Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Things They Don't Tell You...

There's a lot of things people will "warn" you about when you are pregnant or thinking about having kids. They'll talk about the sleepless nights, their worst "poop" story, the endless diapers, illness, worry, expenses. They'll talk about the joys, the highlights, and the lows. They'll tell you all about the births, the pregnancies, and the pain. So, you'll go into pregnancy and childbirth thinking you're prepared for what life with kids will be like. You'll be expecting incredible feelings of love, stressful nights of crying, and worry worry worry.

But there is one thing no one ever warns you about when it comes to kids, and it's something that will become a major part of your life. I am here to fill you in!

The number one thing people should warn you about when it comes to having kids is laundry. You probably have a laundry routine for yourself. Maybe you do laundry once or twice a week, or maybe you have enough underwear that you can go two weeks between loads. You probably have a load or two of clothes, plus the occasional load of sheets and towels. Once in a while, you run a delicates cycle. My point is, laundry is not a major part of your week.

Until you have kids.

Now, granted, babies' clothes are small and don't take up too much extra space. But I've had days where my newborn goes through three outfits in 12 hours, so they generate way more than one or two additional items of clothing per day to your laundry basket. Then there's the burp rags, the receiving blankets, the bibs, and your clothes that get pooped on, spit-up on, or peed on (or, if you're very lucky, all three!). If you have the baby in a crib, you have his sheet to wash in addition to your own. If he's in bed with you, you'll probably be changing your sheets more often, due to various bodily fluids he will be kind enough to emit all over your bed. You have his bath towels and washcloths to wash.

And after the infancy period, you have a toddler. Toddlers get DIRTY. You'll have food-covered shirts, mud-covered pants. And the socks! Let me tell you about the socks! You can tell your socks from your spouse's, presumably. You can tell yours and your spouse's socks from your baby's. But can you tell your three-year-old's socks from your five-year-old's socks? Word of advice about socks: Give each kid completely different kinds of socks, or you'll forever be hearing, "Mom, why are my socks in his drawer?" or "Mom, I don't have any socks!" even if you've just done the laundry. (Although this phenomenon may also be attributed to the problem of socks jumping off of feet and landing directly under the couch, rather than ending up in the laundry basket. We have this problem at our house. Do you?)

And, with each additional kid, you have all of this additional laundry! Suddenly, you can't do all the sheets in one load; you need two. Suddenly, you have two loads of kids' clothes to do, not just one. And the guilt you'll feel if you go one too many days between loads of laundry and your son runs out of school uniform shirts (not that that could ever happen at my house...)!

So yeah. Laundry. Lots and lots of laundry.

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