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Offline Matthew

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Laundry, Big Families, and Frugality
« on: April 27, 2011, 02:01:45 PM »
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  • It seems that many big families (for purposes of this post, we'll define it as having 4 or more children, spaced no more than 2 years apart) complain about how difficult it is to keep up with the laundry.

    We have 4 kids 5 and under, and I notice we're doing a lot more laundry than we did 2 or 3 years ago.

    HOWEVER...

    I've heard the expression "4 loads by 4 PM" and such -- and she's talking about every day! One blogger with 8 or 9 kids said she does SIX loads of laundry every day.

    The point I had for this post? That seems like a bit much!

    I know that it probably qualifies for one of those "I'm a bad parent" (in the eyes of the modern world) things, along with letting your kid rid a bike without a helmet, letting them play outside without sunscreen, etc. but we don't give our kids a bath more than once a week usually. And each child has his/her own towel that is good for at least 4 baths. Do the math.

    And we don't change our kids' clothes until they get dirty. Not filthy, but SOMETHING has to fall, spill, or drool onto them. Sometimes if the kids are not too messy at dinnertime (depends on what we're serving that week) we'll find that they're wearing the same clothes we put on them after their last bath day. We simply toss all their clothes in the hamper on bath day, unless we put them on them THAT DAY or so.

    I mean, they're kids! They don't have B.O. yet.

    And the adults are pretty conservative on laundry as well. We re-use bath towels 4 or more times. All you're doing is drying off a clean body, right?

    We don't take daily showers. We don't even necessarily take showers EVERY OTHER day. It depends on what season it is, and how much sweating we've done. When I work outside, I always take a shower (pretty much have to). During the winter, twice a week is *plenty*, otherwise our skin gets dried out.

    Ladies, please note: when you don't wash your hair too much, it stays much more healthy (softer, less dried out, less split ends, etc.). I guess God made our scalps produce oil for a reason!

    Also -- science has learned that Vitamin D (vital for your immune system, preventing cancer, etc.) is only absorbed A) by direct sunlight, not sunlight that has passed through glass and B) TWO days after exposure to the sun. In other words, you have to go out in the sun, and then wait 2 days for most of it to be absorbed into your body. If you take a shower before then, it's GONE. No Vitamin D for you. Hope you have Vitamin D supplements. So the American habit of the "daily shower" is a bad one from a health standpoint.

    We certainly don't toss our clothes in the hamper every night. We wear things until they are "worn" -- either they get dirty, smelly, or 3 to 4 days, whichever comes first.

    When the kids play outside in the water and get soaking wet, we take the clothes off them and hang them somewhere to dry.

    Hand towels last at least 4 days as well, and I'm talking about the high-traffic areas (kids' bathroom, kitchen).

    Moral of the story: we might have 5 loads a WEEK, and that's with a baby that spits up on burp cloths, soaks through her diaper at night onto the comforter she's laying on, spits up onto her onesie, etc. The baby is probably 2/5 of our laundry.

    Also -- we hang dry ALL our clothes. We don't own a clothes dryer. It's good exercise, the clothes last longer, and last month's electric bill for our family of 6 (all of whom are home 24/7) was only $42! (We don't have a gas bill either -- our house is all-electric). And of that $42, $15 of it was the monthly "customer charge" which can't be avoided.

    There's a hint for you on how it's possible to live on one income!

    (As an aside -- To state a simple fact, I am an expert on electricity conservation. It's my specialty. I've read everything I can on the subject. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a blowhard, and I don't say something unless it's absolutely true. Humility is about the truth, not about denying one's talents. All good things come from God)

    I really wonder what these "4 loads a day" families are doing wrong.

    Matthew
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    Offline Trinity

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    « Reply #1 on: April 27, 2011, 02:24:12 PM »
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  • I thought I  was the only dinosaur left, who believed in once a week baths.  My children and grandchildren shower morning and evening, to my  astonishment.  Granted I grew up in the old days when one carried water from the well to the house (about a block), but even still....

