I’m no stranger to the laundry room. Second only to the kitchen, it’s where I spend most of my time when home because of the seemingly bottomless pile of dirty, smelly clothes in our house. And before you get all jealous and think laundry room is actually code speak for something way more fabulous, like mom’s yoga studio, reading corner or meditation room, it’s not. It really is just the laundry room, with its bleach-y aroma and all.
When the boys were babies, I remember thinking the laundry was endless. Between diaper blowouts and spit ups (both had reflux so the latter was a near-hourly event), multiple outfit changes throughout the day and night were the norm. I had to wash at least one load every other day just to keep up. Now, I could honestly do a load or two every day and still turn around to find more filthy towels and muddy socks on the floor. I think they multiple when my back is turned — like bunnies or Gremlins.
Why am I always doing laundry? It’s not like we’re the Duggar family with 19 kids (can you imagine? I can barely manage my 2 some days) or even the Jolie-Pitt clan with 6 (as if anyone would ever mistake me for Angelina in any way, shape or form — please), both of whom I imagine would laugh at my lame interpretation of what constitutes excessive amounts of wash since we’re only a family of four. But it does seem like I’m always in the laundry room. I credit (blame?) sports.
Sports = blood, sweat and tears. Blood, sweat and tears = laundry. Lots and lots of laundry.
Ok, there’s not usually any blood, thankfully, and no tears that my boys will actually admit to. But there is definitely sweat. Very smelly, pre-teen boy sweat. And dirt, grass and mud (remember how rainy it was this past spring? I was buying bleach in bulk).
Both my boys play on 2-3 sports teams per season. With games and/or practices nearly every night of the week, their laundry loads are doubled. I imagine this is what it’s like to have 4 or 5 kids, sans the extra mouths to feed. Filthy t-shirts, shorts and socks fill the house while stinky uniforms, compression shorts and dry fit shirts add to the locker room-esq atmosphere. Add in the “accessories” for each sport — shooting sleeves and headbands for basketball, padded pants and girdles for football, sliding shorts for baseball, pinnies and fabric necklaces for lacrosse — and there’s always something else to clean. Don’t get me started on the equipment, gear bags, sneakers and cleats … that’s a lost cause.
No game or practice on the docket? A rarity, but no worries. The boys keep the laundry baskets full by heading out to the yard to play ball and dirty up some more clothes. My youngest son is the best (worst?) at this because he matches his clothes to his activities. Shooting hoops in the driveway? Gotta have on the vintage Jordan jersey … Playing football in the backyard? Switch to the Eagles jersey … Practicing lacrosse? Time to change into a UNC shirt and colorful lax shorts. Did I mention this is all within 24 hours? He changes his ensemble more times in one day than an awards show host does in an evening.
Can’t play or practice one day? No problem. Even playing video games or watching sports on TV produces excessive amounts of laundry in our house. Why? Because just as he does when he’s playing sports, my youngest likes to dress the part — from head to toe — to show his team spirit. Playing Madden NFL on Wii as the Seahawks? Layer on the blue and green gear … Watching the UVa v. Vandy College World Series baseball game on TV? Break out the orange and blue (go ‘Hoos!) … Flipping channels between World Cup matches? That requires multiple outfit changes to match multiple team colors (you should see him during March Madness!). The best part is, my little sports nut puts all of these clothes in the wash. Played in or sat in, dirty or not, it all finds its way into the hamper, thereby becoming stinky by association and now in need of laundering as well. Thanks.
The irony, though, is that I still find one lone, used sock under his bed and pairs of crumpled up, worn underwear on his closet floor all the time. Can you say frustrating?
So what’s the answer to my overwhelming laundry dilemma? The easy solution would be to limit the boys to just one team per season, thereby reducing the volume to some degree. But what would we possibly do with all those free nights and empty laundry baskets? Guess I’ll just keep stockpiling bottles of Tide.