My knowledge of laundry rivals my knowledge of nuclear physics. I barely know whites from colors. I definitely don’t know when to wash in warm, cold, or hot. And there are more choices on my washing machine than there are on the dollar menu at McDonald’s.
But I do know one thing — the secret to a happy family life is a father willing to roll up his sleeves, assault his nasal passages and tackle laundry mountain. The reason? After all the other work is done — the cooking, the cleaning, the chasing after two small kids — the one chore that no one wants to deal with is the laundry.
That’s where I come in.
My kids cannot survive a meal without covering their clothes and body in food. Spaghetti night often ends with two children looking like they took part in a bloody, ritualistic sacrifice. More yogurt often winds up on their clothes than in their mouths. And let’s not even talk about grape juice.
But stains don’t scare me. I laugh at the sight of leaky diapers. I mock soiled underpants. I stand tall when faced with the goop and grime that my kids inevitably cake onto their clothes. I am Laundryman, hear me spin and rinse!
Trust me, though, I have made my share of laundry mistakes. I once washed a ballpoint pen in a load of pants and jeans, which cost me not only credibility on the laundry front but cost me about $500 in new clothes. (Pro tip: Always check every pocket for pens, kleenex, business cards and a secret stash of Hershey’s Kisses.)
I like to think of myself as my wife’s laundry protege. She is forced to answer my never-ending questions. “Honey, what is gentle cycle?” “Honey, why are there 7 different bottles of laundry detergent on the shelf?” “Honey, does your shirt/pants/skirt/undergarments/yoga pants/socks/bathing suit/sweater/head towel thingy go in the dryer?”
She sometimes gets annoyed with my questions.
But she doesn’t get annoyed with my skill at turning dirty clothes into clean ones. Heck, I don’t even mind folding clothes or putting them away. And this is not to say that my wife avoids laundry duty altogether. She might be lucky to be married to me but she ain’t so lucky as to get a pass on the wash. We tag team the piles and piles — the unceasing piles — of clothes that collect in our laundry room. It is a shared pain. And one that my extra set of hands and arms can ease to free up time for other important familial pursuits, like scrubbing the toilets or mopping the floors.
Well, I gotta run. The laundry’s done and daddy’s got to earn his keep.