What’s on your laundry tag?

8211903 label with laundry care symbols closu up shallow dof 300x200 Whats on your laundry tag?

What would your label read?


I’m very prideful about the fact I ask for what I need.

Specifically, clearly & in the moment.

Long day of work & Im feeling insecure about my writing?

“Tell me I rock & my words are amazing!”

All gussied up for a (his) work event? Feeling a little awkwardtastic?

“Tell me I look bad-ass and yet still completely like myself.”

Working 24/7 & bringing home the (turkey)bacon in the form of…tinybacons?

“Tell me it is not at all about the money.  Remind me it’s about the people we help while we’re here.”*

The problem I encounter is my *asking* for what I need may be good, but the  longass circuitous way I go about it is not.

I tend to lose Ren Man as I ramble.

All of this clicked for me recently as I searched for the laundry tag in a piece of his clothing.

I could keep asking for what I needed—but we both might be better served if I  consolidated it into fewer words.

Ala this Einstein quote:

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

If I couldnt ‘laundry tag’ my emotional needs (& needed to ramble) perhaps I didnt understand them well enough either.

Maybe *I* should invest time distilling them down to their basic essence—for me.

I did.

And this is what I came up with:

  • Lots of laughter
  • Being acknowledged & heard
  • Alone time to recharge

I wont lie to you.

My process was a long and ugly one. 

It was challenging to come up with my basic emotional needs in a terse fashion AND  have few enough to fit on a hang-tag.

The struggle, however, is forced me to prioritize my needs. 

I began with something which resembled a laundry list & eliminated till I had the three above.

What did I learn from this exercise? (thanks for asking!)

  • I need to be more clear and concise—in all facets of my life.   This exercise was a reminder if I dont know exactly what I want and need no one else will either.  I can grow frustrated with people not giving me what I want, yet it hadnt occurred to me I wasn’t telling them in words they could understand.  Non-verbose ones.
  • Be bold and ballsy.  It’s easy with this exercise to think “well Id want that and Id put it on my tag—but it’s not happening.  It wont ever happen.  Ill leave it off.”  You may be right, but not asking for what you need guarantees you wont receive it.
  • It’s kind of a mini-vision board.   Ive started visualizing my ‘tag’ hanging on the insides of my clothing (I crazy that way).  To this end I’m consistently sending the world cues as to what I want & need *and* it can flow back to me.
  • Dont settle for what is offered...when you’ve not asked for what you desire!  In this exercise we’re talking emotional needs, but this concept is applicable throughout our  lives. Yes you may ask and not receive just dont settle for only what’s offered to you.
  • Remember to read other people’s labels.  Beyond the fact it’s important not to be so consumed by identifying your needs you forget others’—-when we are empathic we feel connected.  When Ive worked with women’s groups I consistently hear lamented the lack of feeling connected.  (OK so I wanna add that to my label now, too.  Feeling connected.)

I learned a great deal about myself from this exercise.

I forced myself to identify & choose what’s really important to me emotionally (when eliminating ‘needs’ I weighed two with regards to their importance to me, eliminated the lesser and moved on) and found I’d been rambling a lot more than I’d been working to meet needs.

If you created a self-care laundry tag—what would it say?

Is this list something you know immediately or do you, as I did, need to work the ‘process of elimination’ to figure it out?

Please tell me you, too, have pretty much given up on reading the real laundry tags & just cram everything in at once.



**Ive received a number of emails recently asking how I can relate to your weight struggles if Im not currently fitness-struggling. 

I have a post about this in drafts coming soon. I do struggle on a daily basis with this money = worth notion.  In my experience struggling is universal.  The specifics of our struggles are almost secondary.


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  1. says

    I like this concept, Miz.
    My friends all flock to pinterest for vision boarding and I am going to work on my words today and visualize them as you do: EVEYRWHERE!!!!

  2. Aimee says

    I have always liked the Einstein quote, yet applied it to intellectual pursuits and not my self-awareness.

    Interesting POV!

  3. says

    I’ve done a similar exercise (love the analogy of the laundry tag), and my tag would read similar to yours. I’m still working on understanding one elusive piece that has something to do with trust but I haven’t quite figured it out yet. Plus, mine would probably have something like, ‘do not leave unattended near cupcakes.’