    Bye the by...does each child get clean water, or is this  a communal thing?
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    Offline Matthew

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    « Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011, 02:49:30 PM »
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  • Quote from: Trinity
    I thought I  was the only dinosaur left, who believed in once a week baths.  My children and grandchildren shower morning and evening, to my  astonishment.  Granted I grew up in the old days when one carried water from the well to the house (about a block), but even still....

    Bye the by...does each child get clean water, or is this  a communal thing?


    Morning and evening?!  That is effeminacy right there. Excessively "soft" living.

    The oldest (boy, 5) gets his own bath. The girls (3.5 and 2) share one, and the baby (3 months) still fits in a baby bathtub.
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    Offline ora pro me

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    « Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 04:20:24 PM »
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  • Matthew,
    Enjoy your water and electricity conservation now while your kids are young.  Maybe you could put the $ that you are saving in an account to pay for the showers that they'll be taking when they get to their teen years.  Oh, and their courting years!

     :roll-laugh1:

    Offline Matthew

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    « Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 05:13:49 PM »
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  • Quote from: ora pro me
    Matthew,
    Enjoy your water and electricity conservation now while your kids are young.  Maybe you could put the $ that you are saving in an account to pay for the showers that they'll be taking when they get to their teen years.  Oh, and their courting years!

     :roll-laugh1:


    Well, I don't know if it will be an issue by then. The whole "big top" might have long since crashed by my kids' teen years -- by then, everyone will either be living a "survival" lifestyle, or dead.

    What I'm doing is preparing them well for the world they'll be living in. A world of drawing water from the river (or running water that costs 5000 times what it costs today, due to fresh water shortages) is NOT a world where daily showers are common or expected!

    I'm doing them a service by preparing them for a world of frugality and scarcity.
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    Offline s2srea

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    « Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 06:33:37 PM »
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  • Quote from: Matthew
    Well, I don't know if it will be an issue by then. The whole "big top" might have long since crashed by my kids' teen years -- by then, everyone will either be living a "survival" lifestyle, or dead.

    What I'm doing is preparing them well for the world they'll be living in. A world of drawing water from the river (or running water that costs 5000 times what it costs today, due to fresh water shortages) is NOT a world where daily showers are common or expected!

    I'm doing them a service by preparing them for a world of frugality and scarcity.


    I am in total disagreement here sorry Matt. I don't think the reason you don't require your kids to bathe every day is because of this, but because of the cost involved in showering right? (Not being rhetorical, and answer would help clarify your point for me)

    While you may think you're doing them a service for preparing them for a world which you can only imagine right now, is not really a service. 'Cleanliness is for Godliness' right? I make sure my children bathe at least once a day- sometimes more, and they're (she  more specifically) isn't as old as your older ones- whom I would imagine cand find a LOT more things to get dirty with huh? lol .

    The point is is that a shower doesn't need to take more than 2 minutes- EVER, but in my opinion, it should be taken at least once a day for hygiene's  sake. To go to a bed when you're dirty a few nights in a row is very unclean, and can cause all sorts of side effects in the form of getting sick more often (to an extent of course). Plus- think of all the things you do as a kid (think of all the things you did) that gets them dirty. They take that dirt with them to their beds... No I don't believe that's right. When it comes to showers, they should be taken at the end of the day, but instruction in water management is imperative. 2 minutes- if you're not done, you're coming out soapy and you wont do that mistake again. But you're not going to bed dirty...

    You can call that old school, but my grandfather had a saying: "Just because we're poor, doesn't mean we're dirty" So as many holes in my mothers' and her sister and brothers clothing as there was growing up in Mexico, they were still clean clothes.


    Offline s2srea

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    « Reply #6 on: April 28, 2011, 06:44:07 PM »
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  • Quote

    I mean, they're kids! They don't have B.O. yet.


