When Sophie was an itty bitty and Katie was a twinkle in my eye, we all took a trip to visit friends who had two children. Their kids were potty trained, going to school kinda kids.
I love staying at a friend's home, because you spend some good meaty time together. You are like roommates on good behavior for a few days, negotiating eating, cooking and bathrooms. I enjoy being a guest (and having them in my home) because I snag a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a family. I can see what they have in their fridge, how they discipline (or don't) and a new aspect that I discovered on that visit - how laundry was handled.
At some point I had to put some clothes in the drier that got wet from the pool. Simple enough. I entered the laundry area, and I was floored by the huge, overflowing piles of clothes that spilled everywhere, from the tops of the washing machines, to the floor and out of various hampers. Surveying the area it wasn't clear what was clean, dirty or a sedimentary layer from the Paleozoic area. I tossed my damp clothes into the drier and stole one more look at the mayhem. I stood in the hallway viewing the carnage, mentally wagging the finger of judgement at my friend's laundry room.
I talked about this wreck of a laundry room for weeks after the visit. I made sweeping pronouncements to my husband that we would never, ever let our laundry situation get that far our of hand. "I mean, we have a washer and dryer right in the house! It couldn't be more accessible than that! Walk three feet, toss some soap and clothes in - boom - we're done!"
It is easy to be judgemental. I did it more when the girls were little and I was unsure of my own strength. I hadn't built up the self-confident parenting muscles that I have today. I still judge though - it is a bad habit and I am cutting down. Really.
But back then, I was so clueless. I had no idea the shit storm of dirty clothes that would follow with two kids. At the time of laundry judgement Sophie was a baby. There were barely three of us in the house. We hardly made a mess.
Cut to - my day today and the large slice of humble pie I ate and the hulking giant of laundry that needed to be slayed. I spent three hours this afternoon sorting, folding and washing clothes. A small dent was made before I had to stop and pick up the girls at school. I just came back from round two. One more hour and I have destroyed the laundry beast. At least this time I had a glass of wine to drink to ease the pain of the calluses that formed on my fingers from all of the folding.
Now we have the problem that since every single piece of clothing in the house is clean - we don't have enough drawer space to fit it all.
So to my friends whose laundry room I judged - I am sorry. If you guess it is your home that I am writing about - I owe you a few rounds of drinks - and the free reign make fun of me the entire time.