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The Sock Monster

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​As my Mom before me, I wouldn't consider myself a typical or traditional mother. Mine raised 6 kids on a shoe string budget. I was fortunate to have had only two children and a great career. However my mother sure gave me many gifts of parenting skills. And a flair for creativity.

As a child, my least favorite of chores was the laundry. I actually hated it. Especially the matching up of socks. What do you do with several un-matched socks? Seeing if the matches showed up next laundry day hardly worked. And there was never an actual place to store them once they lost their mate. As what would happen with 6 kids, there were always many non-pairs to hang on the clothesline and in later years in the clothes dryer. Mom termed the missing sock mystery as The Sock Monster.

Having the socks of six children to wash was a chore to say the least and was nothing to look forward to. Although there were many things that my mother magically transformed into as a fun thing, laundry was never one of them. I would consider her failures as the good lessons I learned from. I inherited the Sock Monster when I became a mother, as I'm sure most mothers do. No matter what I tried...from those little plastic rings to use to keep socks together in the wash, to trying to wash socks in their own load...there was always at least one lone sock in the dryer...sometimes they went missing before the sorting of dirty laundry but the ones after must have been taken by The Sock Monster! 

  It was a challenge when my two became teens and we had over THIRTY pairs of socks at the end of the week to wash, dry and match up. I did not want my kids to detest the chore of laundry as I did as a child, so using the approach my mother used on many things, I "re-thought" the sock situation.

I first convinced my two to choose a favorite brand of sock they preferred and to throw out all the other brands of older socks. Luckily they were very involved in sports so their choices of white bootie or crew socks worked well. An ALL WHITE LOAD!! Yippee! Daughter chose the ones with pink toes and Son chose the ones with black toes. Other than a few pair of colored dress socks, these were the only sock load we had to do. So if the Sock Monster got one, it could still be matched with a same type that perhaps lost it's mate to a hole or stain. The battle ground with the war with the Sock Monster became more fair and there were less lone victims. The net bag I had hanging by the dryer for the all would-be unpaired socks eventually was no longer a trophy for the Sock Monster advantage and eventually became a holder for dryer lint.

To make the match-up process something that actually got finished and was fun to do, I dumped the basket of socks onto a clean sheet on the living room floor and had my kids race to pair up the socks. The socks were paired in record time. The winner had the choice of either what to have for Sunday supper or choose the movie we would watch after. 

The Sock Monster will always be a mystery, but laundry was never to be the chore that it was of my childhood.

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