Malia Obama Does Her Own Laundry: Does Your Teen?

Jeanne Sager

Malia ObamaSo much news coming out of the White House. First bin Laden is dead, and now the big news! Malia Obama does her own laundry!

OK, maybe it's not earth-shattering, but it sure hit home in my household, where I'm eagerly awaiting the day my daughter's constant clothing changes cease to affect my workload. Appearing on Oprah with her husband, First Lady Michelle Obama said the new duty for Malia, who will turn 13 in a few months, is part of giving the first kids a "normal" upbringing.

Says Mrs. O:

Grandma still does her own laundry at the White House so she's going to be in charge of laundry duty ... [Malia] has to learn how to do that. I don't want her to be 15, 16 and be that kid: "I've never done laundry before." I would cringe if she became that kid.

I get what she's saying. I don't want my kid to be the one standing at her high school graduation party who knocks over a glass and calls me to clean it up because she doesn't know how (true story, but not from MY life). There's the responsibility angle, the preparing them for the real world part of it. But the exact timing of when to hand over this particular chore intrigues me, especially with girls.

Allow me to generalize, but around Malia's age, most teenage girls begin requiring a bra and may or may not develop a taste for slightly nicer undies. And having Dad handle their unmentionables becomes downright embarrassing. Not that he notices, really. I remember at one point in the teen years walking into the laundry room to see my father pulling my Victoria's Secret bikinis out of the dryer. My heart was in my stomach as I watched him carelessly throw them on the pile of my Mom's clothes. I was his little girl, it never even crossed his mind that they were mine! But that didn't stop me from turning green.

Now imagine your dad is the leader of the free world, and he's got to get a look-see at your lacy bra. Yikes! Not that I see Barack Obama doing much laundry these days (what with planning covert ops in Pakistan and all), but hey, they want their kids to be normal. That's something they've got to be thinking about!

It sounds like the Obamas have perfect timing with Malia's new chore. She's old enough to reach down into a washing machine, old enough to know how to separate darks from lights, and old enough to have a reason to really WANT to wash her own clothes -- all of them.

When did you hand this task over to your kids? Have you yet?


Image via Congressman George Miller/Flickr

Read More