How Doing Your Kids’ Laundry Is Bad For Your Career

This is how a real man does laundry...
Photo credit: Camilo Forero.

Why am I always the last to know?

Had somebody warned me of this I would have stopped long ago. Or so I say. But I know myself. I wouldn’t have believed it. I would have thought that I was just looking for an excuse to slack off, and I’m always fighting that demon since I am quite skilled at finding excuses to slack off.

But this is no joke. Quite serious business, so I’d like you to turn off the music AND the TV. Don’t turn off the computer because you are probably reading this online. But, put the rest of your work aside. Cut out all distractions. For a minute. It is important that you don’t miss this.

Here it is: the God-forsaken truth. DOING LAUNDRY IS BAD FOR YOUR CAREER.

Yeah. I shouted that out at the top of my lungs (I mean fingers. And tips. I shouted that out at the tips of my fingers. Using the CAPS lock.) DOING LAUNDRY IS BAD FOR YOUR CAREER.

My fingers are tingling.

Don’t believe me? I have proof. Solid proof. Well, solid-ish. Based on analysis of my own daily habits. I’ve been watching myself, and jotting things down. On the days that I do laundry, I get considerably less work done than on the days that I ignore it. Avoid it. Don’t go upstairs (where the washing machine and dryer reside) between 7 am and 10 pm.

It is one of those undeniable facts. Laundry takes time. There is the gathering of the hampers. The sorting of darks, lights and colors. The putting of clothes in the machine. The adding of detergent or dryer sheets (although I did get this cool new thing that you put in the dryer. It’s a Bounce bar that works like a dryer sheet and only has to be replaced every three months. Man my life is boring if I get excited about dryer bars. :() Then there is the waiting, the pulling out and hanging of the clothes that need to be hung after a quick whip in the dryer. The removal of the clothes from the machines, putting more in. The folding. The pain-in-the-butt folding that if avoided for too long, leads to ironing. Which is definitely bad for your career. Really bad because you might burn your hand and not be able to type, and if you’re a writer like me, you’re screwed.

Most people do their best work when focusing on one thing at a time. The whole multitasking gig is a scam. If you try to do too many things at once, you don’t go very deep. And in my case, all the enjoyment gets sucked out of the job. If I have to stop to move laundry from washer to dryer while I’m in the midst of writing a short story, I get confused and I find it particularly difficult to get back on track after the laundry break. Because I might have seen that my bed needed making or the kitchen floor needed to be swept. Damn dog brings in leaves by the paw-ful in the Fall. Still love him, but could he wipe his feet before he comes back inside? Simple manners.

Lately, I’ve been using my husband’s office in the mornings. He’s always on the road so why not take advantage of the space? And it’s only three miles from home. When I work in his office, I get an amazing amount of work done. I attribute that to the lack of a washing machine and dryer. And to the fact that my cutie-pie dog isn’t dropping his ball at my feet every two seconds.

Now I feel bad. Sorry puppy that I haven’t been there to play fetch with you the past few mornings. I promise to play more with you at night. Oh who am I kidding. I drink wine at night, which makes me lazy relaxed and not likely to chase you around the house.

So, I end where I began. Laundry is dangerous. What happened to the days when people wore their clothes several times in a row before taking them to the river to be cleaned(with a galvanized washboard?) I’d much prefer to go down to the water’s edge to get my washing done. I wouldn’t prefer to wash my clothes there, but I love the water. And I could bring that sweet dog of mine and throw his ball out so he can go fetch. He’s a Portuguese Water Dog. The guy needs to swim.

p.s. If my husband or daughters are reading this, can you please take care of your laundry. You wouldn’t want my work to suffer, would you?








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14 thoughts on “How Doing Your Kids’ Laundry Is Bad For Your Career

  1. Yes! The whole multitasking gig is a scam. It works for mothers, because it has to. It does NOT work for writers.
    About the laundry: I’m really lucky. My husband does his own. My kids have done their own since they turned 16. Now, if I could just get someone to do My Laundry. (and the towels, and sheets.)

    1. I have friends who have pulled off this kids and husband doing their own laundry thing, but I don’t see it happening here. Did you use witchcraft? Or something you can share with me because laundry around here is never-ending and I sure could use some guidance on lightening the load (haha. laughing at my own joke. load).

