Laundry Duty

by georgettejohn

Doing Laundry is not something I look forward to. I cringe when I see it accumulating. I might just need to change my perspective.

I don't know many people that take great aches and pains when completing their laundry but there are always exceptions. I am sure many women follow the laundering instructions on the tags of their clothing and with precision sort their laundry by color and fabric type. Why do they go to such extremes while some of us dread doing laundry and do it as quickly as possible? These aren't intense questions but they are questions I pondered recently.

If a poll were conducted to determine the ten household tasks people despise completing the most, I believe doing laundry would rank in the top 5 responses, perhaps because it feels as though it is a perpetual chore. Granted, with the availability of automatic washing machines and dryers I shouldn’t gripe. I do have it easier than the women before me or so my husband used to say, until he started doing some of his own.  Realistically though, do I?  Is my daily grind of dealing with laundry any easier than the wash day of the past? In earlier times families typically consisted of more children but those children didn’t have the wardrobe the majority of children have today and I highly doubt they threw their clothes into the hamper as frequently!

Do you enjoy doing laundry or do you dread it?

In elementary school, the subjects in history class included a chapter or “unit” as it is now called, on household chores and responsibilities. I remember seeing the illustrations depicting the men leaving to hunt or gather food and the women gathering laundry. The laundry was dragged to the nearest source of water; usually a river or brook and wash day began.  Using washboards or rocks, lard soap and a lot of muscle power. Scrubbing, rinsing, lifting pounds and pounds of wet clothing and twisting out the excess water wasn’t for the weak.  My grandmothers remembered this manner of doing laundry and were women of the “ringer washer” era as well.  Both probably jumped for joy when the first top loading automatic washing machine was introduced in 1947. During this period of time there was a rise in demand for electric dryers which were initially introduced in 1938 and marketed under the name of “June Day”.

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I am wondering if that is why my own mother is so precise with her laundry. Did her mother instill in her a sense of duty to strive for perfection when doing laundry because they had been blessed with such a modern invention?  Or do I just take my conveniences for granted as I procrastinate sorting, folding and putting away the mountain of clothes that seems to grow daily? I stand corrected, the shirts, towels and jeans seem to multiply while half of the socks seem to take up residence elsewhere.

Regardless of the reason, my mother retains her title as the ultimate queen of laundry and she always will.  I overheard my daughter mentioning she had a stain on one of her favorite shirts and my other daughter quickly responded, “Take it to Na-Na. She will get it out. She knows how to get any stain out.” I must admit she is right and my mother’s skills don’t end there.  Whenever there is an occasion that something complicated needs to be ironed or “pressed” as she terms it, it is brought to her.  She has an “ironing day” that is in stark contrast to my habit of throwing a towel on the table to quickly iron a shirt rather than yank the ironing board out of storage!

I guess it is a matter of perspective. I grew up with the luxury of an automatic washer and dryer so I view using them as a dreaded task. Perhaps that is the problem with many of the responsibilities we have to complete each day. We take for granted the relative ease in completing some of our household chores in comparison to what women before us had to do in order to get the job done.

Updated: 04/17/2013, georgettejohn
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Rose on 04/18/2014

I tend to iron things just before I wear them.

georgettejohn on 04/17/2013

When my son was an infant the only thing that would calm his colic/screaming was the sound of the vacuum! I think that is why I find vacuuming therapeutic to this day!

BrendaReeves on 04/17/2013

Why do we hate it so much? My brother washes dishes by hand, and he thinks it's therapeutic. I find vacuuming therapeutic and hanging out the clothes.

georgettejohn on 04/17/2013

Thanks for the comments Sethisis and Brenda! Brenda...I also despise doing dishes! My daughters do too! My youngest won't even touch a dirty dish without gloves on that go up to her's actually rather funny to watch her do them!

BrendaReeves on 04/17/2013

It's not my favorite chore, but I don't hate it. I hate, hate, hate washing dishes. That's my least favorite chore. My favorite is vacuuming and hanging clothes on the line if weather permits. All the rest, you can have.

Sethisis on 04/17/2013

You are so right! I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. It feels like a never ending wash, all needing to be separated into colours and whites, different temperatures for different things, etc. I still have a few bags of clothes from when I didn't have a washing machine lying around waiting to be washed! I'm seriously considering chucking them away. Lovely article =]

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