. But they will stay etched in my mind forever. As will that tiny feeling of satisfaction of actually getting something done…. even if it was just a load of washing. I couldn’t stop my baby crying, I couldn’t get her to sleep or make her stay asleep for longer than an hour, but I could get some dirty clothes, cleaned and dried.
Thankfully second time around my experience was vastly different. A dream baby one might say, although at the six month mark she changed from being a terrific sleeper to one not so good. She’s rarely slept through since then, but she’s never cried for hours or taken hours to get back to sleep. She needs what she needs and then she’s satisfied and goes back to sleep. While I would LOVE to have a consistent, uninterrupted night’s sleep and not to always have an extra body in my bed, it is not like those initial early days with baby number one. Yet still, washing is one of the few things that gives me a daily dose of the satisfaction you get from actually finishing something.
I’m in my groove with washing. I do a load each day – or often overnight. I hang a load up to dry. I fold a load up (my trick is to fold as I take it off the line) and stack into piles, one for each of us. Then I wonder through the bedrooms and put it all away. My goal being not to put the basket down again until it’s empty. It may not be teaching a class of Year 8s about longitude and latitude or introducing a group of Year 7s to a great book and it’s definitely not seeing some Year 12s finally get how to analyse a cartoon printed during the American Revolution, but it is something. Something that I can see through from start to finish, that isn’t undone in 30 seconds like tidying the family room. I don’t need to put other stuff away before I start – like doing the floors – and it sure as hell beats cleaning the bathroom (my most hated of all household duties).
There are a couple of other things that make washing a best job in my house. One is that it gets me outside to hang it up (at least when the weather allows for it) and while I’m out there I tend to have a potter in the garden and the kids have a jump of the trampoline. The other is that my kids have no interest in helping with it so I get to do it BY MYSELF. And secretly I love the challenge of getting a tough stain out….. I’m not saying I’m that great at it, but I’m getting better. I recently totally obliterated some full-blown grass stains on Miss Three’s jeans (she’s VERY clumsy, so it’s probably good I’ve found a way with grass stains).
In writing this post I wondered why I felt this way about washing – of all things! – and not cooking. It has that same quality of being able to see it from start to finish and that I have a groove with. Getting organised early in the day and then pulling it together in the late afternoon or cooking in batches to stock the freezer. And let’s face it cooking is so much more fun than washing. I do actually love the process of cooking SO much more than washing. BUT cooking is also associated with the drama, the battles of the dinner table. Something I really hate and can’t wait to end for good. Washing I do in the laundry and outside pretty much entirely on my own – HEAVEN! – rather than in the centre of the house with little people running around my feet, whining at me and generally disturbing my zen-ness.
And so that’s it, that’s why washing does it for me on a nearly daily basis. But then again, if Mr Good offered to take over the washing duties I’d probably jump at it!