    I think there are things worse than BO...

    Quote
    Enjoy your water and electricity conservation now while your kids are young. Maybe you could put the $ that you are saving in an account to pay for the showers that they'll be taking when they get to their teen years. Oh, and their courting years!


    I have a friend who gives his children allowances (I'm not saying I'm for or against them) of a modest $5 a week and every time he walks into room with a light they've left on, he takes $x.xx from their allowance untill its all gone. He said they've learned QUICK on turning lights off in the house. I think thats a pretty good way to get it in their heads!

    Quote
    Morning and evening?!  That is effeminacy right there. Excessively "soft" living.


    Sorry, its not effeminacy- its cleanliness. My father is the most masculine man in the world and I don't think I've ever seen him a day without a shower in the am and pm. You should meet him- it'd change your view for sure. And its not soft living- if you have the means you have the means. If you don't, do what you can. He doesn't go powder his face after, he takes a super quick 2 minute shower in the morning, to start the day fresh, and a quick one when he comes home after work, to end his day and go to bed clean. Again, not soft, just clean.

    Quote

    I'm doing them a service by preparing them for a world of frugality and scarcity.


    Again, I believe you're justifying your actions here in the wrong way. Its not wrong to prepare your children for the future that we know will come. But I wouldn't use this as the excuse as to why my children don't shower every day. Frugality and scarcity are separate from being clean. If a future world prevents us from washing every day, thats a different subject. While/if we have the means, we should teach our children to be clean.

    You can also install water-saving shower heads. Here in California, the gas company will actually do this for you (to my surprise and after ripping me off every month!)





    Offline TKGS

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    « Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011, 07:21:15 PM »
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  • We have 5 children ranging from age 10 to 18 (the oldest has just graduated from our homeschool and she is preparing to enter the convent in August) and we generally do a load of laundry each day except on Monday when we have to do extra laundry since we don't do laundry on Sunday.

    I have no idea why families would have to do 4 loads a day unless they have the older model small capacity washers.


    Offline Matthew

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    « Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011, 10:56:52 AM »
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  • Well, S2srea, I guess I have to disagree with you as well.

    I am well acquainted with the comfortable, clean feeling you get after you shower.  Just like the comfort you feel when you wear soft, comfortable cotton clothing (T shirt and shorts). Also similar to how you feel after a nice, satisfying meal. Might as well toss in a glass of alcohol in there, too! That also makes you feel good and relaxed. And let's not forget how good it feels to be in a nice, cool, dry 75 degree house when it's 98 and humid outside.

    All of the above describe a life the OPPOSITE of a life of mortification and penance. Experience those "simple, licit pleasures" too much, and you become "soft". Americans, as a whole, are very "soft". With the exception of the satisfying meal and the alcohol, FEW PEOPLE experienced the pleasures I listed 150 years ago. Showering was more rare when you had to heat & pour a bucket of water in an Old West-style shower.

    And let's be objective -- the clothing most of us wear on a daily basis is softer and more comfortable than what King Louis XIV, Nero or Herod could have got his hands on centuries ago. And who got to change their clothes every day? Probably not very many.

    After The Fall, one's body is at war with one's soul. You can only favor one or the other -- you can't serve both (but you can try!) I like the term "Brother Ass" for one's body -- that's what a saint called it. It's a good analogy -- your body must be fed, watered, etc. but what man spends all day grooming his donkey, putting soft clothes on it, being concerned with its utmost comfort? Who installs A/C in his barn? No, as long as the donkey will be OK, you leave it be.

    And I'll have you know that A) my kids aren't dirty, not by any stretch, B) they don't stink, C) we've not had any problems with above-average bouts of illness (or lice, for that matter). If anything, my kids are healthier. They hardly ever get sick.

