Do socks mount up like Everest in your laundry? Do they threaten to overflow even your largest laundry basket if you dare put off folding them for a whole week? Do you end up with lonely socks that have apparently repelled their mate…two socks on two feet both presumably taken off within seconds of each other, are separated by some strange twist of fate. Then, the day after you finally discard the loner, the missing mate miraculously comes back into circulation!
One day not so long ago, I had finally resigned myself to the 20 or so minutes it would take to fold a basket full of socks. Six people X two feet each (yes, I am thankful we all have two feet!) X several days…and you’ve got a mini Mt. Everest. So, there I was sorting and folding socks when I had a flashback. I could hear Monster Mum (none other than me) losing her cool over socks that had made it to the folding basket inside out.
“Why do you ALWAYS put your socks in the wash INSIDE OUT?” she demanded.
The little mites (and probably big mite too) were caught off guard and speechless. No doubt they wondered, “What’s wrong with socks being inside out?” or “I’m sure they’re not ALL inside out.” They couldn’t remember being told that toe seams should never be seen but, that day, it was apparently the last straw.
“I can’t stand these socks being inside out. From now on MAKE SURE you turn your socks the RIGHT way before you put them in the wash!” For some reason, it felt like a really BIG deal.
Whether Monster Mum was sleep deprived, hormonal or simply suffering from too much to do, one thing was sure, she was overwhelmed and had lost her normally level headed perspective. Thankfully, she was later able to laugh at herself.
So, what did I learn while folding socks?
1. The last straw can be almost anything. It’s not such a good day when inside out socks are able to tip you over the edge but, let’s be honest…it happens. It may not be inside out socks…it could be dirty dishes left in the sink, the wet towel on the chair or maple syrup on the ceiling (true story!) So many things can be a last straw when we’re tired or stressed, so it’s good to see them for what they really are – an indicator that it’s time to look after your own needs; adequate rest and a spot of fun in the day, to name a couple.
2. If you don’t like something, ask for change (specifically) or let it go. It’s very easy to get worked up over something that the other party has no idea about. It’s more effective to talk about it and consider other points of view. I could have simply folded the socks as they were and let them be worn inside out. If they didn’t like it they would quickly learn to turn them. I could also have declared, “I can’t fold socks any longer so we’ll have a ‘sox box’ and everyone can get their own as needed.”
3. Some jobs are tedious and mundane and often not so bad once you get started. I often find jobs that seem repulsive are not so bad once I get to them. I can choose to accept it’s going to be tedious or bring some creativity to the task. eg. ask the family to fold socks at the dinner table before dessert is served and time them for speed. I’ve haven’t tried this one (yet!) but I reckon it would get the job done and give the whole family a laugh too!
4. Strive not to let the small stuff seem BIG. If it does, acknowledge it and be gentle with yourself. This one speaks for itself.
Have you got a ‘last straw’ story that you can laugh about now? It may be a time when you turned a mole hill into a mountain or a pile of inside-out-socks into an angry outburst. Feel free to share…your story may be just what someone else needs to hear today.