A Blog from Your Kaiser Permanente Pediatricians in Northern California

Kids and Laundry: 5 Ways to Lighten Your Load

A mom in my office the other day was wearing a T-shirt that said:  “Raising small humans is exhausting.”

It really is, isn’t it? The shirt sparked such a fun conversation I almost forgot to check her kid’s ear! We agreed one of the hardest parts of parenting is the endless laundry.

My sister-in-law and I – both mothers of 3 kids spaced closely in age – have really different approaches to laundry. She only does it on Tuesdays. I do it all the time. No matter how you slice it, doing the laundry can take down the most amazing parent and reduce us to an exhausted heap.

How to get through the loads? Here are 5 ideas:

  • Accept the infinitely refilling nature of the laundry basket. For me, it’s a battle between not letting clothes pile up vs. feeling defeated by the laundry never being completely done. I had to make a conscious choice to give in to its never-ending nature.
  • Daydream about (or indulge in) drinking cups of coffee (or a glass of wine) as you fold each morning (or after the kids are in bed). Or try being zen and fully present about the experience by savoring the scents and feeling of the clean clothes. Doesn’t work as well for me – but maybe you’re a better yogi than I am.
  • Recruit the minions (yours, not Kevin, Stuart, and Bob). Kids can wash their own – they sure know how to make clothes dirty, so why not teach them how to make them clean again? They can take turns washing everyone’s clothes or just be responsible for their own. Or they can sort, fold, deliver. The possibilities are endless.
  • Stop folding – really – our kids don’t care about folded clothing. That said, when I announced my folding strike, one of my 3 did say how much he liked folded clothing. Was he working me?
  • Stop sorting socks. Consider this approach: one big sock bin. If you want a pair – find your own. And seriously, most kids really don’t care about matched socks these days.

Raising small humans is exhausting. Maybe the laundry can be less so.

Find additional resources for parents on My Doctor Online.