New ways I am failing at parenting and being an expat

I will never get all of my laundry done. Never, ever, never ever ever. I have not yet adapted to doing laundry in the UK. Allow me to contrast the ways that laundry is done in the US vs the UK.

Let’s assume that you have two loads of laundry to do. I’ll stipulate that a washer-full is different in the US (bigger obviously) but let’s just set that aside.


9 am: put laundry in washer

9:45: Put laundry in dryer, wash a second load

10:30: take laundry from dryer, start second load drying, fold and put away clean dry clothes

11:15: fold and put away second load



9am: put laundry in Euro-washer-dryer thingy

3pm: take hot wet laundry from the dryer and hang on the line. Put second load in the Euro-washer

9 am the next day: Observe that your laundry on the line has been lightly sprinkled on. It does not yet have slugs or spiders so decide to let it dry off a bit.

Noon: It rains. Your wet laundry is still on the line. Your second load is still wet in the Euro-washer-dryer.

4 pm: pray for better weather

9 am the next day. you decide that the clothes outside are ‘dry enough’ and bring them in. Lay them on the radiators to finish drying. Hang out second load.

10 am: it starts to sprinkle. The cats have lounged all over your clean laundry. The kids have knocked it to the floor. Pick up hairy, linty laundry and just fold the fucking shit.

5 pm: it sprinkles a little more.

9 am the next day. Your second laundry is mostly dry. Only has a few slugs. Bring in, hang on the banisters.

9 am the next day: fold crumpled fucking laundry and put it away.


So the score is USA-3.5 hours, UK-5 days. USA-clean, dry, wrinkle-free clothes. UK-slightly damp, fuzzy wrinkled clothes.

What would your laundry situation be of you could only do two Euro-loads of laundry a week?

It is actually worse than this. The piles are bigger and I have not drawn the slugs.

OMFG YOU GUYS, I will never, ever get it all done. How is everyone else dealing with this?? Why can’t I figure it out? Seriously, if anyone knows please tell me!  I have piles and piles of laundry. Some of it I might just throw out. Euro-washers do not remove stains anyway so screw it. Just keeping my kids in clean clothes is a miracle. All of my clothes that are not ‘drying’ on the line are dirty. All of them. I put on a clean shirt today for the first time in 4 days. ‘Clean’ has a new meaning to me. If one of my shirts does not have gravy on it, it is now ‘clean’. I cannot go on like this. (help me)

I have said before that my kids swear like fucking champions. I have no idea where they get this from. But Little Stormbringer surpassed herself today. The White Rose was doing a truly cringe-worthy puppet show. The kind that is great if you are two, but was extremely sub-par for her. It had a dance routine and involved me watching a pipe-cleaner tell knock-knock-jokes. I love this stuff but apparently it makes older sister’s ears bleed.

I watched as my oldest started to twitch. A bead of sweat appeared on her temple. Then she saw my face and started to giggle. I giggled. Even The White Rose started to giggle at her foolishness. Then Little Stormbringer said “OMG fuck-the-hell-off with that shit!”

Then we all collapsed with laughter. I told you that we aren’t right. I was all ‘wow. that was a mouthful of swearing even for me! Tone it down a bit child! Jesus Christ!’

I set such a good example. But then later in the day one of her projects wasn’t going as planned and she said ” Awww STICKS!”

Are you kidding me? Of course we laughed about that too. I told you that I was failing at parenting!

You want to hear something worse? My kids are so gross. So very gross. This they do NOT get from me. One comes down and says that the other is reading a book on the toilet. I can only assume that the door is open. Yuck. Manboy and I eyeballed each other. “we did NOT need to know that, thanks.”

Then the other comes down, wearing only underpants, stretches, smiles and says “ahhhh…that let a lot of junk out of the trunk!”

OMFG SO GROSS. Are you kidding me? This is a little girl. Strutting in my living room in pants and talking about her bowel movement. No one that she has ever met reads on the toilet or brags about the product. Our living room explodes with cries of ‘ NO! Gross! No way! Ewwwww. Jesus! Please stop! Yuck!’ And them hysterical laughter at the absurdity of the whole thing. I cannot be the only one whose kids are disgusting. Right? Right?

