Lessons Learned from Doing Laundry

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Lessons Learned from Laundry

Let me start this post by saying, I’m sure that my laundry breeds while I sleep. I mean there is no other reason I can think of as to why the laundry basket refills at the rate it does. If only my bank balance, refilled as quickly. Sigh! Of course, things are a lot better, now that I’m married. Now, I’m forced to do it. Which brings me back to the days of yore – or bachelorhood, as I like to call it. Back then, the only time I actually did the laundry was when the following predicament presented itself to me – Laundry today, or naked tomorrow. 

However, as I said, now things are different. As you get older, you sometimes get reflective and wiser. So previously while I had enough time to go through a book while waiting for the laundry to be done, these days I just put the laundry in the machine and then hobble around the house picking toys or getting other stuff done. Now you, my dear reader at the back of the class, might be wondering why I’ve decided to bore you with lectures of how my “laundry” habit has developed over the years. Fear not! I do not intend to.

The only reason that I’ve talking about laundry today, is because it was as I was separating clothes – coloured from non-coloured, intimates from well…non-intimates – that’s when a thought struck me. You see, along with the laundry bit, I also have trouble with folding clothes. And as I was chatting up “Google-Devi” trying to convince her to accompany me in my quest to find that magic folding thingy that Sheldon Cooper (Yes, the very one!) uses to fold his clothes, the lovely Sumeetha pinged me to ask for my post. Something that I’d promised and (conveniently) forgotten because as it goes, life happens. But I digress.  Anyway, as I was separating the laundry today, I realized that it is quite possible that there is more to laundry than dirty baniyans and shorts.

So here are a few lessons I believe doing laundry teaches us.

Wash – Dry – Wear – Dirty – Repeat

This is what I normally call a laundry cycle. And lots of things in life follow a similar pattern. You have to keep doing them over and over again. Yes, some days you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and repetition often feels monotonous. But remember, repetition also helps make some things perfect. So some times, it’s always worth learning those lessons over and over again, till you perfect it. And no, before you ask – laundry IS a never-ending vicious cycle. If you want clean clothes, that is.

At some point, you will lose a sock. Sometimes, every single time

The point I’m trying to make is, that sometimes no matter how carefully we plan everything or be cautious, we lose things or people that are important to us. There is nothing we can do to prevent it.  Yes, we feel frustrated about it and sometimes even get wildly possessive about it, but sometimes “sh*t happens” and socks get lost. Deal with it!

Read the label

I agree – life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. But as philosophical as it sounds, sometimes the universe sends you signs with directions to people who have those instructions. And some other times, it’s there – just like the label on the inside of your favourite t-shirt. And it’s there for a reason. And if it’s too much for you to handle, sometimes it’s okay to call your Mom (or whoever else you need to) for help. We don’t have it all figured out always.

Stains and holes

Wouldn’t we love it if everything were perfect? Just like how we wanted it. Like not having food stains on the brand new white shirt or mud splatters over that pink dress that you decided to wear even though it was raining. But just like the sock, no matter how hard we try to avoid them, life splatters a bit of mud all over us.  And that’s okay. You know why? Because the stain is only on the outside. Eventually you will stop wearing that stain, just like you will stop wearing that particular dress or shirt. Grow out of it, so to speak.

Don’t let it accumulate

Just as with dirty laundry, often in life, we tend to let things bog us down. We procrastinate and look for the easy way out. Could I get away once more with that really stinky pair of jeans? Or maybe nobody will notice that I smell like a wet, raggedy dog? The REAL easy way out here is – do not put away something that can be done today.   Oh, and in case you do let it accumulate, do this – STOP over analyzing it and get to the bottom of the basket as quickly as possible.

One load at a time

This is probably the most important lesson of all that you can learn from doing laundry. So you’ve let things pile up and you feel bogged down by the weight of it all. So much so, that you’re starting to feel like Atlas with the huge globe on his shoulder. Tough luck! But all isn’t lost.  As they say, Laundry is nothing but sorting out life, one load at a time.

