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Why-My-Whites-Are-Never-White-A-Mothers-Tale

Why My Whites Are Never White: A Mother's Tale

I went to see Rob Delaney in Vicar Street the other week and I was struck by what he was wearing…
the way his Levi red tabs fit beautifully in the bum-icular area, but mainly by his ill-fitting t-shirt. It reminded me of my husband’s t-shirt collection as they are all belt-skimming due to shrinkage in the dryer.

In the bar afterwards, I commented on this and my friends Susan and Carolyn quizzed me on my laundry techniques… it was all very rock n’ roll and I’m sure people were eavesdropping intently.  I told them I have two distinct washes… coloureds and whites and there was an audible intake of breath from them both followed by a barrage of near-hysterical questions… “What about silk? wool? gossamer? “What about labels?” they near-shouted in unison. “I don’t read them”, I said flippantly enjoying their reaction. “So... you would prefer to lose half your wash to shrinkage or worse, than read labels?” asked Carolyn. “Yep” I said enjoying the disclosure and my rebellious laundry attitude (I may even have hooked my thumbs into the belt hoops on my jeans). Susan was already privy to this dark secret and on occasion had loaned me clothes and would always say, “No need to wash it when you’re done”. She tried to do this casually but I’d see faint beads of sweat on her forehead and she’d grip my arm a little too tightly.
Susan could and should do evening classes in laundry. She has Woolite, laundry cleansers, softeners, stain removers… you name it! Her whites remain white for their entire existence. I have asked her for lessons but even if I follow her instructions to the letter, my whites end up grey due to a lurking black sock. She irons! I do not. When we moved into our house I had an ironing board built into one of the presses like all the fancy Americans on TV have but could count on one hand the amount of times I’ve used it. I also have an addiction to my dryer… and again, I don’t check labels... I just fire everything in.

I have a fabric couch from IKEA that you can unzip all the covers and wash. My family all tried to convince me to get a leather one with three small kids but I find leather couches too cold in the Winter and too hot in the Summer for any comfort. My kids like to use the couch as a large napkin… to rub their noses and dirty hands on. It can also be a coaster for precariously balanced glasses full of blackcurrant juice or a plate for toast butter side down. As you can imagine these covers have to be washed daily, although I stretch it to monthly. Recently I replaced the covers and discovered they were not as hardy as their predecessors and after a blast in the dryer, the mesh back had half melted away. I put the covers on as best as I could to hide my faux pas from my husband,.. I was only short of sellotaping them on and they look passable at a glance but I dread him looking for lost change and discovering the lack of backing. He doesn’t seem to have noticed the shortness of his t-shirts and how they merely skim his belt, possibly due to a lack of naval gazing on his part, quite the opposite of his wife. My dryer recently had a nervous breakdown and gave up on life and I had to contact a repairman. I actually used the word armageddon in my plea for help. I’d worn out the (flux) capacitor.Once working, I decided to strip my bed and threw in the fabric from the headboard… after a lengthy session in the dryer, it was a bit on the small side and it took the two of us a half hour to inch it back on the bed: I likened it to trying to get a tiny condom on a large willy. There was a noise downstairs and I peeped out only to see my neighbour trying to usher her son home - I felt I had to explain in case she’d overheard and misconstrued the context. My laundry pile is an unending mountain of mundanity. I wash and dry it with careless abandon as I would prefer to devote my time to browsing facebook and watching netflix (while browsing facebook) or meeting friends for coffee in pure housework avoidance. Also when my clothes are tight, I can blame the dryer and not the amount of cake I’ve been eating.

About the Author

Mother of 3 young boys, blogging about poo, post-baby vags and other beautiful aspects of parenting and domestic slavery.

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