When I look on Pinterest for interesting graduation gifts, I’m dazzled by the creativity people put into presenting dorm supplies in laundry baskets. This seems to be a common theme, and it’s not surprising.

One of the biggest concerns mothers have when they send their kids to college is how the laundry will get done.

Instead of sneaking tomorrow’s outfit into a load mom is doing doing, our kids will have to plan ahead. They will have to go to the laundry room or laundry mat when it’s open. They’ll need soap, hangers, quarters, or in some places, money loaded on a card — even more planning. Instead of letting laundry pile up and raiding a sister’s closet for a clean shirt or underwear, a girl will have to do laundry with some regularity, or more likely, she’ll have to make fundamental decisions about her personal standards: exactly how dirty is too dirty?

Parents, particularly mothers, shudder to contemplate how their kids answer such soul-searching questions. That’s why we give laundry supplies for graduation and why, even after they are tucked in their new homes, we send soap and quarters in care packages and laundry instructions in e-mails. We can’t know whether these gifts get used, but they make us feel better.

do your laundry or you'll die alone book named best book of 2014

In this way, the laundry is a metaphor for so many things when our kids leave home. What we want to give them is not what they want, but what we want them to have — what we think they will need … what will help US sleep at night.

It was in this selfish giving mood that I wrote the book Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give If She Thought You Were Listening as a send-off letter to my oldest daughter. It started as 150 entries of advice, including a few laundry tips.


Dear Taylor,

Though you may think I’ve driven you half-crazy with reminders and lessons this past year, I’ve kept a lot of things to myself. Hush. I have.

Here are a few things that college will not teach you. Some are things I’ve told you a hundred times. Some are things that have never come up. Mostly, they are things that would make you roll your eyes if I said them in person.

So indulge me. I know you don’t need another lecture, honey. But I need to give you one. (There. Right there. I saw that eye roll!)

Love Always, Mom


Published just in time for a graduation gift for my youngest daughter, the book will be a gift to every young woman in her graduating class. Words can’t express how fun it is to watch other moms add their own advice to the extra pages in the back, saying those particular things they think their daughter might forget, even though they have been said a dozen times.

Whether it’s laundry supplies, fluff and fold services, or a book of motherly advice, giving a gift that makes the giver happy is just fine. And while our kids may roll their eyes, they won’t be too mad. As long as we slip a check in with it.

do your laundry or you'll die alone book with money tucked in the covers

By Becky Blades

Explore the book here.

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do your laundry or die alone author becky blades

Becky Blades, Author of Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone, and contributor to Huffington Post, Oprah.com, Scary Mommy, and Grown & Flown.