It’s quite easy to remember it fondly after all these decades, but I’m certain there were times when I didn’t quite enjoy having two little energizer bunnies running around the flat.
Today, I can calmly reminisce. However, I do remember struggling quite a bit with cooking (which I absolutely used to hate doing), and struggling quite a lot with the laundry. There always seemed to be more tiny clothes in the wash than there was in their wardrobes, and drying everything took absolute eons.
I do believe mums today carry a little bit of a lighter load, at least when it comes to the question of laundry. Everything else has probably become infinitely more complex, what with the internet and social media.
What was I writing about? Yes, laundry!
Since we now have a grand-toddler in the family, I thought this might be a good time to share some laundry hacks for all of your supermums out there, just in case you are finding it hard to think straight. In no particular order, they are as follows:
Use Multiple Laundry Baskets
Anyone with great organizational skills will tell you that, when it comes it doing laundry, it is extremely beneficial to have multiple collapsible laundry baskets, either one basket for each member of the household (even the youngest ones) or different baskets for different types of clothes (e.g. one basket for colours, another one for the whites, etc).
Having multiple baskets means that there will always be enough space for everything – you will never, ever see piles of clothes peeking out of them, reminding you of yet another thing you didn’t seem to get round to.
What’s more, even if it doesn`t sound like that at first, this is a time-saving method because you won’t have to go through the piles of clothes to sort them out before you wash them. They will already be sorted out and ready for the washer.
Do a Load a Day
If you are anything like the majority of mums I know, there is probably a day (or two) in the week (popularly called `laundry day`) when you spend the entire day doing laundry. A wonderful pastime, isn’t it?
Well, the good news is that with one very simple trick, `laundry day` can become a thing of the past. The trick is to adopt a laundry routine that involves doing a load a day. I know it sounds ambitious and even scary, but it can be done if you take advantage of the timer on your washer and dryer, and schedule cycles for different times of day, when you know you can get to the laundry.
If you develop a routine that works for you and stick to it, guess what – no more `laundry day`.
Use a Mesh Bag
Have you ever noticed that socks seem to have a life of their own? They tend to just vanish into thin air every once in a while, only to reappear when you least expect them. On the occasions when they don’t actually disappear, they at least make sure to hide themselves somewhere inside trouser legs or shirt sleeves. Not particularly surprisingly, the smaller they are (like the ones toddlers like to wear), the easier it is for them to hide.
This is where a mesh bag comes in handy. It won`t (completely) solve the mystery of the disappearing socks, but it will make the process of pairing and sorting easier, which, let’s face it, can be, and usually is, unnecessarily time-consuming.
Only Iron the Essentials
There were times when women used to iron everything, from shirts and sheets to socks and underwear. Fortunately, those days are long gone (or at least they are a thing of the past in our house!).
The truth is that most clothes don’t need ironing. Socks and underwear definitely don’t need it, as they tend to iron themselves as soon as they are put on. Most toddler trousers and sweatpants don’t need it either, and the majority of shirts (including a surprisingly large number of dress shirts) won`t need ironing if you make sure you get them out of the drier as soon as the cycle is finished, while the clothes are still warm.
With toddlers, there are only a few essentials that really need to be ironed – dress shirts and trousers that don’t manage to come out of the drier wrinkle-free and in my experience, there really isn’t a lot of those.
Make Sure the Clothes are Indeed Dirty
We can all agree that toddlers can get dirty.
In fact, they can get their clothes unbelievably dirty, especially when they spend a lot of time outdoors.
However, you should consider the clothes that end up in the laundry basket due to the mere fact that they have already been worn once or twice. We are talking about clothes that don’t have any stains or smudges and still smell clean. Isn’t it ridiculous to wash something just because it was worn once or twice?
So, the next time you automatically grab something already worn with the intent to wash it, ask yourself – is this dirty indeed?
And don’t feel bad for asking this question – you are allowed to wear items more than once, and so is your toddler.
Have Your Toddler(s) Involved in the Process
Getting your toddler to help out doesn’t have to be a difficult process if you approach it the right way. Believe it or not, kids like to help out when they are given the opportunity and when they don`t perceive it as a chore but as a game instead.
An approach that always used to work in our household is turning anything into a competition, or a race, more precisely.
All you have to do is say “I bet I can put these clothes in the washer faster than you can”. Then you can just start counting down and off they will go with the laundry.
A Folding Farewell
Finally, I just want to add one more piece of advice: don’t get upset if you don’t manage to fold everything on time, or if the ironing is not quite done, or if the piles are getting a bit out of hand. Enjoy your time in toddlerhood – it goes by so deceptively quickly, and you don’t want to miss one second of it if you can help it.