Cultural differences and laundry folding

Folding laundry is one of my favorite chores.  It reminds me of together time spent with my family when I was a young child.  I folded underwear and socks mostly until I got old enough to help with bigger and more complicated shirts and pants and towels.

Laundry is the ultimate togetherness chore.  Your hands are kept busy but your minds and ears and mouths can converse.

Doing housework together, we notice there are a lot of ways that we’ve learned to do things from our parents differently.  There are differences in how we make beds.  Differences in how we chop vegetables.  Differences in how we fold socks and shirts and pants.

From our families we learned different attitudes and beliefs.  Differences in our beliefs about the purpose of college.  When to have children.  Where to live.  What to eat.  When to eat.  How to care for a baby.

As we come together, sometimes one belief system or habit gets adopted by the other.  We learn from each other.  DH makes beds better.  My chopping method is faster.

Sometimes we create something new.  DH’s family just folds loose socks once, leading to lost loose socks in the drawer.  My family turns them entirely inside out with one inside the other, stretching out the top of one of the two socks.  Now, in our own house, we gently turn over one sock, but just at the top, keeping the socks together without destroying anything.  We were able to come up with what we consider to be a better method of sock folding precisely because of our background differences.  Because of them, we’ve  been shown there are multiple ways to do the same thing we took for granted all our lives.

I think that’s a good metaphor for our marriage.

How have you come together as a family?

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15 Responses to “Cultural differences and laundry folding”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    What a great post comparing sox folding to one’s upbringing.

    I personally hate the way my husband folds laundry. Everything is folded haphazard and crooked and the seams don’t line up on the pants and shirts. I really hate myself for not being more grateful that my husband helps around the house as much as he does. Instead my brain tries to nitpick that it’s not done my way. I realize it is a flaw of mine.

    I think one of the biggest positives that my husband brought is that everything has to have a designated place. Tools go in a toolbox, books go in a bookcase, clothes go in closets and dressers. Babci was always losing stuff because she was always putting things “in a safe place” but never could remember where it was. She has clothes hanging on the back of every chair, or hanging off nails on walls (but her closet was empty).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      When my partner’s way of doing chores drives me nuts, I find that it’s easier for me if I just don’t watch him doing them…. then I try to appreciate the end result. Like sausage.

  2. Everyday Tips Says:

    Very interesting post.

    Growing up, we ended up with giant sock balls in our drawer. (Tube socks were popular then…) I also prefer the ‘gently folded over’ method for socks.

    My husband makes the bed better than I do and he is more particular about laundry. (His mother was a fanatic about laundry sorting.) I am much better at decluttering, dusting, general chores. When it comes to deep, deep cleaning, he wins!

    His biggest pet peeve about me? I don’t always shut a drawer all the way, and sometimes a cabinet door may be partly open. Drives him insane and I don’t think twice about. It is funny how things do all merge together and you create your own family and routines.

  3. eemusings Says:

    As someone in an intercultural relationship, I love this. It is so true.

    Socks – he rolls and balls, I usually toss them straight in the drawer (sometimes attempting the one fold). Neither of us makes the bed or closes drawers/cupboards. But he never stacks dirty dishes nicely. GARRRRRGH

  4. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    We get drunke and make fun of dumshittes! TOGETHER!

  5. Molly On Money Says:

    That is a great metaphor!
    Folding laundry is a family event in our house too. My youngest daughter folds laundry using the ‘Lean’ approach and has taken out most of the steps (for the sake of efficiency). She lays her cloths flat and stuffs them in her draws. No folding or unfolding necessary! Because she has a point I can’t find a reason to correct her.

  6. Kevin@InvestItWisely Says:

    My and my girlfriend have a different approach. My socks end up long and skinny, hers end up looking like little balls. I’m not sure how that happens… but I might actually be stretching out one of the socks come to think of it. Since I use the building’s machines in the basement, I manage to lose socks somehow… I don’t get it. I don’t see them in the washer or dryer, yet sometimes I still come up one sock short. ;)

  7. Link love (Powered by late nights and jungle pad thai) « Musings of an Abstract Aucklander Says:

    […] Simple, but beautiful: Nicole and Maggie on cultural differences and household chores. […]

  8. Andrew@101 Centavos Says:

    Interesting… Mrs. 101 used to be a sock-wadder-upper, and now she’s a folder. For me, I’ve adopted her very efficient way of folding t-shirts. And so on throughout the household, kitchen, garden, etc. After sixteen years, the morphing process is well under way.


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