Feel negative and frustrated every time you do the laundry? You are not alone.
If you want to push my buttons, throw a piece of clean laundry into the basket. If you're a parent, you know exactly what I'm talking about. "What do you mean this is dirty? You didn’t even wear it!"
Or maybe your laundry basket absolutely stinks. Spit up, outdoor play, or just plain hormones can create quite the stench. Ugh. Or perhaps you're just feeling overwhelmed, exhausted by the process of keeping up with it all. Just when you get a system, the seasons change or your schedule changes and it's time to sort through it all again.
Without awareness, doing laundry can bring about all sorts of triggers. I like to refer to triggers as spikes, a sensation that just pokes at you.
1. See Laundry as a Teachable Moment. Without awareness, triggers can get passed on. For example, if your mother or father had a fit about laundry or complained about the dishes, you too might have a tendency to dislike the job. Rather than complain, consider making the chore a teachable moment. For example, you might have a younger child begin by learning how to match socks while hanging out by your side. This increases the chance your child will think of chores as opportunities for connection!
2. Wash Clothes Less Often. There are certain items that don’t need to be washed on a regular basis, such as sweaters and jeans. Teach children how to know when something is ready to be washed. For example, a shirt with an odor, sweat, or a stain needs to be washed right away. Something you wore for just a few hours can wait.
3. Separate Towels and Sheets. Nothing is worse than having a sock or pair of underwear stuffed into a fitted sheet. The laundry process will go much smoother if you separate these out ahead of time. Towels need a bit more time to dry, so if you do them first you won’t have to wait as long to tackle the other piles of laundry.
4. Do Small Loads at a Time. Some families do large loads once or twice a week. If this is working for you, then it is likely you are not getting triggered. However, if you dread doing laundry and find yourself making big huffy breaths over the job, then you might want to consider smaller loads.
5. Delegate Early. There are many ways family members can help out. Carrying the laundry to the washing machine, folding, putting clothes away, and more. While this can get more difficult as children get older and their schedules fill up, it is important to let kids know that their busy schedules don’t let them off the hook. There is always something they can do to help out.
6. Choose Your Battles. Encourage the behavior you would like to see with phrases such as "Use your laundry basket" or "Shoes in the closet." While you might sound like a broken record, some kids actually need consistent, simple reminders (rants don’t count).
7. Tap Into Your Emotions. Here is the thing: Triggers are not emotions, they are reactions. If you are reacting to the amount of laundry, consider that you may not be fully processing your emotions. For example, could that pile of laundry be bringing up a feeling of inadequacy in you? If so, take a step back and allow yourself to breath into those feelings. It may not necessarily be the process of doing the laundry but rather the reminder of the expectations you have placed on yourself that creates the reaction. I find once you take the time to feel your emotions these triggers lessen, giving you more energy to accomplish household tasks.
Keep reading: More from Sherianna Boyle.