    And yes, struggle is universal, regardless of the life area. If we understand that, we’re that much closer to the compassionate world I envision.

  4. says

    I think i need to start with a long ramble and work backwards like you. I wish i was in front of you to see this whole thought process unfold….is it like an aha moment?

    and i usually cram things in my laundry…especially since i only do it about every 2 weeks…so bad.

  5. says

    kinda interesting: that all your needs are in the “social/interactive sphere”. Did you notice that? I think we all have emotional needs beyond the emotions we get in our interactions from others. And it’s interesting to me that you’ve focused on and seemingly equated “needs” with very specific needs you “need from other individuals” as opposed to needing from yourself, needing from society, or needing from the universe at large.

    I get that you’re talking specifically about those social needs: the ability to ask for what you need (from another person) directly.

    But I wonder, what would the laundry tag look like if you were asking what you need from YOU? What you need from “the universe/ g*d”? What you need from “the world” ?

    • Miz says

      what I need from ME is unconditional positive regards and accepting myself where I am in this moment. And knowing that’s enough and I’m enough. This weekend after the Tornado and I did our gratitude boards I went back and revisited my personal mission statement an my spiritual mission statement.

      While private :-) I think that’s more of what you’re referring to—yes?
      I love your comments. They make me think.

      • says

        You know I guess I was thinking more along the lines of the same kind of more basic stuff: stuff we don’t always give ourselves that we need. Of course, maybe I’m just projecting because this is something I’m struggling with right now. I can tell my family what I need or want… but I’m not always good at giving to MYSELF, when it comes to those same considerations. And of course, I’m not asking you to SHARE those things you ask of yourself, but was wondering if it were a consideration.

        I, on the other hand, will gladly share the things I’m struggling to give myself, including “permission for stillness”, which is my way of pointing out to myself that I don’t need to be “on” 24/7, that I need time for lack of thought, for meditation or just the experience of peace at some point in my day.

        It’s easier for me at this point in my life to tell the kids “go to the library, the zoo, or whatever… I need some down time” than to actually USE that down time rather than cleaning or doing research for the zoo or running budgets for our new apartment…

        • says

          And although I haven’t been a fan in the past, I’m thinking I need the clarity of doing something like a personal mission board and a gratitude board.

          • Miz says

            and I never thought id make like or ue a vision or gratitude board….until I did.

            As far as giving MYSELF what I need I’m in a place of rocking that finally.

            I’ll work to make it happen (get up at the crack of dawn) but where I am in life right now….where my family is….I have to apply my oxygen mask FIRST!

  6. says

    I have no idea what my laundry tag would read. I tend to try to “buffer” my thoughts for some unknown reason. And so often I don’t know what I need so it’s definitely hard to verbalize it. I must work on this….

    Oh yeah, although people would probably think I’d do my laundry differently (due to my personality)…I’m a cram it all in there type of girl. Happy Monday Miz! =)

  7. says

    1. If 10 years is “almost” then I guess you’re “almost” her age. Haha.
    2. I agree about struggles being similar. It’s what we tell our clients all the time. Can XYZ relate to using cocaine? Maybe not. Can they relate to feeling frustrated, alone or depressed? Probably, and that’s what matters.
    3. I just learned I too probably need to keep it simple and be willing to reach out more often.

  8. says

    best line “You may be right, but not asking for what you need guarantees you wont receive it.”

    amen amen.

    My tag:
    - handle with care
    - connect with self
    - wear boldly

  9. says

    I was thinking about this in a different way yesterday. My husband was *not* meeting my needs, but I was not telling him what those were. I wasn’t quite in a “but I shouldn’t have to tell him” mood, but almost. Then I thought how different I am on Twitter and Facebook. I put whatever I am “needing” out there–congratulations on a job well done, consolation on a rough day, etc.–and my friends respond. Why is that so hard to do face-to-face face?

  10. says

    Gotta love those lightbulb moments!!

    Ray often says I speak in circles and never just “tell me what’s up”. *sigh* You mean you didn’t catch that me rambling and yelling and pacing around the house meant I needed a hug and the words I love you and maybe a little shoulder cry??

    I agree. If I can’t just say what I need, then I better learn how or I’m never going to get it!

    And if I have this kind of trouble…maybe Ray (or anyone else) is having the same trouble telling me what HE needs.

