Recently, a couple of women made comments to me about having to pick up their husband's laundry. They were not complaining, just telling me what happened that week in their homes.
One wife made a comment that her husband had come to her that week and said he had no clean clothes. Due to a situation beyond her control, she had not been able to care for her family for a month. Her children had done a fantastic job of keeping the laundry caught up so she told her husband that she didn't know what the problem was. As she looked around, she soon realized. Her husband's clothes were lying where he had dropped them when he had undressed. She had been unable to pick them up and the clothes hadn't made it to the laundry room. Normally, she always picks up her husband's clothes each morning.
Her older daughter and my older daughter heard this conversation and her daughter confided in my daughter later that she had never been mad at her dad before. However, she really struggled that day to not be angry as she did load after load of her dad's clothes.
After hearing this story, another lady made the comment that her husband takes off his socks every night and drops them by his chair. Every morning she has to pick them up.
It was just a statement, not complaining, but it made me think. Should wives have to be mothers to their husbands? Now before you start saying "Oh, this woman is into women's lib and doesn't want to take care of her husband," nothing could be further from the truth. I am all about serving my husband and if he drops his socks or clothes or whatever, I will (happily and cheerfully, like I tell my children), pick them up. The point I am trying to make is that if we as mothers train our sons correctly, their wives should not have to pick up after them like a mother.
My precious mother-in-love, Janet Leiter, to whom I dedicate this article and whom I have thanked numerous times, taught my husband to take his clothes to the laundry room, do dishes, and clean, etc. This came in very handy a few times in our early married life when children were too small to be able to do these things. One time while he was out of work and I had to return to work, he took care of our three year-old daughter and six month old son and it was not unusual for me to come home to a clean house and supper ready.
Even now, if we are busy and running around trying to get ready, he will grab the broom and sweep the floor or wash up some dishes. Although your husband may not do this, I think you can imagine what a blessing it would be if he did. Here is your chance to make things better for you daughter-in-law.
I want to encourage you to train your sons to do some basic household jobs. It is not just women's work and will not make them "sissies." It is teaching them to serve their wife and family and it will pay off. They will serve you before they leave home.
I trained my oldest son to do dishes, clean the bathroom, vacuum, mop, and cook a few, simple meals. He has only been married five years and my daughter-in-law has already thanked me. She has had a few illnesses where my son had to care for her and the children and he was able for the task. Does he do everything to hers or my standard? Probably not (although she says he dusts better than she does)! The point is, he knows how to do these things and she does not have to pick up after him. She already has three little children she has to do that for. My grown son should not need a mother; he needs a wife.
This training starts young. When they are old enough to walk, they can carry their clothes to the laundry, they can help make their bed, dry dishes, or push a broom. My five year old son makes his bed by himself, gathers the garbage, and unloads the dishwasher, etc. This goes for girls, too. They need to know how to do some basic "men's" jobs: check the oil in the car, mow the yard, and help cut the season's wood, etc.
My mother (who did not have any sons) one time made a comment while visiting that I made Brad do too much "household work." He was about seven years at the time and I told her I was preparing my future daughter-in-law love me. She laughed and admitted that if she had had sons, she would have taught them the same as well. Her mother-in-law had taught my dad to do household chores and it always blessed her.
Therefore, mother, rise to the call. Make your future daughters-in-law love you. Train your sons to serve their future wives and families by training them to serve you and their family now.
Summertown, Tennessee, USA