The Laundry Dance with Mom

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Joining us today is Deanna who can be found at Maple Leaf Mommy, Deanna is a friend of mine who is filling the gap for me! She’s witty, so generous and my hero today as I am resting off a migraine. Maple Leaf Mommy is a fabulous site, full of stories like the one below, products reviews and the giveaways we love!


I have two small kids, one is almost two and the other is four. Of all things this makes doing the laundry ridiculously difficult because my four-year old, who normally appears to have zero separation anxiety issues, freaks out every time I go into the basement. She seems to be possessed by a fear that I actually snuck out the side door, or perhaps the basement ate me.

My laundry room is a danger zone, filled with tools, cat poop and beer bottles. It’s off-limits to the kiddies, so when I need to do the laundry I need to head in their solo. I’ve tried the get kids playing and then sneak away quietly variant. This does NOT work. Their mom-radar goes off, they almost immediately notice I’m missing and then freak out.

So the usual routine goes something like this:

      • Set up toys or colouring books and attempt to get both kids playing independent of me
      • After five or so attempts at the above, and breaking up several death-matches and or stopping kids from colouring on the walls, things are as good as they are going to get. Time to head downstairs.
      • Tell four-year old, “I am going downstairs to do the laundry. I will be right back.” Pause and wait for response. Repeat. Ask, “Did you hear what mom just said?” When she says, “Yes, you’re going to do laundry.” I reply with “Ok. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” emphasizing again that I will indeed return.

        • Jet to baby-gate, lock it behind me and zip downstairs as fast as possible
        • Step foot in the laundry room.
        • Hear four-year old yell, “Mom?”
        • Walk to the washing machine, open machine door.
        • Hear her yell, “Mom?” again.
        • Race to toss clothes from washer to drier as quickly as possible. As in, if this were time trials for an Olympic event I would so qualify.
        • Hear the sound of kids shaking the baby gate. The big one is yelling “MOM are you there?!?! While the toddler chimes in “Mom!! Mom, where aww eww?!”
        • Realize things sound like they are reaching a frantic pitch, so even though I’ve only transferred 3/4s of the laundry I run up the stairs to the gate and reassure my children that I am alive. “I. Am. Downstairs. Changing. The. Laundry. I. Will. Be. Right. Back. Ok?”
        • Jog back down stairs and finish swapping loads, while kids continue to yell “Mama? Mom? Mama? Where are you? Mom??”
        • Look at pile of dirty laundry and wonder if I should put a second load into the washer.
        • Hear sound of baby gate shaking wildly.
        • Yell at the top of my lungs, I AM IN THE BASEMENT DOING LAUNDRY. I AM HERE. I WILL BE RIGHT BACK.
        • Start to load washer as quickly as possible
        • Notice kids are now screaming “Mom, Mama, Mom” over and over and sounding quite frantic.

        • Worry that something is actually wrong.
        • Run upstairs to check. “What’s the matter?!?!” Are you ok?” Four year old responds with “I didn’t know where you were. I thought you were gone.”
        • Try to remain calm. Take a deep breath. Ooookay. One more time. “I am not leaving the house. I am going downstairs to the laundry room and I will be RIGHT BACK. I can hear you down there, you know? Just play quietly and I’ll be done in a minute, ok?”
        • Make it all the way back to the washing machine and start to swap clothes. Notice it’s quiet and think hey maybe they finally caught on…. Bang, shake, howl. Or maybe not.
        • Rinse and repeat.

If it wasn’t for the fact that my girl gets genuinely distressed, I would laugh about this. Does anyone else have this problem? Do you run the laundry race?

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  1. Lynda M O says

    We solved that problem by bringing the washer and dryer into the kitchen. The extra “counter space” immediately became a popular stopping place for anything on its way out to the studio; a nearby waterproof location to dry pots and pans after a big meal; and the folded laundry fits up there in piles just like Mama used to do when I was a kid. Her laundry machines and our baby bro’s crib shared space for over a year. Her praise of the indoor machine stayed with me forever and once we got it established in here and had worked with it for a year or so, my hubster said, “Hey, this really is better, isn’t it?” Uh, yeah…

  2. Lisa says

    My son is 7 and we still have this issue. Only his nemesis is the garage. which is attached to the house. R, I’m going into the garage to take the kitchen trash to the receptacle. “Okay, mom” 2 minutes later, “mom, mom, MOOOOOOM”……oh my gosh, what’s wrong? “Nothing I just didn’t know where you went.”


  3. says

    OMG – this is so my house – laundry is in the basement and my three year old always wants to come down and “play” in the unfinished basement. Luckily we are tied down to doing most of our laundry at night due to Smart Meters, but still! Oh, and I can’t fold until after hours either because my 3 year old likes to “help”. His helping turns into everything I’ve folded into his own folding and I get nowhere. I love his help and sometimes I let him, but it takes FOREVER to get things done!
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