    Great concept. :)

  11. Meredith says

    I like you included read other people’s tags, too.

    I may be alone in this yet I think we women spend too much time on touchy feely stuff for us and neglect empathy.

  12. Sarah says

    I shove everything into the wash at once and am impressed you check.
    Now that I think about it I tend to do the same with expressing my needs and self-care.

    • Miz says

      I giggle this was really born from a moment of EXASPERATION at a new dress of the Tornado’s.
      I couldnt find the freakin tag and in my tired state wanted to scream at the thing “SERIOUSLY WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH YOU?”
      (disclaimer: it was a fancy dress. gift to her.)

      and then I had a flash moment of Ren Man wanting to shout the same at me :-)
      thats how my misfit brain works…

  13. says

    Most days I think my tag would say “wrinkle resistant.” However, this week, I’m worn out with the cleaning and moving so I’ll go with, “Lay Flat To Dry” and “Treat Stains With Coffee.” ;)

  14. says

    Great post! I usually am pretty bold with my needs and wants, but depending on the person, I can definitely also beat around the bush too. I need some more time to think about what should be on my laundry tag. Just like different fabrics, I may need different laundry tags for different people in my life.

    You are so right about this: “…not asking for what you need guarantees you wont receive it.” So true!

  15. says

    Oh my gosh…this is SO true for me too. I need to be better at telling Josh what I need:

    1. that you appreciate all that I do
    2. that I’m doing a good job with Kay
    3. that I look good (on the days I actually take the time to put myself together ;))

  16. says

    What a thought provoking post & honestly, I can’t answer right now. I need to come back & read again & again. WOW!!! Why do you make us think so much! ;-) And thank you!

    AS for that last but about the emails…. I wonder if people think this about me since I don’t get those emails BUT for me, every day is another day of still being at it & as life changes & hormones change, it is still a struggle in some way.. not, not to do it meaning the exercise & eating well BUT to adjust to all the changes happening & continue to maintain as they come at you…. maintenance is often harder than losing… I am not the biggest loser as you have in your series, but I am close to the longest maintainer! ;-)

  17. says

    LOL to real laundry tags…these old eyes can’t see them and my stuff is wash/wear…now Christa…her stuff is most often hand wash, blah blah and she’s responsible for sorting that out for me!

    my tag would say
    appreciate me and what I do
    let me be me

  18. says

    Love your tag–sounds like you nailed it.

    Methinks this is an exercise well worth doing! I need to roll my sleeves up and do it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. says

    WOW…this exercise…post…solidifies a “draft” post that has been lying in the pile of “dirty laundry” thanks!

    Shall be working on this today…

    Main thought at the moment….

    Do NOT remove tag (its there for a reason, if you pay attention)

  20. says

    Wow, wheels are spinning over here. I love your list – particularly the part about reading others’ laundry labels, SO important to be compassionate and a real listener and giver to others as well as a giver of your own needs.

    on my label…
    laugh. often.
    sweat. often.
    love. often.
    repeat, as needed.

  21. says

    Oh man, I love this post. I really need to work on the process of elimination to figure it out though. It would be a good execise for me to do like NOW. :) I know for a fact I need to “wash with care” as I’ve not been resting, etc. as I should. I just can’t figure out the right water temp or cycle for me. Ha! PS- Your writing style cracks me up every day. :)

  22. says

    Some things i have boiled down to a short tag sentence, others not. Will continue to try.

    (Yes, if i can’t cram most laundry into any old load, i don’t buy that clothing.)

  23. says

    Awesome concept!

    Though it’s interesting that with all the navel gazing i’ve been doing lately, that I can’t come up with a succinct laundry list. It’s more like a lengthy text book with dozens of chapters and detailed instructions.

    More thought required, but seems an exercise worth trying, thanks!

  24. says

    Funny — I like laundry tags on others so I can do the right/helpful thing but never seem to know mine that well. Today it’s pre-treat and warm water, but other days it’s different. Your post made me reflect on how I was raised: Women don’t ask for their needs to be met, that would be selfish. Our lot in life is to meet needs. I’m thankful that wasn’t acceptable to me. Even though I’m a work in progress, I’m teaching my daughters differently.

  25. says

    -This item can not be rushed in the morning.
    -Expose to sun as often as possible.
    -Listen and acknowledge, but don’t fix unless specifically asked for this treatment.