    And "cleanliness is next to godliness" is a protestant idea. It has no basis in Catholicism. About the closest you could get would be "prudently taking care of one's health" but like I said, science has proven that it's HEALTHIER to take less frequent showers, now that we know how Vitamin D is produced and absorbed -- and the important role Vitamin D plays in preventing illness and cancer.

    Moderation in all things.

    BTW, the SSPX handbook, handed out to seminarians, states that "A shower once a week is usually plenty, unless one has perspired much."
    Yes, the American seminarians had a good laugh with that one (laughing at the obvious French influence) but the handbook DOES have a point. Why didn't the handbook read: "Showering twice a day is optimal -- Cleanliness is next to godliness, boys!"

    You know, I really hate that phrase, and I'm a very clean (and perfectionist) person. So I'm being *VERY* objective here.

    That phrase leads you to believe that a dirty bum on the street is bound for hell. After all, he's filthy and dirty; he smells. You couldn't imagine anyone wanting to embrace him, much less God, right?

    My point: That phrase comes from Calvinism. And I hate Calvinism, being opposed as it is to the truth.

    I'm not saying you're Calvinist, but I am saying you're American, and Calvinism is in the very air we breathe here in America.
    You can't avoid not absorbing SOME of it, when it's in your milieu.

    P.S. Although I still hold that it's part of the textbook definition of effeminacy to pursue comfort, a more accurate term would be "fastidious".
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    Offline Raoul76

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    « Reply #9 on: April 29, 2011, 11:52:29 AM »
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  • Matthew, what you're saying sounds a bit Puritan to me, that part where you criticize having a drink as being "soft."  Might as well stop eating entirely, since after a burger you'll feel content, satiated and therefore wuss-like.

    Moderation in all things, sure, but each person has to decide what that is for himself in accordance with the will of God.  I go out to nice dinnerrs sometimes with Catholic friends, because it would be pompous not to, bit on my own I rarely if ever go to fancy places.  That is enough to keep me detached in my heart, along with other penances.

    As for not showering, let me just say this -- Alex must have lots of Vitamin D!  Private jests aside, I confess I take a long shower everyday.  I want to progress to a quicker shower.  As for my clothes, I wear nice-ish dry-cleaned shirts when I go out, then when I get back, I hang them up and re-use them the next time I go out.  I get about four excursions out of each shirt, depending on how funky they get.  So I look presentable without spending an exorbitant amount.  At home, I wear the wrinkly ones in the dry-cleaning heap.  The next step is to learn to iron.  

    I'd say my life is too soft at the moment, in some ways, though in others it is intense.  Rushing into more asceticism and piling it on is often a trap of pride.  It can eventually lead to an inverse reaction -- more sloth.  Humility is understanding your limitations.
    As I was a new convert when posting here, my posts are often full of error, even unwitting heresy and rash judgment, all of which I renounce, and all my writings are best avoided -- MDLS

    Offline Matthew

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    « Reply #10 on: April 29, 2011, 11:57:13 AM »
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  • I should also point out that America has many issues with over-killing germs. Livestock are routinely fed antibiotics, and everyone uses anti-bacterial soap.

    The result?

    Now we have superbugs that NO ANTIBIOTIC MAN POSSESSES will kill. So Nature is having the last laugh. Wait until just one of those superbugs gets widespread -- nothing we have will be able to stop it.

    Reality always comes back to bite you.

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    Offline MaterDominici

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    « Reply #11 on: April 29, 2011, 12:21:35 PM »
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  • Quote from: s2srea
    I don't think the reason you don't require your kids to bathe every day is because of this, but because of the cost involved in showering right? (Not being rhetorical, and answer would help clarify your point for me)


    The only real cost involved in showering every day here is the indirect cost of the laundry it creates. Even if my kids wanted to shower twice a day and put their not-so-dirty clothes back on, I still wouldn't let them because it's not good for them.
    "If I could only make the faithful sing the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei ... that would be to me the finest triumph sacred music could have, for it is in really taking part in the liturgy that the faithful will preserve their devotion. I would take the Tantum ...

