When it comes to raising kids, there's no doubt: 2 is better than 1

 

By Jim DeBrosse

Not long after my divorce nine years ago, I vowed as a single parent I would never fold laundry on top of my many other duties. "Here, and no farther!" was my battle cry against household drudgery. Today, with three teenagers and an omnipresent pile of clothing spilling off the folding table and onto the laundry room floor, I am forced to reconsider.

Until recently, my own clothing was clearly distinguishable from those of my children -- in size, color and design. I knew instantly, for instance, that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle briefs were not my own but my son's. As for the girls' things, my eye would easily skip over anything pink, lavender or pastel.

So on a hectic weekday morning, I could retrieve what I needed from the laundry pile in just seconds -- white or black socks, Hanes briefs, large T-shirts and running shorts capacious enough to accommodate my Clydesdale thighs.

No more. I often confuse my underwear and running shorts for my 15-year-old son's, and vice versa. The only way to tell my son's Hanes from my own is to look inside the waist band and weep at the effects of aging on the male physique.

Far too often now, my son mistakenly grabs my running shorts while I'm stuck with his and thus forced to hit the River Corridor running path at noon looking like a middle-aged version of Bruno.

Never fear, Mr. Mom has come up with a solution, one that I tried before with miserable results when the kids were much younger.

Each child will be given a laundry basket with his or her name prominently displayed in black permanent marker. All laundry intended for cleaning must be inside the individual child's basket and placed in front of the washing machine or it will not be cleaned.

Once the laundry has been tumbled dry, each child will remove his/her articles from the dryer, place them in their signature laundry basket and return with them to their own rooms, where they are free to create their own personalized laundry pile.

The remaining clothes -- mine -- will then be dumped atop the laundry room folding table in a pile small enough to be fully contained thereon and easily scavenged for my personal items.

So, no more precious minutes lost in the morning trying to find a matching pair of socks or my own Hanes underwear.

And to make the victory complete, I can keep my sacred vow of never folding laundry as long as there are children under my roof.

DATE: August 1, 2009                                                             PUBLICATION: Dayton Daily News (OH)

Copyright, 2009, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.

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