Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mean Mondays

As if the traits that make me freakish aren't numerous enough, here's one more: on the ever-expanding list of chores that fall under the description of "Mom's Job," I don't hate laundry. Ever since I was lucky enough to become an owner of a front-load washer about a year ago, it's never a big deal to throw in a couple loads every-other-day and to be honest (and pathetic), I kind of enjoy it. Between the smell of detergent, successfully removing a stubborn stain, finding a mate for every sock, the stacks of perfectly folded clothes and knowing that every piece of clothing in the house is clean, doing laundry is almost as satisfying as sipping a perfectly mixed martini. Hey, I said almost as good.

One thing that throws a wrench into my clean laundry-induced glee is when, after everything has been washed and put away, I find a sweatshirt wadded up in the corner of a couch, a stray sock under a bed or smelly phy-ed clothes that never quite made it out of a backpack. More specifically, when Zach's phy-ed clothes never made it out of his blue backpack even though he has been told over and over again to make sure to take the clothes out and put them in the laundry basket that is only eight steps away from where his backpack belongs.

When he has forgotten in the past, I've always failed to jump off the enabling train and ended up digging the clothes out myself because I'm out-of-control anal and the thought of stinky gym clothes sitting unwashed makes me crazier than I already am. So when Monday morning rolls around and he has says oh whoops I forgot to put my gym clothes in the laundry, I get to stand there and smile like a pathetic loser and say "Oh that's okay. I got them out for you and washed them yesterday." What is this teaching my kid? While I'd like to think that he's super appreciative of everything I do, exceedingly grateful for the fact that I remembered to do his laundry and filled with regret and sorrow for forgetting yet again, I'm pretty sure that what he's actually thinking is that this arrangement kicks ass because he'll never have to waste time trying to remember stuff and be responsible because after all, mom will remember and always save his ass. Or in this case, his smelly armpits.

While I was sorting the laundry on Sunday I wasn't surprised to find that, as usual, the gym clothes had been forgotten. I was about to reach for his backpack to fish them out when I decided hell no. He's been reminded time and time again and keeps forgetting because there are never any repercussions. If I stop being pathetic and start being mean, maybe he would start remembering.

On Monday morning as Zach was getting his coat on, he looked at his backpack and said "Oh hey. Did you wash my phy-ed stuff yesterday?"

"Did your phy-ed stuff ever get taken out of your backpack? I don't remember seeing it in the laundry." I was proud of myself for: A) Coming up with a response that didn't involve a lie, and B) Not apologizing, even though I wanted to.

"No. I forgot to take it out, but thought you'd do it anyway. Great. Well, bye." I could tell he was a little less than thrilled at the prospect of having to jump around a junior high gymnasium in two hours, wearing gross clothes.

Did I feel a little bit like a horrible mom for not doing my kid's laundry when it was sitting right there? YES! I felt like crap! But then I thought oh my god he's 13-years-old, has been reminded eighteen bajillion times and had more free time over the weekend than I did. And besides, if it's important to him to not smell like a "This is why you should use deodorant" poster child, then making sure his laundry ends up where it's supposed to should be more of a priority, right? RIGHT?

Oh, who the hell cares if I was right. I still feel like poop on a shoe.


Kim said...

Sometimes being a mean mom is harder on us than it is on them. Dare I say it sounds like you are a GOOD mom? Now go get yourself a beer to celebrate!

Anonymous said...

My son has been doing his own laundry since he was 12. This is because one day while I was involved in no less than 5 other mom duties, my son announced that he needed some shorts washed-like yesterday!I looked at him and said "then I guess it's time you lean how to wash them yourself." You should have seen me when he stated that vacuuming was "women's work."