Laundry and the Confessions of a Busy Mom

Guest ColumnistCommunity News

By Jill Dixon

Laundry is one of those chores that you can never fully check off your list. It’s always there and it’s time consuming. As a full time kindergarten teacher, I had come up with a system that worked really well for my family. On Friday night, I would start doing the laundry and the last load would go in the wash as we were going to bed. Saturday morning my family would awaken to piles of laundry that we would fold and put away. While this system seemed to be working I found myself dreading the beginning of the weekend. Hanging laundry on our clothesline didn’t enter my mind because I had bought into the lie that our dryer saved me time and energy and the clothesline was for hanging our wet beach towels.

Then I read Serve God, Save the Planet by Matthew Sleeth and I was convicted that my actions here in Santa Barbara could and did affect others less fortunate than myself. So this summer I stopped using the dryer and started hanging our laundry on the clothesline.

Now I did this because I was convicted that it was the right thing to do, but I went into it believing this was going to be a hardship for me. I was busy and I didn’t want to take more time for chores that I could be spending with my family. What I hadn’t bargained for was how this would impact me and my family for good. Because I was hanging the laundry on the clothesline, I could only do one or two loads of laundry at a time. This cut down on the amount of items we all had to put away at a given time. Hanging clothes on the line also cut down on the amount of ironing I had to do as the clothes came off the line smelling terrific and wrinkle free. I also found myself looking forward to being outside where I could hear the birds, talk to my neighbors who were walking their dogs, and hum praise songs and even pray. My kids decided this looked like fun and started helping me hang and fold the laundry. I now had more quality time with my kids as we hung the laundry on the line together. They loved that I was totally present in our conversations and focused on them. I felt blessed.

But summer was coming to an end and I started to worry about what would happen to my resolve once I started teaching again as I would be away from home all day. That’s when I remembered the wooden laundry rack we had owned for 15 years. Now I do one load of laundry every 2 or 3 days after work and hang it inside on the wooden rack. When we get home from work the next day it’s dry. Is hanging laundry slower and sometimes inconvenient? Yes. But I have learned that slower is not bad and it puts me in a place where God can speak to me and I am actually quiet enough to listen.

Phil 2:4 says, Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. I’m encouraged to find that when I chose to look not just to my own interests God met me there. I am blessed by how He meets me and my family every week as we simply do laundry.