How is your laundry today? Have your kids ever done anything that gross? Tell me all about it!


33 thoughts on “New ways I am failing at parenting and being an expat

  1. Darling, all kids are gross. Not to worry. They’ll grow up one day and get prim and proper, particularly in the UK.

    As to the laundry. Here’s an idea to slow it up a bit. Just turn the underwear bits inside out for the 2nd day of wear. You can then wear it all backwards for one more day, and then, you guessed it, do the backwards inside out! This way you can get four days wear out of knickers, undershirts, socks (well the socks may not look so great backwards, but you get my drift!)

    Glad I could help!

  2. Oh thank the Gods! I had *hoped* that it was not just my kids!!
    Thank you so very much for the laundry tips. Now, all I need is for gravy stains to become fashionable!

  3. The laundry thing drives me crazy too. And what about DUVETS? You have no choice but to take them to a laundromat (or put them in the bath and let them drip dry for DAYS) because they won’t even fit in the washers/dryers. With 4 kids, we have clothes everywhere, piled up here, draped over that door and this banister. And the kicker? NO CLOSETS and not even a “drying cupboard” in this house to put them away in. Can you tell I’m bitter?

    • DUVETS! Noooooo….and i can not even begin to describe how much i hate dealing with those fuckers!
      Yes! draped over doors! I thought that I was the only one who did that!
      They call it an ‘air-ing cupboard’ here. gah. Trust me, it does not ‘dry’ or ‘air’ anything.
      I so hear you. Thank you so much for your commiserations.
      Just knowing that someone feels my pain helps so much!

  4. I think those giant US washing machines and dryers are ace and appreciate that shitty little British ones must be a major pain in the arse. Spare a thought for us on the continent, where the washing machine will only take cold water and takes approximately 3 hours to complete a wash cycle. Still at least in Spain I get the stuff dry.

    Oh, and haven’t you worked out that the best way to get rid of stains is to let the rain pound them out of the clothes… 😉

    • Cold water? only? for reals? OMG.
      oh, my stupid Euro-machine takes 5 hours to make my clothes wet and damp. Not clean and dry….Wet and Damp.
      Is it really worse in Europe proper? WORSE?
      OK, i will pray for you.

  5. This sounds like the worst possible kind of torture. I have a whole new appreciation for my giant American washer and dryer. I shall say a prayer to the laundry gods on your behalf. And, no, it’s not just your kids, I struggle just to keep poop discussions away from the dinner table.

  6. Pingback: Best of the UK Parent Blogs: Ten at Ten (70) | Tots 100

    • Thank you. I am grateful for anything that will help me out of this hell-hole of laundry. I can totally handle the slugs, no worries!

  7. OMG, this is hilarious.
    1. I hear you about the laundry trouble. Swiss washing machines are excellent, but if you rent an apartment in Switzerland chances are you will only because to wash once a week, because apartment buildings have a shared laundry room and shared machines. GAH!! Is it better to have a crappy washer-dryer thingie or to have to cram all your laundry into one day a week? what if you are not home that day?
    2. the swearing is kind of hilarious. I have been told before by my husband to tone it down, but aside from Stella’s “where is my fucking bag?” a couple of months ago, the girls only seem to be picking up German swearwords. Which means I am NOT the culprit, dear Swiss husband *cue smug facial expression here*
    3. All kids are gross. And they never stop. Bad enough I have to do their laundry, but seriously.

    BTW, found your blog through the Tots100, and so glad I did! Hi from another expat mom 🙂

  8. I have a permanent layer of laundry at the bottom of the basket that will NEVER EVER make it as far as the washing machine. There are probably whole new life-forms living down there….

    • I am so sorry! It sucks doesn’t it! I have whole trash bags of laundry that will never see the light of day! I am starting to catch up a little though…unless it rains again in the next half hour…

  9. I owe you two thank yous. A. Thank you for coming over to my bitchy ranty blog post and confiding in me that your kids are also assholes. and 2. Thank you for making me laugh until I cried when I stalked you over here. While it is true that I have been on the edge of a teary meltdown for two days now, it has not been from laughing too much.

