Friday, February 1, 2013

A dream: My husband's shirts

I dreamed I shoved my husband’s shirts into the washing machine, like usual, and turned on the machine, like usual, but when I went to hang them out, the machine had torn them to ribbons.

‘Look!’ I said to my youngest daughter, ‘look!’ as wide strips of white and blue cotton tumbled out of the washing machine and floated around; and as we watched the ribbons dance, we laughed and laughed and laughed.

I have been a stay-at-home mum for the best part of a decade. I’ve studied a bit and volunteered a bit and gone mad a bit – all the usual things stay-at-home mums do; but for the most part, I’ve drifted round the house sweeping and picking things up and reading stories to kids.

I didn’t give up a ‘real’ job to do this. Before we had kids, I worked part time at boring jobs. I never found a job I much liked, and never managed to work full time without falling to pieces. All of this is to say that, over the course of almost fifteen years in relationship with my husband, I have, very fairly, done the bulk of the housework.

This year, however, I am beginning to study more intensively, and so we are renegotiating the chores. The outcomes of our negotiations will no doubt be fluid, but I wonder about this dream. What does it mean? Is it time for him to downshift? Am I feeling like a doormat, and was the dream my latent aggression coming out? Is it a sign of the delight I have in the changes ahead? Or was it, quite simply, a message to him that it’s time to start washing his own shirts?!

Doing the Washing


  1. Amateur analysis: it sounds happy, so its not bad or about anxiety. Maybe you are processing what is happening, the housework literally breaking down and your work becoming something different. As Ecclesiastes 3:5 says "a time for pushing shirts into the machine, a time for the shirts becoming fun ribbons".


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