My mom was a mostly-stay-at-home mom. She set an excellent example which I have never managed to follow. She planned and cooked the meals, set the table, and got everyone to sit together most of the time. She dusted. She ironed shirts. These are things I cannot imagine doing, but they improved the quality of our home life, and I'm grateful for all those gifts Mom gave me, from a clean toilet to already-chopped-up salads.
I was folding laundry today -- one of the few chores I can do with my bum leg -- and it occurred to me that my decision to do so reflects a philosophical choice. The kids don't tend to fold their laundry, even when packing for a trip. Sometimes I don't fold everything -- I've been know to shove some clean dishtowels in the drawer in a wad, and throw underwear into the dresser willy-nilly. But I have time these days, and I chose to fold everything. I realized that it mattered to me that my husband find his underwear in an orderly row, and that when I've finally nagged the kids enough to get them doing the dishes, there are clean, folded towels at hand, making the task a little more upscale. I keep a stack of folded white washcloths on the bathroom counter, because it makes me feel pampered to always have a fresh, clean washcloth.
I've spent years avoiding matching all the socks. They were usually piled in a box, and whenever anyone needed a pair, they had to go hunt for a match on their own. But today I realized how agreeable it is to have socks all ready to go. How my underwear neatly folded makes me feel like I matter. How clean dish towels set a standard that causes the whole kitchen to end up cleaner.
Laundry impacts us. Imagine that. A few minutes a week of folding can improve moods and self esteem. I can accept this as true, but it will not result in ironing.