I wrote this for my March newsletter and received such positive feedback that I thought I would share it here.
What I say: Happy 15th Birthday! You are now responsible for your own laundry.
What I mean: My responsibility as your parent is to teach you how to be a productive member of society. Adulting is hard. We will start with laundry. Also, I have a full-time job and it does not include being your maid. I don’t want you to reach adulthood expecting your life partner to deal with your smelly clothes.
What I say: Your room smells. Do some laundry.
What I mean: I value cleanliness and you are violating that value.
What I say: Give me your outfit for [holiday, job interview, special event] and I will iron it for you.
What I mean: This is how we show respect for people. Also, don’t be an asshole.
What I say: I took your clothes out of the dryer and folded them for you.
What I mean: I love you and I am willing to help you. I also don’t want you to be that person who uses a common laundry room and dumps someone else’s clothes on the floor. Don’t be an asshole.
What I text: Come downstairs and get your clean laundry off the kitchen table.
What I mean: I value an uncluttered kitchen. The world does not revolve around you. Get your shit together.
Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.