Laundry duty step to peaceful co-existence

By Grant McGee: Local Columnist

How many of you married guys do your own laundry?

I do.

Now I know this husband-does-his-own-laundry thing could be a political hot potato here on the High Plains. There are some guys who don’t mind doing their own laundry. There are others who think this is a duty to be performed by the female partner in the marriage. There are women who wish their husbands would do their own laundry. There are wives who don’t want their husbands doing the laundry.

I didn’t always do my own laundry.

As a child, someone was always carting away my dirty clothes — my mother, my grandmother. Then, clean clothes would magically appear nicely folded in my chest of drawers or hung in my closet. Life was wonderful.

In college, a canvas bag hung on my closet door where I’d stuff all my dirty clothes. Every week or two I’d take the bag down to the student washateria and dump the entire contents into one washing machine. My whites always were kind of dingy until my mom told me about separate loads for colors and whites.

My mom also impressed upon me the importance of how often I should do laundry. One weekend at home I was in the laundry room unloading my dirty clothes bag when my mom saw my sheets.

“Your sheets are gray,” she said.

“I wash them separately with other whites,” I said defensively.

“But how often?”

“About every month.”

My mom made a face.

“I take a shower before I go to bed,” I said. “I figure it’s a clean body getting under the covers.”

The first time I got married I made some mistakes about some things, including the laundry and the dishes. After all, my mom always did the laundry and the dishes. I just figured it was the natural order of things for my new wife to do all the laundry and the dishes while I worked. The new wife didn’t see things that way.

Months later in the marriage counselor’s office, my laundry habits were the center of discussion for one session.

“He leaves towels on the floor and I’m not picking them up,” she said.

“I’m in a hurry in the morning,” I said. “I’ll get around to picking it up.”

This exchange over the towel erupted into a nose-to-nose venting session that dealt with things from diaper changing to my eating habits. This lasted for a while. Then things were quiet.

“Meanwhile, the towel is still on the floor,” said the marriage counselor.

As time went on I learned another laundry rule: Leave other people’s laundry alone. Women’s garments such as cotton shawls and cotton broomstick skirts aren’t to be completely dried in the dryer.

Years later I shared an apartment with my cousin Barb, who taught me some basic rules about living with someone else: Do your own laundry, do your own dishes and, if there’s something buggin’ you that needs to be fixed, fix it yourself. Don’t expect the other person to fix things for you.

Guys, I assure you, doing your own laundry doesn’t hurt. And for you guys who still don’t want to do your own laundry, just don’t leave this column out where your significant other can read it.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: