Tag Archives: train

Laundry Sucks

Strolling through the house, I see one black sock, inside out, peeking out from underneath the couch.  Its mate rests underneath the TV remote across the room.

Two pair of gym shorts, both clean enough to wear again, sit in a pile on the bathroom floor.

I will not even waste words on what the floor of his closet looks like.

Photo Credit: darksock2004 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: darksock2004 via Compfight cc

As the dutiful dad, I used to walk through the house, pick up his clothes (he was pretty young), throw them all in the laundry basket, and wash them whether they needed it or not.  The path of least resistance.

It did not take long for a primal instinct to rise up from within.  I hated doing laundry and I had to change the paradigm.  I spent too much of my time finding socks, hanging school uniform shirts, soaking dirty pants, and washing all of them.  Not to mention my own clothes.

This single dad took a new approach to laundry.

  1. Get rid of the front loader/HE washer.  I admit front loader washing machines look cool.  They save on water.  They use less energy.  But, for me, they made doing laundry more frustrating due to the long wash cycles.  I have owned both and found the top loader to better fit my needs.  You can do more laundry, more quickly with a top loader.
  2. Work out your laundry schedule.  Depending on how many kids you have, you might face a small mountain of laundry each and every day.  Maybe you have school uniforms or work uniforms needing constant laundering.  You might enjoy spending your entire Saturday doing laundry and chores around the house.  Maybe you just want to do three or four smaller loads on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  Maybe your electric utility plan dictates when you do your laundry.  Maybe you go to a laundromat and do your entire week’s worth of laundry in just a few hours.  Whatever the case, like your financial budget, figure out your typical needs, establish a schedule, and stick to it as best you can.
  3. Photo Credit: Chiew Pang via Compfight cc

    Photo Credit: Chiew Pang via Compfight cc

    Teach your kids how to care for clothes.  Take the time to teach your kids, from an early age, how to determine when clothes should go into the dirty bin or when they could be worn again.  Boys typically resonate with the sniff test, so give it try.  Instruct them to turn their clothes…especially socks…right-side-out before putting in the dirty laundry bin.  Remind them it takes water and time to do laundry, so they need to be respectful of how many times they change clothes unnecessarily during the day.

  4. Have an extra set of sheets/mattress pad.  You never know what might happen at night from bed wetting to vomit to Spot jumping on it after running through the mud.  In those cases, having an extra set of sheets can save you from an unexpected visit to the laundry room.
  5. Wash towels and rugs separately.  Once I washed the bathroom rug with some regular clothes.  I spent the following spring taking little white balls of cotton off of all the clothes.  I think they call them pills, and they are bitter.
  6. Bring your kids into the experience.  If said with the right tone of voice and right attitude, you can invite your kids to help you do laundry.  Maybe it becomes an over-and-above chore in exchange for a few extra minutes of electronics time.  They should learn the basics of laundering, folding, hanging, and putting in drawers.  Maybe it will encourage them to think and be more responsible with their clothes.

So, am I the only one who hates laundry?  Any tips you can share?

“Ts” Of Single Fatherhood – Train

Growing up, my dad trained Brittany Spaniels.  We used them for hunting quail and he competed with them in AKC field trials.  Over the years, we ended up with several national champions and I have rich memories of spending weeks each summer in the White Mountains of Arizona for the trials and countless quail hunting trips.

Photo Credit: vishnubhagat123 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: vishnubhagat123 via Compfight cc

Young bird dogs go through a time of “breaking” where they learn to stay still when a bird flushes from a bush.  As you can imagine, when a bird takes flight, the dog would really like to chase it and catch it.  However, the handler wants the dog to stand still so he can safely take aim and shoot the bird…and not the dog.

We used repetition to train the young dogs.  We also used shock collars to break them from chasing the birds.  Don’t worry, this did not harm the dogs or lead to them needing therapy.

Kids present an entirely different paradigm related to training.  We not only want to “break” our kids of bad habits and rude behavior, but we want to train them in a way that brings out the uniqueness of each of them and encourage them to flourish.  How do we do this?

Generally, moms excel in areas dealing with hygiene, manners, gift-wrapping, and empathy.

Dads usually do a great job training in physical activity, lighting fireworks and right-brained stuff.

Our job, as single dads, requires us to cover all the bases.  And we are not allowed to use shock collars when our kid uses bad manners at the dinner table.

So, how can we set ourselves up to train our kids well?

Seek input from moms.  Find a “mom” who has frequent interactions with your kids and ask them to give honest input about what training they need.  Others notice little things, and some big things, we may have no clue about.  Thank them for the input and seek training tips.

Engage kids in everyday tasks and special chores.  Giving our kids responsibility and compensation will help train them.  I appreciate the context Dave Ramsey puts this in – some behaviors are essential to just being part of the family (clearing your plate, picking up clothes, and other age-appropriate tasks), and others deserve compensation (or a “commission”).  This will both feel a part of the family unit and train them to act responsibly whether they get paid or not.

Consider outside training.  Occasionally, my dad would send a dog off with a professional trainer for specialized instruction.  For our kids, we have Junior Achievement, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, team sports (sportsmanship, playing with others), and many others.  Often, what we have told our kids for months will finally sink in when another adult gives the same instruction.  Frustrating, but a reality.  You and I did it, too!

 What has been the hardest thing to train your kid(s) to do?

Single Fatherhood And The Letter “T”

This past week will stand out in my memory.  Had a great time with my son on Veterans Day, went on a business trip with a favorite client, saw many old friends, made new friends, and got engaged on Saturday.

So, technically, I will not qualify as a full-time dad much longer.  But this blog will continue as long as I can provide content of value to you.  Plus, every post seems to help me (and some married dads) parent a little better – remind me of some things forgotten or neglected.

Photo Credit: B Tal via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: B Tal via Compfight cc

Reserving the right to interrupt the upcoming series should something pertinent come along, I plan to take the next several weeks to address what I call the T’s of single fatherhood.  Yes, they can apply to all fathers, but we face some unique challenges and have some incredible opportunities I would like to explore with respect to these words:

  • Time
  • Touch
  • Teach
  • Train
  • Talk
  • Truth
  • Trust
  • Therapy
  • Thank
  • Thrive
  • Transform
  • Tailor

I look forward to a great conversation ahead – please join me.

Do you have a suggested “T” word to add to this list?