Laundry. So much more than clothes and towels due to some sneaky kids. 

Do you remember Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? The good version from the 1970’s? The one where the poor little boy finds the Golden Ticket and makes his way to the factory to meet the one and only Willy Wonka?

(I know the newer version has the same plot line but I hated it so much that I’m going to pretend I need to differentiate the good one from the bad one.)

As a child of the 80’s this was by far my favorite film. I loved nearly every second of that film from the ‘rags to riches’ theme to the chocolate waterfall. What sugar lovin’ kid can’t get behind a movie that features giant mushrooms filled with whipped cream. Trees that grow giant balloon-type fruits that burst open with tiny candies. That movie was my heaven.


There was one scene that always made me squirm. One short snippit that left me uncomfortable. I know you’re all thinking it was the boat scene with the creepy chicken. But it’s not.

Cheer up, Charlie.

Gag. Even thinking about it makes me cringe. That mom was stuck in that terrible, nasty laundry shop all day stirring a giant pot of people’s grody clothes. And then she had the audacity to sing the worst song in cinematic history to her son. Just bad. So wrong.

Here I sit, 30 years after first viewing that movie, still cringing over laundry. Only now I’m staring down at my own laundry pile. Mounds of grody clothes.

And I have zero desire to sing.

Today I may officially lose it. ‘It’ being my mind. But it’s not the laundry that’s pushing me closer and closer to the edge.

I don’t mind laundry. Truthfully. There’s some sense of accomplishment in putting neatly folded stacks of clothing into each kiddo’s drawer. And there is NOTHING like the pleasure of opening the dryer and remembering the load that awaits is nothing but bath towels. Bliss. Nothing but warm, big, fat towels to quickly fold in under a minute and stack away in just one closet. Mom bliss.

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And I don’t have to heat up water in some giant vat and sweat to death while stirring it with some giant boat oar like Mrs. Charlie’s Mom. I just throw it in my Whirlpool and call it a day. Or 45 minutes to be exact. So I realize I shouldn’t complain too much about laundry.

But I’m gonna anyway.

So, what has me in a tizz today given the fact that I looooove laundry so much? (Please note the sarcasm. I didn’t say I loved it..just that I didn’t mind it.)

Doc McStuffins. Doc has me in a tizz.

In dragging down the 800 baskets to our laundry area, I began sorting colors and found a Doc McStuffins lab coat. NOT the lab coat that my daughter wears when playing dress up. This was actually the lab coat that goes on the Doc McStuffins doll. A tiny, 6 inch lab coat.

Red flag.

My children, one child in particular…and surprisingly not the Doc McStuffins lover, have a fondness, a penchant, a sneaky love for throwing clean items into the laundry. On Monday I nearly had to be sedated when I found a stack of still-folded clothes in the middle of a dirty laundry basket.

Think of the greatest level of rage attainable by laundry injustice. The highest rank associated with washing atrocities.

I hit that level in eight seconds and exploded right through it.

Clothes… hear me, people. Clean clothing that I had already washed and folded and had perhaps naively set on top of a dresser for this child to put away, was placed into the dirty hamper so this child wouldn’t have to put them away. 

Perhaps these kids don’t understand their mother. All these months of feeling like I was short tempered. Worrying that I didn’t always exhibit a calm, pleasant demeanor. Perhaps I was too hard on myself. Because these small people CLEARLY don’t fear my wrath if they dare to pull one of these maneuvers.

Ease up, crazy TickingTimeMom. It’s just a few shirts. 

But it’s NOT.

It’s. Every. Time. I. Do. Laundry.

It’s a Doc McStuffins lab coat. A stack of collared shirts that someone was too lazy to put on hangers. Toys. Papers.

(It’s NEVER tall basketball socks because those suckers are coveted and I’m surprised they don’t have their own shrine.)

It’s the crap that no one knows what to do with immediately so they just don’t do anything…..until they spy the laundry basket.

These are actual items found in the laundry basket in recent weeks. They’ve been staring at me from atop the washing machine. Mocking reminders of my ineffective parenting when it comes to getting my kids to put away clean clothes. Or Ninja Turtles.

So, what’s my answer?

I don’t have one.

And if you’re looking to me for parenting help, we are all in sooooo much trouble.

I’ve been going at this for two years with one child. And the others are quickly trying to catch up to him. I’m at a loss.

For now, each clean item of clothing found in the dirty bin earns the sneaky, clean-laundry-hiding offspring 10 minutes of extra chores.

Which ultimately leads to more work for me as I have to dream up some stupid exercise for the kids to do to play out their punishment.

Brush the dog again. Weed the front mulch. Wipe down the mailbox. Sort the toothpaste.

