FILED IN: Parenting


Who ever said parenting wasn’t all?‚? fun and games wasn’t kidding, because today?‚? I am having an internal tug-o-war between my mothering selves.?‚? And it’s no fun at all.

Last night I told my 14 year old son to bring his laundry to the laundry room.?‚? Laundry. Laundry room.?‚? Laundry. Laundry Room.

Later, on my way to bed, after throwing in a load of clothes that did not include his, I saw a pile on the floor in the hallway leading to his bedroom.?‚? I went to sleep anyway.?‚? Nothing stops me when I’m tired.

This morning he asked me for clean shirts.?‚? Clean shirts??‚? In the closet.?‚? No? Oh then they must be in the pile of clothes you never brought to the laundry room.?‚?

He looked at me as if…I worked for him.?‚?

Yes, wide-eyed and stupified, like “I thought I told you I needed clean shirts?” Then he proceeded to kick the pile of clothes throughout the hallway, as only a 14 year old the size of a linebacker can do.

First tug: To scream or not to scream.


“You will be doing your own laundry today,” I said. “All of it.”

“Don’t talk to me,” he replied.

Teenagers who unknowingly use reverse-psychology end up in big trouble.

“I’ll talk to you all day long if I want,” I said. So there.

He went about his business, finished getting dressed (and yes he was wearing a clean shirt).?‚? I proceeded to kick all the clothes into his bedroom.?‚? Some landed on the floor, some on the desk, some on the chair.?‚? I think a wet towel landed on the bed.

Oh well.

I drove him to school in silence.?‚? We said good-bye and I love you’s, because we’re too smart to not, no matter what.

Second tug: I want to teach him a lesson. Not about laundry but about respect and about helping me.?‚?

Third Tug: But I also want the laundry done so that the clothes are wearable.

Fourth?‚? Tug: What if he just pushes all the clothes aside and wears anything left that clean or heaven forbid, dirty clothes?

Fifth?‚? Tug: What if he smells?

Sixth?‚? Tug: What if he apologizes?

Seventh?‚? Tug: Maybe I can put baskets in his room so that he has a place to put the laundry.?‚?

Eighth?‚? Tug: Do not do his laundry.

Ninth?‚? Tug: But I can give him laundry-doing instructions.

Tenth?‚? Tug: Is it my job to do his laundry?

That’s a question perhaps for a Oujai board. Which is a different kind of game and would have to be a completely different post.

I think the right decision is to give him the tools with which to do his own laundry.?‚? And I bet next time he’ll bring it to the laundry room.?‚?

That way maybe neither of us will end up feeling like dirt.