Monday, March 29, 2010

Hanging Out the Laundry

This may sound crazy, but one of my favorite things about the arrival of spring is being able to hang my laundry out on the clothesline again.  I actually anticipate the washing machine beeping to let me know that my clothes are freshly washed and ready to hang out.  To me, it is a nice "break" to take my basket full of clean laundry out into the sunshine to hang it on the line. 

In fact, sometimes as I hang out my clothes, I pray and thank the Lord that I am able to be home with my children and that we homeschool and can spend our days together.  I cannot imagine taking my basket out and not hearing my 7-year-old, Mary Grace, call from wherever she is in the house, "Wait for me, Mommy!  I wanna go hang out the clothes with you!"  Sometimes my 13-year-old son and my 14-year-old daughter will just "happen" to be outside at the same time.

Sometimes the kids hang clothespins all over their shirts and shorts (and perhaps even on their ears or noses or hair--ouch!) and do silly songs or make up goofy plays just for my entertainment.  They like to run between the wet clothes as I hang them out.  They like to climb the trees that are nearby or play in the sandbox or even tell silly jokes and just visit.

This year we just began hanging our clothes out again a week or so ago.  Because we live in the South, there have been plenty of days here and there that have been warm enough to hang the clothes out, but I usually wait until I can make it a regular routine before I start hanging them out again.  (Honestly, this is mostly because I have been known to forget to take them in when I'm not in the regular habit of hanging them out.  Because we have to dry them in the dryer during the winter, I get out of the habit and have trouble thinking to bring them in!) 

I have noticed something new over the last couple of weeks since we started using the clothesline again.  In a way, I guess you could say it's a good thing.  In a way it's a bit sad too.  You moms will know what I mean.  My little one, Mary Grace, instead of playing and visiting while I'm hanging out the clothes, wants to do the job herself now.  Yes, I am very glad that she wants to help.  Yes, I'm glad she's willing to help.  At the same time, though, it reminds me that she is growing up and is no longer so little.  

Instead of lamenting her growing up, though, I've decided to form some new traditions.  Mary Grace still yells, "Wait for me, Mommy!"  but now she adds, "I wanna hang out the clothes myself.  You can visit with me, though."  So I've started taking a book outside with us (because it takes her a really long time to hang the clothes out herself, but she insists on doing it alone, so I don't want to squelch her independence) to read to her while she works.  In fact, it was her idea. 

She loves for the two of us to read books together.  Even though she is a very good reader, she still enjoys it when I read to her.  Most of the time, we have one book that she is currently reading to me, and we have another book that I am reading to her.  While she hangs out the laundry, I read to her.  She will sometimes get so caught up in what we're reading that she forgets to keep working!   I just pause for a minute and smile, and she realizes what has happened and gets started again.

Even though our laundry tradition is changing a bit this year, we still enjoy this time together.  It gives us an excuse to get outside and enjoy the fresh air--even if it's also really HOT air at times, and it "automatically" provides time for us to read together.  Oh, and it gets the laundry done too! 


  1. What a great tradition! You are giving her great habits. In my house we are not able to have a clothesline, crazy rules, anyways we are using a clothes drying rack to take advantage of the warm weather and the sun. I just need to add a book to our process and we will be good to go.

  2. The clothes drying rack is such a good idea! I don't know if I would have thought of that. I have heard of communities not allowing clotheslines because they aren't very "pretty" and that sort of thing. I would think that, with conservation being such a big issue now that they would be encouraged and not discouraged!! Anway, you have your own system now, and that sounds great. Have fun with your book too! :)