I keep thinking my TickingTimeMom site name might lead people to the wrong conclusion. That perhaps it’s less about the precious time ticking away so quickly and more to do with me nearing explosion.

But today they’d be right. Tick….tick…..tick…..

Heading down to throw in another load. Fingers crossed I don’t find Legos in the bottom of the basket.



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10 thoughts on “Laundry. So much more than clothes and towels due to some sneaky kids. 

  1. You hit the nail on the head with the fluffy towels load! I always get excited when that is the load of items up to be folded. Never crossed my mind this might be a universal thing! We moms are in this craziness together. Today, one of my sons was being disrespectful and the next minute he is hugging on me. I normally just let it slide and chalk it up to growth and puberty. Today, I decided to ask him, “Why are you hugging me now when only moments before you were being so rude?” His response…”I was hoping you would give me part of your lunch.” I think I hear the school bell ringing….

    • I mean we could be Charlie’s moms alllll day long if we just had to do towels, right?! Smart mom move by asking him about his actions and intentions. I need to do that much more than I currently do. And the bell….it’s getting LOUDER!!!!!

  2. This same thing happened to me when I decided that my kids should put their own laundry away. It was already washed, folded and carried to their rooms. Suddenly the laundry basket was filled with neatly folded remarkably clean looking clothes. How stupid did they think I was. That was when the kids learned to do their own laundry. Perhaps it was not the most economical solution. They were often down to the last pair of underwear but I held my ground. Maybe they were a bit older than your kids. It turned out to be an excellent idea. After awhile they did not want me to touch their laundry because I didn’t do it right. When they went to college, they taught many of their friends how to do laundry. Amazingly, they even thanked me at that point.

    • Mary, I am just waiting for the day I can teach the older two how to start a load. Actually, I’m probably at a point where I can do it with the oldest. Good for you for allowing those two girls to be independent young women… Regardless of what led to it?. No doubt they were appreciative when they arrived at college and saw how many of their peers were clueless!!

  3. Heck, I remember this all the years my boys were home. Even when I made them take over their own laundry duties I’m quite certain half of what they washed was already clean but rewashed because they’d been thrown in the bottom of the closet the week before… Though it’s been closer to 20 years now since I completed the daily role of raising kids (I know, how is that possible?), I can still feel the frustrations of seeing clean clothes laying on the bottom or a closet floor…). When it comes to parenting, I saw this on FB recently and it certainly rings true – “the days are long, but the years are short.” Love you Em, and so enjoy reading your blogs that take me back to those days and make me smile.

    • Love you and your insight, Sharon. Your words are so true. I know one day my hampers will look so empty and I’ll long for little rascals to fill them with clean clothes.
      As for your grown kids, I don’t believe it. You don’t look old enough to be there yet….let alone a sweet grandbaby?

      • Sharon used my favorite quote, “the years are long but the days are short”. So very true. I can’t say I’ve done this one correctly. In the past I fold the clothes and put them neatly on the bed or basket for them to neatly put away in their dresser. When they couldn’t find something I knew was clean I would open the dresser drawers only to find the horror of a wrinkled swirl of clothes! After deciding this battle wasn’t worth my constant frustration we made a deal. If their rooms are picked up and their dirty clothes are in the laundry basket I will do the laundry and put it away. It has worked extremely well! And I love to open their closets and drawers to find organized bliss! But the best part was when my oldest was home from his first year of college and was excited that mom would be taking over laundry duties again. He was really, really excited. And my favorite part of your story is you said, “grody”. That’s awesome.

        • Grody should be used more often than it is. It’s such a great word?
          Such great advice! I appreciate your compromise and the fact that your boys now appreciate you doing their laundry so much!!I love the quote both you and Sharon use. It is so utterly, painfully true. And I don’t wish these days by for anything… Although I would appreciate the clean laundry staying in the drawers. Ha ha!!!

  4. Clothes that were worn for less than 30 minutes, clean clothes , nasty dirty uniforms, normal dirty stuff …all went in the dirty clothes hamper at my house. Like Mary, my girls did their own laundry after one too many times that clean clothes could not find their way to a hanger. Give them the tools they need; a step stool to reach the controls, the detergent pod that they can’t screw up(assuming they won’t eat it), their very own laundry basket, a quick tutorial and they are on their way! Good luck!

    • I cannot imagine those two sweet girls hiding clean clothes?…..but I guarantee there were some nasty uniforms over the years!! Haha!!!
      The older two are extremely helpful with the dishwasher… So I think your advice is spot on. Time to do a little introduction to the washing machine. Maybe I’ll just watch them and eat some Bon Bons!!! ?

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