    Offline Matthew

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    « Reply #12 on: April 29, 2011, 12:41:30 PM »
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  • Quote from: Raoul76
    Matthew, what you're saying sounds a bit Puritan to me, that part where you criticize having a drink as being "soft."  Might as well stop eating entirely, since after a burger you'll feel content, satiated and therefore wuss-like.

    Moderation in all things, sure, but each person has to decide what that is for himself in accordance with the will of God.  I go out to nice dinnerrs sometimes with Catholic friends, because it would be pompous not to, bit on my own I rarely if ever go to fancy places.  That is enough to keep me detached in my heart, along with other penances.

    As for not showering, let me just say this -- Alex must have lots of Vitamin D!  Private jests aside, I confess I take a long shower everyday.  I want to progress to a quicker shower.  As for my clothes, I wear nice-ish dry-cleaned shirts when I go out, then when I get back, I hang them up and re-use them the next time I go out.  I get about four excursions out of each shirt, depending on how funky they get.  So I look presentable without spending an exorbitant amount.  At home, I wear the wrinkly ones in the dry-cleaning heap.  The next step is to learn to iron.  

    I'd say my life is too soft at the moment, in some ways, though in others it is intense.  Rushing into more asceticism and piling it on is often a trap of pride.  It can eventually lead to an inverse reaction -- more sloth.  Humility is understanding your limitations.


    No, it's NOT puritan.

    Alcohol and food are licit pleasures. My point is that those pleasures should already meet one's "pleasure quotient" for the day, because multiplying licit pleasures = living a soft life, one in which it will be more difficult to avoid sin (illicit pleasures).

    All the saints taught that LICIT pleasures must be curbed, in order to avoid consenting to illicit pleasures.

    The puritans would say that licit pleasures are not licit to begin with. That is not true.

    "Humility is understanding your limitations."

    And discussing the truth -- the Ideal -- is CathInfo. :)
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    Offline Elizabeth

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    « Reply #13 on: April 29, 2011, 01:06:41 PM »
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  • Quote from: TKGS
    We have 5 children ranging from age 10 to 18 (the oldest has just graduated from our homeschool and she is preparing to enter the convent in August) and we generally do a load of laundry each day except on Monday when we have to do extra laundry since we don't do laundry on Sunday.

    I have no idea why families would have to do 4 loads a day unless they have the older model small capacity washers.


    I think it is for separating colors.  We have pets, and they definitely cause more laundry and more cleaning of everything.  

    I am a firm believer in regular bathing, and I sincerely thank God for the luxury of running water.  I have never taken it for granted, not since I spent a month in Jamaica and another month on a tiny island with no running water.

    Also the tenant farmers at our old farm only had a pump and an outhouse when I was little.  It was so daggone hot I don't know how they survived growing tobacco, except it was very clean overall, and the water came from an Artesian well.

    I get being frugal and think it is prudent to teach our children to make sacrifices, though.


    Offline copticruiser

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    « Reply #14 on: April 29, 2011, 02:07:54 PM »
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  • Think I got ya all beat! Im off grid so generator goes on for 2hrs in the evening. Only 1 load is all I can manage with the 5 kids ages 2 to 10. We use a solar pump and cistern system so I use about 60gall (canadian) per day. I have found (we live on a farm) that plastic pants, overalls etc help ALOT with dirty clothes.

    When my temper flares though I do go into their rooms chuck it all in a bag and each child is allowed 3 farm outfits and 3 church outfits THE END. When they show me they can be responsible about their clothes I slowly allow them more variety.

    Its always a constant battle but hey it comes with the territory. Being simplified makes life easier for sure.

    The bathing issue well when they are dirty u have no choice. When we go out especiall to church they have no choice. One bath does em all. The oldest goes first followed by the youngest. A good rinse under the shower is all they need.


     

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