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Let the One Who Wishes to Be First Among You Do the Laundry

Let the One Who Wishes to Be First Among You Do the Laundry

Cultivating a heart of service in the mundane tasks of everyday life
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Because I'm one of these hippy save-the-world types, I firmly believe that Christians are called to love others sacrificially.

When said service does not involve laundry.

Or my family members.

Or me.

When I brought my fiancé home one weekend, to meet my mother, she badgered him, "What color underwear do you have on?"

Shooting him a reassuring nod, I indicated that it was safe to answer. I suspected she was just looking for one more item to get a full load of white laundry started before lunch. Because she raised me, I did not find this situation the least bit unusual. I've since become aware that it may be.

Awkwardly confessing to wearing red boxers, my betrothed did not make the laundry cut that day.

He did make mine, though.

During premarital counseling, when we divvied up household responsibilities, I signed on for laundry. I wasn't thrilled about it, but I was fairly confident I could throw some stuff in a metal box and push start. How hard could it be? I did made it perfectly clear to my groom that, though I was raised by the Martha Stewart of all things laundered, I had not followed in my mother's bleached-sock footsteps. The laundry-apple, I warned him, had fallen far from the tree. Really far. Like, professional Dry Cleaner far.

Sadly, I still got the job.

Now a mother of three, the duties of Chief Laundress remain with me.

Laundry Day

I'm in the kitchen when a loud thump-thump comes cascading from the second floor. Racing to the landing to check for injuries, I see my daughter's laundry basket looking more full than usual. Skimming off the top bed sheet layer, digging through her basket, I discover why. Amidst the stinky socks I find a brown tennis shoe, a dress she's never worn in public, a Hannah Montana wig, a perfectly clean bathrobe, and a plastic snow globe.

Hollering up the stairs, I inform her, "This does not count as cleaning your room, Little Miss!"

Inside, though, I'm secretly thrilled about the room.

I dump everyone's baskets into a snow-globe covered mountain of wearables in the hallway. Lifting some clothes into the washer, my dingy grey-socked feet stick to a dusty sea of sticky blue gel lining the linoleum floor. A liquid detergent jug had gotten jostled off the top of our washer, exploding like Fourth of July fireworks … Two Julys ago.

I kept shoving clothes into the washer.

Unlike my mother, I simply cannot face sorting lights from darks. Last week, in a moment of weakness, I attempted it. Once I came to a red and white striped headband I had absolutely no idea what to do. Forty minutes later my husband came home from work to find me standing there, dumbfounded.

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Margot Starbuck

Margot Starbuck is a TCW regular contributor. Follow her on Twitter @MargotStarbuck.

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Displaying 1–3 of 6 comments

Natasha

December 03, 2013  9:13am

Love this article! I'm not alone! Laundry is one the of areas where I feel like I'm constantly failing, especially when my husband asks for a certain shirt or says I'm out of socks or underwear. If our 3 boys are dressed and have jammies on deck for the night....I'm happy.

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Susan

October 03, 2013  5:53pm

So, so funny! I love how this too reminded me of how my son, when he was 3, wouldn't let me put his dirty clothes in the dirty hamper; they had to go back in the drawer with all of his clean clothes too. So, instead of freaking out about this, I decided this one wasn't worth fighting over, and I just waited until the drawer of clothes got too smelly. I'd then wash everything in the drawer. (I'm not one to wash clothes daily, ever!) He now, at age 14, puts his dirty laundry in the hamper, sorts it into lights and darks and washes and dries his own clothes. Who knew?!

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Kathleen Moulton

September 30, 2013  6:49pm

Commenting as one who LOVES doing laundry, it's always been difficult to understand someone who struggles with it! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article (especially the spilled laundry detergent from 2 Julys ago).

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