    If it makes you feel better, I have LOADS of laundry backed up and it looks like Toys R Us threw up all of its rejected toys in my house. Good times. Its not making me crazy at all. Nope.

    • I am so glad that I could brighten your day a bit! I’m not crazy either. Nope. My kids are totally not making me come unglued. not at all….

  10. Oh! And before I forget- For the slugs:
    1. Open beer.
    2. Drink liberally.
    3. Reserve the nasty warm backwash in the bottom of the can/bottle.
    4. Pour reserved beer/spit into a shallow wide jar buried in the soil up to its neck. Slugs will crawl in and drown. Take the jar lid and prop it up with a small stick so rain won’t dilute the beer. Leave space for slugs to enter the trap.
    5. Practice evil laugh.

    I also read to leave a damp rolled-up newspaper in your garden. The slugs will crawl in during the day and you simply pick up the paper and throw it away.

  11. If it is taking that long to wash & dry it just ain’t working.Sorry to be boring but have you:
    Checked to see if there is a filter that needs cleaning?
    Checked to see if it is an ultra-cheap, low quality one (especially if left behind by a seller or suplied by a landlord)?

  12. NO! this is not boring! I was honestly asking for help! OK, just WHERE Are these filter things on UK machines?? I used to empty mine every time I did a load in the US. In the UK i think you need to have a screwdriver. I am REAL confused! I would empty its wee filter every day if i had any clue where to look!
    OK, I have had 3 washer/dryer contraptions here. One, as you mention, was a crappy landlord one. When that broke we got a new out of the box one. Now I have a machine that is only a few years old. I have never noticed much a difference. Part of the problem is that i set it to DRY for like 90 min. I say DRY but you know it just comes out hot and wet.
    I have ALWAYS thought that the part of the problem is these ‘never empty’ filters. Manboy is great but NOT mechanical! Help me! Write back! All my enduring love, Starle

  13. I hear you. I’ve told my husband that the machine doesn’t get stains out and have even attacked my machine in rage a few times lately. And I cloth nappy. Cry for me.

  14. I have no help for you with your laundry problem sadly.. I suck.. I know. I will give you an amusing little anecdote about a slug. Last night I was sitting on the steps outside smoking a cigarette with my dog Lopez who is a 6 lb long hair chihuahua. And was watching a gigantic slug on the sidewalk and was amazed at how huge it was and how I could see its antenna things from all the way at the top of the stairs.. My amazement and subsequent hilarity at the next sequence of events could be attributed to my inebriation at the time.. anywho.. three teenage boys were sitting across the way on a bench and one wanders over trying to bum a cigarette, when Lopez barks like a demon dog possessed, per his usual, the boy freak out and asks if he bites (he’s 6 lbs what a terror!) and I reply “yeah, … a little bit.” So the boy, slinks off, And during Lopez’s terrorizing and victorious battle he had startled and disrupted the slug and I guess moved it with his tiny leg and the slug was flailing around, which I found hilarious, along with the boy’s fear of my chihuahua, I was outside, alone now, with my dog giggling like a demented person…. aaah..yeah..That’s my life.

    • LOL! and you are in VA right? The slugs are HUGE HUGE here too. I mean, there might not be bears…but the slugs!
      OMG I can totally picture that! I do silly stuff like a crazy person too!

      • Aren’t they?! They’re Grossly overly huge! We do have bears. oh yeeeauh. Black bears.

