The Laundry and the Furious Woman

Weary, she dumped yet another load of clean clothes onto the couch to fold.  It was simply never-ending, this laundry task.  Leaky diapers, spit-up soaked sleepers and burp cloths, dirty-kneed toddler pants, and spaghetti sauce spattered onesies ensured that she would never really be caught-up.  Still, this is what she’d wanted, what she’d always hoped for.  An adventurous explorer of a boy, a tiny princess of a girl… she couldn’t complain.


Well, perhaps it was more accurate to say she couldn’t complain about THEM.


Now… him?  He was a different story.


Silently, she seethed as she pulled yet another dress shirt out of the heap.  One sleeve right side out, the other inside-out.  “Who DOES that??” she wondered, yanking the one through so it would be correct.  “How hard is it to take off a shirt?”  Toss it to the side, move on… there’s always more to do.


The pile of mismatched socks grew.


What’s that there?  A sweatshirt?  Why’s it so tangled?  Oh.  Because it got yanked off WITH the undershirt.  Because, you know, it would just be SO hard to take them off one at a time.  Her breath huffed out and her eyes flared as she wrestled the articles apart and carefully folded and stacked them.


On to the socks.  She smiled over tiny little ruffled baby socks.  Grinned as she matched up the Cookie Monster socks her toddler had chosen for her the previous Mother’s Day.  It was an easy task, a mindless task, and it went quickly.  Until she got to his socks.  Why, dear Lord, WHY was every single one of those socks inside-out?


Oh, wait.  She stood corrected.  They weren’t all inside-out.  Some were hopelessly balled up and, as a result, still damp and icky feeling.  Nice…


All he had to do was dump his clothes in the pile and she made sure they were clean… and he couldn’t take the extra two seconds to make her job just a little easier?


She gathered the piles and stomped off to put them away.


She?  Was me.  Yep.  Isn’t that AWFUL?  But it’s totally true.


I remember, vividly, feeling as though my husband was out to get me with the careless way he’d treat his clothes.  I remember asking, kindly (in my mind, at least), if he could please try a little harder to keep his sleeves the right way?  He’d nod distractedly, then go right back to his sloppy ways.


And, oh, this quick little temper of mine would flare hot.  I was generally calm about the whole thing before he ever got home, but, really, what a waste of energy!


Is this a big deal or a little deal?


I ask my children that sometimes when they get mad or sad or hurt.  It’s a really simple tool to evaluate how much energy something really deserves.


I ask myself now, too.


He still leaves one sleeve inside-out on at least 90% of the dress shirts I wash.  Now, I laugh at myself because, in the rare cases when he doesn’t, I usually wind up turning one the wrong way.  We know each other.  We love each other.  We tolerate each other.


And we’ve learned to recognize the “little stuff” so that it never threatens the big stuff…  like this beautiful thing we call marriage.

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29 comments to The Laundry and the Furious Woman

  • Awesome post! I laughed at the balled up socks, my husband leaves alot of those too! I used to get to feeling the SAME way about laundry, but now do not. It’s amazing the difference in a marriage after 9 years! Sometimes I fold everything and leave it in baskets, folded into categories and if my husband needs something before I put it away, he DESTROYS the organization. It used to really drive me crazy because it made alot of extra work for me but now I just laugh and think of something I love about him!

    • I totally agree with you, Miranda, that time makes all the difference! I also think that the more you go through together (you know, the BIG stuff, the hard stuff), the less those silly things matter any more.

  • Oh my goodness, you must have been watching me!! I always find that when I’m disappointed or frustrated at myself, poor hubby gets it in the neck!! Truth be told, he is more likely to leave his dirty clothes in an orderly fashion than me but my excuse is that I’m not expecting him to pick up after ME!! I’m actually researching (just among friends online) why women hate laundry, ironing etc and why they find it demeaning, I want to cover that aspect in my blog because if wives see their workload as demeaning or subservient it is a huge obstacle to finding happiness or seeking holiness. Jennifer x

    • That’s a great point, Jennifer– so well said! (For the record, I actually kind of like doing laundry. And I’m never behind on it. I guess I just used to be fussier about it– ha!)

  • I love this.

    Reminds me of my parents and how my dad doesn’t EVER fold clothes, especially towels.
    When they were first married, they had a big fight over it and the only resolution they could come to was that mom would just always fold the laundry.


  • Amy

    I have these issues with my children now that they are young adults, not my husband! It is DEFINITELY time for them to start doing their own laundry!

