There are some mothers I know who are so obsessive about their kids’ appearance that they carry entire kiddy wardrobes around with them so when their kids get dirty, they can strip the kids down on the spot and change their clothes.
Of course this can start to become pretty embarrassing for the kids by the time they hit 12 or 13.
It also means mounds more laundry than is really necessary. But really, what’s a few hundred more loads when your reputation as SuperMom, Defender of All that is Good and Clean, is at stake?
Fortunately, this has never been a particularly important goal for me. My kids get one outfit a day: If it gets dirty, they wear it dirty. Do I care that half the time they look like they rolled in garbage. Of course I do. But I’ve come to realize that a clean kid is somehow unnatural. It goes against nature. It’s like having a clean dog: It’s cosmically unattainable.
None of this is to say that I don’t do laundry. Truthfully, I do laundry almost every day. I am the Queen of laundry. And sometimes, I actually fold it and bring it upstairs the same week, too. But in the grand scheme of laundry issues, I have much bigger fish to fry.
My thing, is static cling. I’m not talking about the static that makes my daughter’s hair wrap around her head like some electric comb-over. Nor is it the static that my son likes to create when he purposely shuffles across the carpet in his socks and then zaps my nose. And no, it’s not the static that makes the dog look like a canine Don King.
No, what I’m talking about is the evil, fabric-softener-defying, dryer-sheet-resisting, winter static build-up IN THE DRYER that causes all the clothes to come out in one big, shocking, static clump.
Call me crazy, but I want sparks to fly when I kiss my husband, not when I peel my clothes apart.
“Aaaaarrrrggghhhhhh,” I groaned as I pulled a sock from a towel and got zapped. “I HATE STATIC CLING!!!!”
“What’s the big deal,” said my husband. “Just get some of those dryer sheets.”
I glared at him. “They don’t work.” He shrugged and went back to reading his magazine while I folded the shocking pile of laundry. Sure what does he care… I’m the one who had to run static interference all season. By the time the socks got in his drawer, they had been surgically separated from the rest of the clump and are nice and fluffy and static-free.
But sometimes, somehow, one escapes.
Such was the case the day I went to our town hall on business. While I stood talking to one of the officials, one of his associates behind me said, “There’s something stuck inside the hood of your sweatshirt.”
With an audible static charge, he peeled the offending article away from my hood and dangled it out for all of us to see:
A pair of women’s black thong underwear.
We all stood paralyzed for a moment with my underwear suspended between his thumb and forefinger. The men looked at me expectantly, but my mind was a blank. Finally, I came out of my coma, grabbed the panties and said the first thing that came into my head.
“Oh,” I laughed. “Those are my husband’s.”