  2. Ah, the challenges of working from home 🙂 Laundry, crock-pot, cleaning, phone calls, sunshine outside…if you give a writer an excuse…I hear ya, Sara. Thanks for the procrastination camaraderie 🙂

    1. Funny. As I was writing this post, I kept thinking about IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE. I try to be sneaky but I’m pretty transparent, huh? Always good to know I’m not alone in my procrastination situation.

  3. It is a time suck, right?

    ..but I do not, I repeat do not, separate the darks from the lights. ‘Cause I’m crazy like that..

    We all need Rosie from The Jetsons to do the laundry.. Aren’t we supposed to have that by now??

    1. You crazy girl, you. Oh. Rosie. Where are you when I need you Rosie? In addition to my own Rosie, I would also like to have my own little pod to fly around in.

  4. Doing laundry isn’t just bad for your career….it’s bad for your health and your karma. But through Buddhism I have found a way to accept it and stop suffering. I hate laundry, mostly because it is never done. It’s never crossed off my list, nor will it ever be crossed off my list. It’s bad for my back. Sorting piles, picking up piles and bending down to take everything out of the dryer is a constant aggravation to my lower back. Laundry is also bad for my karma in that I feel this momentary sense of accomplishment when my bins are empty, all the laundry is put away and the laundry room looks bare. Deep breath, smile, for what…. a moment when my son comes back down to the laundry room with a pile of laundry to start the vicious cycle all over again.
    Laundry takes so much time to do, time I would much rather spend writing on your blog site or doing something else that makes me happy! It also kills me that my kids and husband have no idea the time and effort laundry takes. My children get their laundry baskets delivered to their rooms with clean folded laundry and my husband gets to bypass that. His laundry is neatly folded and returned to his closet and drawers. I have never had that pleasure! Since laundry duty is something I have to accept and live with, I have tried to make it a meditation. I use that time to think, and accept for the time I am doing it, that I can’t do anything else. I am present, with my laundry, breathing and clearing my head. So by staying with what is and accepting what I can’t change, I have made this task I hate, a time to just be.

    1. Exactly! 🙂

      I have a few friends who have trained their kids and spouses to do their own laundry but I know it isn’t worth it, esp. with the spouse, to do that in my house. It would be too frustrating and force me into role of nag. But I do wish, as you do, that they had a clue to how much work it actually is.

      Glad you’ve found a way to make it more bearable. Sometimes, when I’m sorting or folding I find a moment of Zen but unfortunately, that is short-lived. So glad you came by to voice your thoughts!

  5. This all reminds me of my If You Give A Writer a Brownie post from several months ago. 🙂

    Here’s the compromise I’ve worked out with my kids: they get their clothes to the laundry room and sort them, I’ll put ’em in the washer, then the dryer and then back into the respective baskets. Then, it’s up to them to get it all folded within a day or two. It’s the folding that takes so dang long I’ve discovered so that’s what they have to do. It’s generally been working well and keeps me from being distracted for too long. Now if only I could get better at ignoring the cats. They’re so gosh darn cute…

    1. Can you come to my house and talk to my kids? I’ve lost my authority on the laundry thing. I’m a sucker for the “I have so much homework” excuse. I bet my dog would do his laundry if he wore clothes. I remember that Give a Writer A Brownie post. . .

  6. Too funny.
    I’m lucky in that it’s just me in the house, so I do about two loads of laundry a week. (Don’t faint.)
    Like Kim, I do NOT sort colours/light/dark — I don’t have large enough loads to bother, so they all go in together. The other is sheets and towels, all in together.
    Thank heavens for small mercies, for I have enough other stuff that impinges on my career instead!

    1. I’ve just fainted against your better warning. Let me guess, you only run the dishwasher twice a week? I am beyond envious. But I do think there are worse problems to have than needing to clean more frequently than I’d like to do.

      If we didn’t have stuff that impinged upon our careers, we would not know what to do with all of our negative energy, so in the end, those annoyances/problems that come up give us an excuse to shout and curse and complain that life isn’t fair, and I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t do those things, at least occasionally. 🙂

  7. Oh, yes. Laundry gets me all the time. It’s the thought that you can just put it in and have it running while you write. It just never quite works out that way, though, does it?

So what do you think?