A new era has begun in the Overtoom house. The girls have stepped up in chore duties by washing, drying and folding their clothes all by themselves! The boys also sort their own clothes and help me wash them.
One of my goals as a mom is that my kids will graduate from high school knowing how to manage money, create a budge, organize a house and keep it clean and do laundry. So when the kids were about five years old, I had them start helping out with laundry by teaching them how to fold clothes. It would begin by me laying out each item of clothing on the floor and showing them how to fold the clothes, how to match socks (I folded them) and how to put them away. We would pile all the clean laundry on my bed, sort it by owner, and those who were older would fold on their own while I helped the novice in-between folding the adult clothes. I would make it fun by telling stories. Their favorite story was one I made up about Jesus and His Father's final planning session before sending Jesus to be conceived in Mary's womb. I made it funny by pretending that Jesus got confused into thinking he would fit the superhero mold, complete with wearing a blue jumpsuit with red underwear over it and a cape flying behind him. They would laugh through their chore and I would secretly be telling them that God's plans are far better than any superhero story (though I must admit that "The Avengers" was really good) and involve incredible humility.
They have all achieved the rank of folding masters and prefer to fold in their rooms, where they don't have to share space on my bed, which had become a source of sniping that kept interrupting my stories and making me grumpy. The latest argument in the laundry processing was who would sort the clothes. You see, some of my kids make sure their clothes are turned right side out, their underwear is removed from the pants, both pants legs are right-side out, and their socks are pulled out of the ball that they become when removing them from sweaty feet. Others don't really care much about those "pointless details." I have tried to convince the offenders in the past by giving them lifetime clothes-sorter status so that they know what it is like to turn 50 items of clothing right-side out and remove dirty underwear from pants (gross!), but the lesson, apparently, was too subtle for them to learn. Several months ago, a veteran homeschooling mom suggested that I teach the kids to do their own laundry as early as practical as a way of incrementally giving them more responsibility. My initial concern was that we would have tons more laundry and that our water bill would skyrocket. I also wondered how many clothes would be ruined from improper sorting as part of my job as laundress was to catch any sorting errors. One day, while listening to my oldest complain about having to sort the boys clothes ("They are GROSS mom; and SMELLY!"), I casually suggested that maybe the girls do their own laundry. She loved the idea. The experiment began.
Now, the girls have their own dirty clothes bin in their room and the boys have their bin. I am keeper of the extra bins. On Mondays, the girls sort their clothes, wash them and hang them to dry, as the oldest has shot up to be a mere inch shorter than me and can reach the clothesline with no trouble at all. The boys have another day to do wash which, so far, has been when one of them says, "Mom, I don't have any Sunday clothes for church today." Okay, we need to pick a day for them, too. The girls love the responsibility and seeing the girls doing their own laundry has piqued the boys interest in learning how to put soap and fabric softener in the washer. Poor John is not quite tall enough to see where to put everything, but he will set the washer settings and turn it on. My diabolical plan to foist more duties onto my kids has worked! BWAHAHA! I wonder if they will ever catch on to me? More importantly, will I forget how to do these things? :-D.