  • mlearley

    HAHA! This is the opposite in our marriage. My husband gets so mad at me when he’s folding the laundry and my shirts are inside out or socks balled up. However, he leave his clean folded clothes laying on the floor in front of his dresser. This use to drive me nuts but that’s who he is and I’ve just come to accept it.

  • Marci

    This used to drive me nuts too. I remember when I used to get frustrated about everything (still do about some things after 6 years of marriage) then I realized that usually it wasn’t a problem with him…it was a problem with me. When I get frustrated I try to stop and think about why I’m frustrated. Is he really doing something wrong or is it just my perception? Was that comment about the dust on the fridge really meant to say that I need to clean more or was he just laughing about the crazy dust in SC (just laughing that time)? I can’t change him, and honestly, why would I want to considering I chose to marry him the way he was (and still is in many ways). I can however choose to change myself and how I respond. :-)

  • Celine

    Lol…. My dad was famous for things like that. Though he would be the one complaining that the clothes were washed inside out or the socks were balled up. His feeling was that who ever put the laundry in should be checking each item as it went into the machine. Were as us kids just wanted to take the bag or basket and dump it in.

  • Courtney

    Boy could I have written this post!!!! You’re exactly right- it’s the little things that get irritating. :<}

    I love the suggestion of asking "Is this a big deal or a little deal?" I'm going to start using that with, ahem, myself and my 5 year old- great way to help him deal with frustrations. :<}

  • The balled up socks…GRRR…This stuff bothers me but I guess not enough to mention. WHat REALLY plucks my last nerve is the absolute refusal to rinse out a cup. This I mention at least 4 times a week and yet his grody liquid is always hardened in the bottom of the glass whose mouth is too skinny for my hand to get into and the dishwasher doesn’t clean. GRRRRR…he is so lucky he deals with the cat poop and trash all on his own without me having to ask.

  • This post is just one more thing I have read lately that has convicted me to be more patient with my husband. I don’t want to always be angry, yet when I let the little things get to me I find I am always angry. Thanks!

    • It’s so easy for those little things to snowball, I think, Jennifer… at least for me it is! It really helps to do a “reality check” on myself so I can stop it in its tracks before I get myself all worked up. (And you’re very welcome– thanks for taking the time to comment!)

  • Lynnea

    I leave clothes the way they were put in the hamper… shirts sometimes get hung up completely inside out, sometimes one sleeve is inside out, sometimes they are fine. But I decided (thanks to a friend) that if it isn’t worth my family’s time to turn clothes the right way, it’s not worth my time either. :) It has saved A LOT of frustration!

  • Why does it matter if a shirt is inside out? It will all get tumbled in the dryer. :-) But I know what you are saying. Keep the little things little. :-)

  • Adrienne

    I swear you must have a crystal ball or something because this was so me! The worst were my husbands work clothes (he’s military, so the uniforms with the 20,000 different pockets that always had something in them…), the undershirts being inside the shirts and the socks not balled up, but inside out as well! We finally came to the conclusion that if he would do his work clothes, I could live with the rest of his clothing-removal ways. :) He probably decided his pens, papers and sometimes even his wallet were safer this way…

    • Aw, you busted me with my crystal ball! ;) Oooh, the pockets. That’s a whole ‘nother issue right there. I can’t even imagine having to deal with so many! So glad you both found a solution that works. :)

  • Haha! Yep, been there, done that too!

    “Is this a big deal or a little deal?” What a great question to ask.

    A few weeks ago, I nearly ruined a perfect weekend over a tub of sour cream my husband picked up (that *wasn’t* in the grocery budget, you know!) Thankfully, God showed me my silliness before I vented on him for just trying to make a fun weekend for our kiddo! (The sour cream was for cupcakes we made together!) Ahhh… why is it the little things that can seem like such mountains in the moment?

  • This is so me, but I get angry with everyone, Like today my three girls threw all thier clean clothes all over their floor, it drives me nuts. So I told my children 7 of them that maybe I should just have a bon fire and they can wear charcole clothing lol, and you know what they asked if they could help!! kids! My husband has the sock issue also, but I am trying to let those things go, it’s not easy but by Gods grace I will learn not to let it get to me so much!

  • Here is an unusual idea to an overwhelming problem. I know it isn’t for everyone…but it’s helped me.

  • [...] marriage around the web April 6, 2012 By Ryan and Jill Leave a Comment Thanks so much for stopping by! We would love it if you would sign up for our RSS feed. Hope to see you soon!I love the transparency in this post::: The Laundry and the Furious Woman [...]

  • This is so good–not making little deals BIG. I need to remember this!


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