  15. Hello you! This made me laugh. US washers open from the top. Easy, you bundle up the laundry and chuck it in. EU washers open pathetically from the front, not so easy to load. You have to chuck it all on the floor and then load it in. Ok if your floor is not covered in cat biscuits which mine invariably is. My kitties are not good at eating anything actually in their bowls but prefer a more random approach in scattering them across the kitchen and grazing on them.
    So, I often wash cat biscuits. They come out kind of spongy in texture, I should let them dry and then fed them back to the cats but I don’t.
    Filters on the washers are usually at the back or near the back on the side. This is especially useful when you have a fitted kitchen and can’t get the stupid machine out of its little hidey hole anyway.
    Give me my old US style washer anytime. Ugly as sin but practical, built like a tardis and most importantly, worked. I wasn’t over there long but a US washer is on my list of MUST IMPORT things right up there with that slurpee machine.
    I am currently in London. If I just had a slurpee machine, i’d be so rich right now.

    • Hi you!
      Yeah, I need someone to show me where IN THE FUCK the stupid filter is. If I have to empty it, shouldn’t it be somewhere where I can get to it?? THIS IS SO WRONG. I have no words.
      I once washed a whole bird in my washer in the US. The feathers got caught in the lint trap, the bones in the filter and the rest? GONE. Brilliant.
      “built like a Tardis” I am so going to steal that phrase!
      Lottery winnings:
      1) US fridge freezer
      2) US washer dryer
      3) my own Nuke power plant to fuel them….

      • I recently washed a half eaten mouse in error. I have three cats. One kills and eats. One kills and doesn’t eat. One doesn’t kill but plays with the things the other one kills and doesn’t eat. My house is always full of laundry. I realise we have more washing than most as my children and not normal children.
        Laundry lot 1: School uniform. Boring but essential although I swear it would be cheaper to buy new white tops rather than wash them over and over to get out random unknown dirt.
        Laundry lot 2: Casual clothes. God help us we have too many of these. WAY too many. I don’t know how or why but they multiply and I never do get round to going through them and clearing out all the too small ones which should technically be a whole new catagory..
        Laundry lot 3: The ‘for future use’ items bought as bargains that are for when the kids get bigger / I get smaller (never gonna happen). These invariably get mingled in with the ‘casual’ laundry, tried on, thrown in with the dirty lot and washed over and over again.
        Laundry lot 4: The larp kit. You know all about this one. Fecking nightmare to get ever sorted into one place. After consuming the shed, garage and half the house, I have given in to not ever getting on top of it all. Even the baby has his own kit. Truly, it drives me mad.
        Laundry lot 5: Smart clothing. Worn so rarely it is the BEST of all the laundry as it never gets to be in the wash as it is never worn. I love this type of laundry.

        Add to this the sock mountain. I recently did a count. Over 50 odd socks. I went mad and threw them all out. I mean, how do you get to 50 odd socks? Now i’ve done that I will no doubt find the other 50. I hate socks. Hate them.

        Wow that was a rant. Can you tell it is laundry day? I recently won a 10kg load washer in a competition. It is amazing by UK standards but still pathetic by US ones. My issue is that I can wash loads but the dryer takes half that amount so on rainy days, it is pretty futile.

        I stayed up at a friend’s place in London last week. He had a laundry man. I am clearly doing something wrong in life. Why do I not have a laundry man? Why is my laundry not collected by a man with a shiny little van, washed, ironed and given back to me ironed and folded like they do in GAP stores (I only go in there to unfold things and walk out). Why are we all not given a laundry man? FREE. Is it not a human right? Sigh. xx

  16. OMG. I laughed so hard at this. I am an American living in Dublin and I feel your pain. I have become so crazy that if I see a glint a sunlight when I wake up, I dash downstairs with a load in excitement that I might actually get to wash and dry a load in ONE day. This being Ireland though, likely by the time the cycle has finished it is raining. I tried the drier “function” 2x. After 2 hours, the clothes came out still damp and reeking of must or mildew, thereby requiring me to wash them again. Awesome! By the way, I almost had a heart attack one day when I discovered a slug in my shower. UPSTAIRS. It was a thick, enormous speckled one on the wall just near my shampoo. Without my contacts, it looked like a dark shadow. I had to get close to identify and then it took me a few weeks to recover. I am now a demented slug killer. I don’t care. I hit them fuckers with salt.
    Ok, this post also reminds me I need to pick up our duvet from the laundromat (life with toddler twins and a cat).

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