Now that my gyaan is officially over, I should get back to doing my laundry. Else that “naked tomorrow” part, might just come true. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, there is a sign in our house that says: “This home has endless Love and Laundry”.

Well, what did you expect? We have a toddler who believes rolling in the mud is his birthright. On a separate note, that might explain the rapid refilling of the laundry basket.

About Sid Balachandran

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Sid Balachandran

Academically an engineer and a product manager by profession, Sid believes that his true calling lies in writing. Having recently relocated back to India after an eight-year stint in London, he writes short stories, social satire and about his parenting escapades involving his toddler son. He can be found weaving his tales at www.iwrotethose.com

Lessons Learned from a Toddler

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Parenting is often compared to a roller coaster ride. “Why worry?” you think to yourself, rather smugly. When your time comes you take your seat on the ride, buckle up and hold on to the handrails tightly, hoping that everything goes smoothly. But nothing can prepare you for that ride full of twists and turns. I’m a father to an active toddler, and over the past 26 months, he’s taught me more than education, books or even my parents could have in almost three decades.  Collectively they’ve been my guide to live a more positive life and today I’d like to share some of them with you.

Love yourself

Have you ever put a toddler in front of a mirror and observed their reaction? While most of us would fuss about our hair or that persistent acne on our face, they would smile, make faces and sometimes even talk to their mirror image. They adore themselves.

Persistence pays 

Toddlers will keep trying till they succeed. Just watch them try to pick up something that they really want to get their hands on, from the floor. No matter how long it takes, they will succeed. Defeat is never an option.

Be fearless; trust your instincts

I’ve often felt my heart beat like a set of percussion drums when watching my son jump from up on the dining room table from the chair. But not him. He knows what he’s doing. And when he falls down from a chair or the sofa and hurts himself, he picks himself up and tries again.

Live on your own terms

As adults, we tend to get bound by the “terms” of society. But not these little ones. They are unperturbed by expectations, acceptance, rejection, rules, controls and everything other thing that defines society to an adult. They do what they want, when they want and how they want.

Happiness in little things

My little one has taught me that I can still find joy in the tiniest of things – the crackling of an empty wrapper, making the shadows dance on the wall, or simply dancing in the rain, to name a few. Happiness is all around us.

Of course, not all lessons are profound in nature. Some are just practical, such as:

  1. Remembering to lock the bathroom door behind you, unless you want them to cheer you on while you complete your ablutions.
  2. Silence is the most dangerous noise that a toddler can make; if they are awake, silent and out of sight, something is going on somewhere.
  3. Flexibility:  Some parents will hate me for this, but sometimes it’s okay to have ice cream as dinner. Or cake.
  4. Saving money: You can get the same kind of workout at home as at the gym. Just pick up your toddler’s toys and jump over those dangerous Lego blocks.
  5. There aren’t many disagreements that cannot be solved by a combination of a genuine apology, teddy-bear style hug and some kisses
  6. Always buy gadgets with extra warranty. Preferably an accidental damage coverage too. No matter how hard you try to protect it, at some point, something valuable of yours will either be thrown off the balcony, into the swimming pool or down the drain.
  7. Patience: Reading that same story book fourteen times or listening to that nursery rhyme on an indefinite loop can teach us a thing or two about being patient.
  8. Lost and Found: Any object that is missing in the house can be found in their toy box.

And finally, the most important lesson that I’ve learnt from my toddler is, no matter what is going on inside you, outside you or around you, smile. Some days, that’s all it takes to make you a better human being.

About Sid Balachandran

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Sid Balachandran


Academically an engineer and a product manager by profession, Sid believes that his true calling lies in writing. Having recently relocated back to India after an eight-year stint in London, he writes short stories, social satire and about his parenting escapades involving his toddler son. He can be found weaving his tales at www.iwrotethose.com