Losing my rag over communal laundry

Hercules washing machine and tumble dryer in our communal laundry room

Had the embarrassment of being busted mid-temper tantrum in the communal laundry room by a neighbour early this morning. And it was *probably* (i.e. totally) her fault in the first place. But being English, I couldn’t bring myself to directly accuse her.

With Baby Number Three due in six weeks, my patience and inner calm has rapidly drained away, leaving me screeching, gesticulating and – in real extremes – sighing so heavily it ruffles paper.

This morning’s episode was the culmination of weeks of trying to sleep-train B to stop her sneaking into bed with us (what if she crawls on top of the newborn without us knowing??), and T’s wish to be a really big girl and be dry at night. Which basically means that I’m up between two to four times a night to shoo sobbing toddlers back to bed, or clambering up to the top bunk to strip and change the sheets.

Not. Cool.

The final straw was the utter inability to get a load of washing done. I should probably have dragged myself to our floor’s laundry room at 3am to do it then and there, but frankly, I couldn’t face it, and went back to bed. Instead, I tried at 6.15am, to find someone had already got a load on. I set the timer on my phone… and B needed help with the loo just as it rang. So two minutes later, I hurried down to the laundry room at 6.50am… only to find someone else had got in there moments before me, despite the urine-reeking mountain of laundry PLAINLY waiting to go in.

So I lost my sh*t and started jumping up and down, shaking my fists and shouting. To my embarrassment, a neighbour from a completely different floor then popped in to pick up her bottle of laundry liquid, and said “Oh, were you waiting? Sorry about that. It’ll be done in 37 minutes.” And closed the door on me.

Whereupon I promptly burst into tears and called my long-suffering younger brother at his desk in England to rant. And I know, I know it’s only laundry, and that this is not a major problem in reality. But overflowing laundry baskets trigger unreasonable anxiety, making me feel like the house is getting out of control.

So. Deep breaths, and turned it into a funny story to share with the other school moms at drop off. And maybe try to sweet talk the local Wash N’ Fold company to overlook urine-soaked deliveries for the next few months…

This week’s Highs & Lows:


  • Laundry
  • Laundry
  • Laundry
  • Sleep training
  • Bed wetting
  • Being kept standing for 30+ minutes at the hospital reception desk for a scheduled ultrasound for excessively swollen legs while they denied my health insurance, despite knowing it had already been pre-approved.
  • Laundry


  • Enjoying a rare and glamourous night out with C yesterday at the Babies Heart Fund charity gala
  • T kindly telling me my swollen legs and feet “look almost normal, Mumma, they’re almost like a human’s,” as I dressed for said charity gala
  • Finding a lovely babysitter who can help out a few afternoons a week once the baby comes. Thank. Goodness.
  • Finally getting T a drastic hair cut after weeks of battling to comb it properly. She was tall enough to use the proper hair washing basin, rather than water sprayed from a bottle. She was so thrilled, and hasn’t wept once brushing it since. Result.

Author: Alex

Hello. Toddling Round New York is my own little blog of our family's experience of moving young kids from London to New York... And of having a baby out here. They are my own baby steps of exploring this incredible city. I lived in five countries in four continents growing up, so you'd think I'd be good at this by now. Here you'll find stories and photographs of our adventures, the highs and the lows of expat parenthood, and some ideas I hope you'll find useful if you're in New York with young kids.

3 thoughts on “Losing my rag over communal laundry”

  1. Oh goodness. I too have shed many a tear and thrown many a temper tantrums over laundry 🙁 pee soaked sheets always seem to occur at the busiest of times too or when your washing basket is already bursting at the seams!

    Sounds like you are so busy right now but the fact that you’re functioning at all so close to the end of pregnancy is enough for me to send you all the virtual high fives!! Way to go mama!!

    Lovely that you got to have a glam night out, always nice to get dressed up and have a grown up night, good for you guys 🙂

    Hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly, can be tantrum free and you can get those swollen pregnancy feet up as much as you can!! Look forward to hearing all about Baby 3

    Thanks for sharing with #myexpatfamily x

  2. Wow, thank you for sharing your frustrations. I love the fact that you held it in rather than let rip at the lady from another floor. Lack of water or electricity is more commonly a frustration here, but at least we have sunshine (most of the time). New York sounds dreamy though. Have you read Emma Freud’s column on her new New York life in the Telegraph, Expat Life section? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatlife/12092951/Emma-Freud-joins-in-with-New-Yorks-No-Pants-on-the-Subway-day.html

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