Factors that determine whether something needs to be washed:

• It’s been worn and is legitimately dirty
• It’s been worn indoors for a brief period of time and is perfectly clean
• It was tried on and discarded for something else
• It was accidentally pulled out of the drawer
• It exists

Dirty laundry presentation options:

• Socks: scrunched into a ball
• Pants: One leg pulled partially inside out, rolled up, and wadded into a lump
• Underwear: hidden behind other things, skid mark side out for surprise grossout factor
• Shirts: inside out, halfway unbuttoned

Strategies for marking something as dirty:

• Draped over the edge of the open hamper
• Piled on top of the closed hamper
• Dumped behind the hamper
• Scattered randomly on the floor
• Shoved back in with the clean clothes (ONLY if thoroughly stained and repulsive)

Things that actually get placed carefully inside the hamper:

• Coats
• Toys
• Candy wrappers
• Game pieces, Pokémon cards, mysterious metal doodads, rocks, a pillow, old Halloween costumes, a paper towel someone used to kill a spider, plastic bags

Temperature of the metal buttons and rivets on their jeans when they come out of the dryer:

• One million billion trillion hojillion finger-searing degrees, ALWAYS, what the hell

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There was a time when I came here to write about whatever parenting hurdle I was flailing on and oh, there was such great relief in hearing from other people who knew exactly what I was talking about. I found so much comfort from sharing those stories, and so much great advice. Maybe it sounds strange to say that I became a better parent through the process of writing on the Internet, but I believe it to be true. So many anxieties soothed, so much experience and wisdom to draw from.

I don’t think there can be any one-size-fits-all approach to sharing our lives in any sort of public way, but I know for me I can’t write about parenting the way I used to. It’s more complicated, my perspectives and feelings are intertwined with people who are no longer babies and are building stories of their own.

I miss it, though. I miss that feeling of connection, and of seeing different points of view. I’m so grateful I had this outlet when my children were little, but you know, I never thought ahead to how things would change. It’s different in person, too: I don’t have that instant in-common feeling any more. Same-age kids aren’t same-experience any more, I suppose.

I’d love to hear from any of you who are parents with older kids. Do you share your life the way you used to? Is it harder or easier to connect with other parents now?

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