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Laundry gives me anxiety. I’ll tell you why.

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A confession: I hate doing the laundry. I mean, I hate-hate doing laundry— especially as a parent. I’d rather wear my birthday suit and I blame that on an experience I had as a teen.

A rainstorm flooded the creek next to our house and filled our basement with water up to my knees. Flooded basements were fairly common in the Appalachian Hills of Kentucky but hours earlier that August day my siblings and I had dumped piles of our clothes on the basement floor in front of the washing machine, intending to do laundry whenever we ran out of fresh things to wear. That turned out to be the next morning. Before breakfast, my sister and I stood four stairs up from the rising water and contemplated the risk.

We decided to wait. Bad move. A few days later, the water reached our thighs. From the stairs, we watched my mom’s journal float by, trailed by a family photo album, and a single duck decoy. There had been lots of decoys in the basement. The other ducks must have drowned.

I ventured back and began fishing for clothes, water gushing around my hips as I dipped into the water. I needed a laundry basket to carry everything out but my parents kept the baskets upstairs filled with unpaid bills and unopened mail. I slogged through the water and grabbed holey jeans, a striped polo shirt, my underwear and a pair of my brother’s mismatched socks.

The entire problem could have been solved if wearing birthday suits was a thing. We could have luxuriated in our natural state while waiting for the water to recede and reveal the piles of our unwashed clothes like stones in a stream.

Now, as a mother of two small girls and the wife of a first responder, the amount of laundry I do each week is overwhelming. Some days, the sight of a clothing pile paralyzes me. Please tell me I’m not alone.

In my more playful moments, I tell myself that the best course of action would be to opt-out of wearing clothes entirely. My husband would appreciate seeing me parading in my birthday suit. But honestly, I’m convinced my daughter would spill the tea at school. And I’m not ready for a call from her teacher.

*image by Katie Dobies via Getty Images

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