This past weekend I taught my son to do his own laundry. Well, I tried to. Yes, I know, he’s eighteen and should have been doing it himself for a while now. I have no good excuse really, other than he spends half his time at his dad’s house and well, it’s just been easier for me to keep track of his clothes this way. Lame excuse, but it’s all I have.
It went well. The concept of sorting seemed to confuse him a bit but once we got past that I think he caught on. I still have my doubts as to whether he will actually remember to go back and move the wet clothes into the drier. There’s a big empty space of time between washer and dryer that could suck him back into the vortex of YouTube videos and Game of Thrones episodes. He will learn. Damp socks and underwear are no fun.
He’s already pretty good at feeding himself. Given the right ingredients he can actually make a decent meal. FYI – Having a girlfriend is a huge incentive to learn how to cook. Apparently teenage girls swoon over boys who can cook. I don’t think a boy cooked for me until I was well into my twenties. He has been making his own school lunches since he was in grade six. I did get some pushback on that one.
Him: I don’t have to do this at my dad’s house.
Me: That’s too bad buddy. Make your lunch.
I suppose I could just keep doing all this stuff for him. It might be easier in the short-term. Realistically though, one day I won’t be around to pick up his dirty socks or the towel he leaves on the bathroom floor. I won’t be around to make him breakfast or a snack after work. He will need to know how to do this stuff himself. He will, eventually, move out. Won’t he?
I’ve always known that I wanted him to be self-sufficient. I don’t want him to be the thirty year old man that doesn’t know how to boil water. But what’s more important is that he needs to know that HE can do this stuff. He needs to feel independent. It’s actually not that much different from when he first went to the bathroom on his own. He needs to do it alone and I need to trust that he will. (We are still working on the toilet flushing component of this by the way)
It feels like it’s one of the last steps towards independence. A last-minute check before he becomes a man. A man. My son is a man. A man who can make his own meals and wash his own clothes. No, no. I’m not getting sentimental and weepy. Okay, maybe a little. Really I’m proud and happy that we have made it this far.
The Best Thing in Life is that I still have my seven-year old daughter to fulfill my need for someone to mother. She doesn’t know it yet but she will be helping to ease me into the whole empty nest thing.