For years I begged and pleaded for a clothes dryer – I had clothes in front of the fire, clothes in the sunporch, clothes in the carport, clothes in the linen cupboard, and clothes on the outside clothes line. Hours upon hours were spent in processing washing, and then hours were spent bemoaning my lack of time off, the continuous grind of housework, the frustration and irritation with the kids because I never had enough time in the day to get everything done so I couldn’t spend time doing fun things with the children – which was the whole point in having them!
Finally, it wasn’t until I realised the impact the wet hanging items were having on our house and therefore on our health, did I start to really rethink the situation. I also didn’t realise that with very strong-willed, traditional men, its not until you yourself are fully convinced of the problem that they start to sit up and take notice. I also became aware of how I simply was not enjoying my motherhood experience because my valuable time was being taken up with tasks that were essential but of limited value. So I started letting things stay on the line until a dry day came, instead of rushing to get them in even when partly dry and then having to finish them off somewhere else – hence double hanging. I would spend this time reading a book to a child or doing a jigsaw puzzle – having quality time with my children.
Not only did I save time, but to a traditional man, this simply was not right – you cant leave the same things hanging on the line for days on end – and it did not look good to the neighbours and was too unconventional – something had to be done, and it was – a clothes dryer was promptly purchased. It felt like such a luxury to have such a piece of equipment in our house – I felt like royalty…but with a twist. We could afford to buy something expensive, but too poor to use it!
At this point I didn’t understand the true efficiency of the machine, so only used it when it had been raining for a few days and the carport line was full. I no longer hung things inside as I now understood the unhealthiness of living inside a hothouse- and simply did not want to continue growing the unwanted organisms of mould and fungus. It wasn’t until one of my boys was stung twice, and hubby was also stung from a wasp inside their clothes that hanging clothing on the carport line stopped. I dreaded the power bill that month, but I needn’t have. I was now using it every second day but the criticism from its use also increased. Even these negative comments stopped however when the expensiveness of the clothes dryer came up for discussion with a visiting electrician who made the comment that one load of clothes in the dryer cost no more than between 30-50 cents! For some this was the cost of a takeaway hot drink, or a chocolate bar a week – I don’t buy these things so my luxury item became my time.
I now have time to read to my children every day for over 30 minutes, be in the garden, spend time with hubby, visit with my friends and family, have time off. The clothes dryer can spend valuable time doing the unimportant but necessary things of life, while I spend my time doing the truly valuable things that only I can do – building relationships and memories that money cannot buy and a machine cannot do. What is the real cost of saving money when you lose precious quality time with your children? I know what is of more value.
30 minutes later you have finally decided what you are going to wear to an event and the deep voice of your beloved live-in critic starts their appraisal:
“You’re not wearing that are you?”
“That top gapes.”
“You cant wear those shoes!”
“What did you buy that for?”
Finally you have had enough and your fashion esteem has not only gone out the window but you wish you could follow it as the last two attempts at changing into something acceptable has made the whole family late!
What do you do? Do you just resign yourself to the fact that they don’t like what you wear and so decide to wear really outrageous stuff just to prove your individuality, or do you have a fashion parade every time you go out as a family just to make sure they approve? or is there another option? There is!
For those who share a home with a live-in critic you realise after a short space of time, that you can either be in a war zone 24/7 or you can come to the infuriating discovery that sometimes the critic is actually frustratingly right! I read an article on overcoming criticism and their advice was to simply agree with the critic – it takes the enjoyment completely out of the activity for them and the quantity of criticism decreases. So…with this in mind I decided to give it a go with the wardrobe.
Firstly I did my own personal work on my wardrobe overhaul by:
The fun began. I had given him permission to be as blunt as he wanted – i.e. “yes you do look fat in that”. I was expecting to have nothing left in my wardrobe but to my great delight he was actually really constructive. Amazingly there were clothes he did like, and the ones he didn’t were explained with valid reasons. The feminine side of my bloke actually existed! The process took exactly 40 minutes.
Well, the criticism dramatically lessened as I took to heart the basic reasons he didn’t like certain items i.e. gaped, was impractical (didn’t cover my back properly) etc, and he didn’t want to have to endure another fashion-parade and… each time he doesn’t like something and I don’t love the item I give it away – and he sees his hard earned cash clothing someone else! He’s decided that silence is not only golden but also cheaper!
Mothers dream of having a day off where they can relax knowing that the children are cared for and the only person they have to think about is themselves – Oh blissful thought! Unfortunately for most of us, the person left in charge of the small beings doesn’t always realise that the role of mother involves more than just playing games with the children and watching movies. Normally the task is carried out alongside a never-ending round of housework, meals, phone calls, nappies and other domestic drudgery. The smell of a dirty nappy normally wafts up just when you’re on roll with getting lunch ready, and the phone always goes as an all out war breaks out between the siblings – again when you’re trying to make lunch! So, with all this in mind it is no wonder that the person in charge of the house for the day puts their feet up, ignores the housework (doesn’t even notice its there) and feeds the kids convenience foods from the freezer.
All this would be manageable, if it wasn’t for the fact that the housework didn’t take a day off – the mother did, and any revitalization she may have gained from the ‘day off’ has to bid her well for two days worth of work facing her the next day.
So what can be done about this?, you may be saying as you fling your hands in the air in desperation. Yes, you do actually need to take a break from the house and the continual responsibility of small people, no one can live on no time off. These are my remedies so far:
The first system I have discovered accidentally is that of having 3 laundry baskets and sorting as I take items off the clothes line i.e. I have 1/2 of the clothes basket for one child’s items, the other 1/2 for the other child. Another basket has all the linen etc. I fold big items like towels and bedding as I take it off the clothes line. Once inside I dump each child’s items in a hamper in their bedroom. This process takes out the step where I dump the unfolded/sorted clean laundry onto the couch or bed, and then face a mountainous pile that leaves me feeling completely overwhelmed as it is normally faced just before going to bed because I have forgotten about it – or deliberately avoided it for as long as I can! You also don’t have to dump clean laundry out if you have other things to get out of the machine – because you have another couple of baskets to use.
After using this system I would not go back to the old one – my husband – bless his cotton socks – got a couple of loads of washing off the line for me the other day and just dumped everything into the basket – as is normal! – and I again had to face the mountainous pile that was dumped on my bed as a result – took me three times as long to process and again – was done at the end of a long, hard day.
Love to hear all your ideas
Hello everyone! I'm so excited to be able to share some of my experiences with you, and so look forward to hearing some of yours. My passion is to help others avoid unrequited love, and to enjoy, (rather than endure) their parenthood experience. I am no expert in these areas but want to try and fill in some of the gaps the experts don't talk about, or simply gloss over. I look forward to your thoughts.