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Working Parents: How to Save Time Doing Laundry

Have you ever walked into the laundry area, saw piles of laundry in the corner of your eye, felt a pit in your stomach at how behind you are then tried to forget about it so you didn’t have to feel overwhelmed anymore? This is a common story that working parents talk to me about; it’s their “nemesis”.

In this article

Erin Kurt gives us some great advice on managing the house chores after returning to work after maternity leave.

I know I was shocked at just how much laundry an extra little being could produce. Then I had my second child, and made the return to work after maternity leave and couldn’t believe how the laundry quadrupled! As with everything I do, I took a look at the situation and found a better, more simple, (and of course, stress-free) way to take care of the mountain of laundry my family accumulates each week.

When thinking about how I could solve my problem my thoughts wandered back to the classroom when I was a teacher. I had systems and organisational routines put into place so that the classroom and our life inside it ran like a well-oiled machine.

One of the things I did was come up with cute names for certain days and attach a job or activity to it. For example, I loved humour and it really bonded us as a class (The kids loved it when I would laugh so hard I’d cry) so I created a day called, “Witty Wednesday”. Throughout the week the kids would bring in jokes they had either found or heard, wrote them down and placed the paper in our “Witty Wednesday” basket. On Wednesday, during the last 10 minutes of class we would sit on the carpet together and I would pull 5-7 jokes out of the basket. The child would read it and we’d either try to answer the joke or just listen to it. It was one thing the kids always said they loved best about our year together.

Now, how can you bring this into your home, not only to help with laundry, but with other tasks as well? Here are some suggestions. Feel free to make up your own and if you think they’re brilliant, please write me as I always LOVE to hear the ideas of others.

Washing Wednesday

After dinner, your hubby puts the kids to bed and does dishes while you get to work on the “washing” (aka laundry). With most machines, you should be able to get at least 3 loads washed, dried and folded by the end of the night. Make it fun for yourself. Put on some great music or your favourite TV show. You could even get out your novel and read between cycles! Be creative here so that you actually ENJOY when “Washing Wednesday” comes around!

Tub and Toilet Tuesdays

Why not make Tuesday one of your children’s bath days (No, you don’t have to bathe your children every night. Just wash their hands and face and save the big clean ups for a few days during the week) While your kiddies are enjoying their play time in the bath, you could clean the toilet (and sink if you like). Then, after you’ve scrubbed the kids, get your hubby to get their pyjamas on while you clean the bathtub. You can swap these roles so he cleans the tub and you dress the kids, whichever suits you.

Mail Monday

Make Monday your day to go through mail that has piled up (as it so easily does) then pay the bills immediately so they are out of your mind. If you need to book an appointment, book it right away or at least put the task to book the appointment on your “To Do List” for tomorrow (if you choose to do this in the evening). You could even take this further and make Mondays, “Mexican Mondays”. Because most Mexican dishes are quick to make, you could come home, deal with the mail, then know you have a simple Mexican meal to whip up in only 10-15 minutes. Think, quesadillas, tacos, burritos, quinoa salads with roasted vegetables and goat cheese, taco salads, rice and beans, stuffed peppers...the list is endless!

The point with all of this is that there is no way around doing laundry and other household tasks (unless you have a full time maid), so why resist? Do them in a fun way! Better yet, get the family in on the game! Just be sure to do these tasks in a fun and enjoyable way.

We all have 24 hours in a day. We can either race around resenting everything we have to do or choose to find better ways and just go with the flow. We have the ability to design our lives. Design yours with this fun technique and you’ll be sure to live life more like you want.


For individual advice on returning to work after maternity leave or balancing work and family stress free, you can speak to Erin direct via her Greatvine profile.

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You can view the full list of Greatvine experts who can offer advice on planning you return to work after maternity leave.

About the author

Erin Kurt
Stress-Free Parenting Expert

Parenting expert Erin helps working mums who struggle with overwhelm and guilt, and want to parent without raising their voice. She’s author of Juggling Family Life: A Step-by-Step Guide to Stress-Free Parenting.

Articles by Erin Kurt
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