    Great post, Carla :-)

  26. says

    Oh such a good post, you have the most creative ideas. I really liked the one about remembering to read other people’s laundry tags. It’s kind of like “love languages” in a way. Mine would say, be gentle, be direct, and know that I’m almost never saying anyting out of anger or frustration though sometimes my tone conveys that accidentally. I hate that things get lost in communication sometimes…

  27. says

    Wouldn’t it be great if life were really this easy…just read our tags!

    Mine might say: works best when appreciated, recognized, and respected.

    Great post!

  28. says

    Such a great post Carla! I love the whole process you went though, and really like the idea of creating a laundry tag…
    I have no clue what mine would read.

    Caring and Gentle.
    Tends to bite with lack of sleep.
    Needs a good hug at least once a day.

  29. says

    My tag would currently read “to be continued…” whilst I ponder the realization that I now know why the husband tunes out, zones out and/or leaves the room when I begin to ramble in 1000 words what likely could be expressed in less than 10.

  30. says

    Just wanted to pop in to say that you’ve posted some really great stuff lately and I am right there with ya’ on so much of it. Not a lot of time today, but wanted to make saying this a priority right now.
    Thanks for the great insights!

  31. says

    This is such a great exercise! Like you said, I would have a hard time narrowing it down to fit on a tag. Thanks for making me think today, and every day. Love to you!!

  32. says

    I don’t know what my tag would say, but I love how thoughtful you are. I’m sure somewhere on my tag it would say “Need more time.” But I hope there would be room for “Helped others. Made them laugh.” Of course, now it sounds more like an epitaph than a tag!

  33. says

    I love this and feel like I often ramble when I get emotional and talk about my feelings. Clear and concise is key. Those tags are small! Unless they are from H&M! Also to read others tags is equally as important. Thank you for this exercise.

  34. says

    Miz, I love this post. I’ve just written in my own blog about some of my goals (as shared with my therapist), but if I had to drill down to a tag-sized reflection of me, I’d struggle.

    I can, therefore relate to your long and hard process to get there. But… I’m going to think about it a bit. It feels important to get it right!

    I bet a number of spin-off posts will come (from your readers) from this post!

    PS. I don’t mind that you aren’t still struggling with your weight. I read a mix of both types of blogs. The ones I’m less interested in are those that go into OVERLY LONG detail about the specifics of their programs (bench-pressed x amount; ran this far; squatted with this weight). BORING! I like that you’re mostly ‘there’ (where you want to be) but can still talk about the challenges and mindset issues you struggle with – but in a positive way!

  35. says

    As usual I love the post. I really long for the day when I can help someone on their journey and not just be so needy. But I am in the thick of it and need to be encouraged daily. I really want to be a conglomerate of all of my fitness idols.

  36. says

    OMG…I LOVE this!!! Can I steal your “be bold and ballsy” for my tag too??? Sigh. I just tried to write a few tag lines down…they’re all VERY VERY wordy and un-tag-like. To compound the problem, I’m no longer an x-large…so my tags have become a bit smaller over the last year!! :) Have a fantastic week Miz. Thanks as always for these wonderful ideas and food for thought.

  37. says

    Great post! I think I need more time to think about what my laundry tag. I have always loved the saying Love, Laughter, and Happy Ever After!

  38. says

    If I had a laundry tag? “Handle with care” And that instruction would be most for myself:)

    I’ll have to think more on this one…

  39. says

    That’s certainly an interesting way of looking at things. I’ve got no idea what mine would say. I guess it changes, but I’m cool with that. Perhaps I need a contextual laundry tag. ;) My real laundry has contextual tags too – ie: wash by hand… unless in grumpy mood, rushed, or it’s already starting to look raggedy

  40. Amanda says

    It’s funny, I’ve managed to get to a place where I give myself what I need and don’t require it from others. Or maybe don’t think I’ll get it from others so just live with getting it from myself. Not sure if that’s a good place or not.

    As for whether you are able to relate to us “losers”, I agree with an earlier commenter who said that sometimes maintaining is the harder part. When losing you have a plan but often when maintaining there is no plan (which is why so many fail at maintaining). You still have to think about it everyday and keep doing the things that work to keep you there. Looking forward to hearing your post.