There is nothing metaphorical about the title. It quite literally is what it says – pick up your socks! My house is littered with socks strewn about all over the place. Under the dining table, by the bedside, in various different pairs of shoes worn in one day – from uniform socks in school shoes, smelly football socks in a dirty pair of studs, in work shoes switched for walking shoes socks outside the shoe cupboard, and the most frustrating of them all – BESIDE the laundry basket! No not inside because that would mean lifting the lid to put them inwhich would imply an effort to put them where they belong.
Picking up after kids is what we mothers do. Naturally there is a time when they are very young and it is absolutely essential. But very quickly there comes a time when it just becomes easier (faster, cleaner, more efficient) to do it yourself than keep chasing after them to do it. But is it really for the best?
What does my picking up their socks really tell my kids? When it is an occasional occurrence on exceptionally crazy rushed days it’s okay. It’s maternal. It’s looking after! But when it’s a daily occurrence even when they are grown enough to know what to do with dirty socks, picking up after them really has no rationale. And in doing so, I’m doing my kids a disservice. They find uniform laid out for school and sports kits laid out for practice. Packing done for travels and unpacking on return. It’s no wonder that they go from being kids cared for, to adults who don’t know how to care for themselves!
At 10 and 13, I don’t expect them to do their laundry. Soon, but not quite yet. But to expect that dirty socks will be inside the laundry basket is not at all a big ask. After all when you need a fresh pair, you know which drawer to open to find them. They are even labelled in my house with easy to use iron-on labels so that they are not mixed up between the 3 male members of my house
How they magically get in the drawer, neatly paired up tight little balls, (beautifully arranged colour wise if you have slight OCD like me) is in fact no magic at all. You remove them, preferably in your own room, walk to the laundry basket, open the lid and toss them in! That is it! Voila! they appear a day later washed and back in the drawer.
To find a clean pair every time you pull the drawer open is a lesson in expectation. If you expect a specific pair to be there for school or for football, or for a run or for those cool Vans, or for work – do your bit.
There’s a lesson there I want my boys to learn – To have someone dependable in your life, who looks out for you, who has your back every time, you need to be the same. You need to make the effort to be a person who gives as much as he receives. And starting with socks is a good place to start. Literally today and metaphorically tomorrow. To expect loving care you have to extend the same in kind everytime.
Never take for granted that love and caring will be unconditional for ever. It demands in return equal measure of effort, recognition and appreciation. When you achieve that balance of taking & giving, you will find it is boundless. When you strive to be the kind of person who is appreciative of all that is done for you, you will automatically find yourself doing small things that make loving you easy.
Simply put if you want clean socks, make sure you put your dirty ones in the laundry. It is really as simple as that. Else you better learn to do your own laundry very quickly!!