Emma Waverman writes about the chaos of modern family life in the kitchen and out of it. She has a weekly food column on CBC Radio One, Here & Now. She is the co-author of the family cookbook Whining and Dining: Mealtime Survival for Picky Eaters and Families Who Love Them and is hoping to one day finish her certification as a parenting coach. She lives with her three kids, ranging from tween to university student, and husband in Toronto. Emma has written for a variety of national lifestyle magazines and newspapers. When she's is not making typos, telling you what she thinks, and thinking about dinner, you can find her on Twitter at @emmawaverman and Instagram. You can contact Emma at embracingchaos@hotmail.ca.

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« 8 Things You Didn't Know About the PanAm Games and a Ticket Giveaway | Main | 23 Things I Have Learned in the last 6 Years as a Mom Blogger »

Does Performance Really Count? 

(*Sponsored post, but still readable)

My kids do not play competitive anything. And sometimes that makes me feel like we are in some minority made up of slackers and uncoordinated nerds. But even though they aren't stellar athletes they still try, which is more than I can say I ever did.

Alll three of them play ball hockey. None of them are any good, none of them have played all-star but they all have been on winning teams and every year they get a medal and a trophy. (And I have no problem with that.)

In fact, they know they aren’t good and they still play. Even my 15-year old cheerfully goes out to his games, knowing that they are going to pull him when the game gets close. But he still enjoys the competition. And that is a great gift.

So, when I come across an athlete an actual, honest-to-goodness athlete I am always a bit in awe. They were born with natural skill, and they had the kind of parents that I will never be – competitive parents who give up everything to foster their kids’ athleticism.

Recently, I met Kyle Jones who is a Canadian triathlete competing in theupcoming Pan Am Games. It was kind of exciting, because we are looking forward to the Toronto-based games. (We can still be fans, if not jocks.) He too, talked about how he trained with his Dad and the support he got from his family, and now his wife.

And just like when I met with the Canadian women’s hockey team, the conversation turned to cleaning. Because cleaning up after an athlete is drudgery. They have a lot of dirty, stinky clothes with lots of crazy high performance fabrics. Kyle said his clothes all went in his Maytag washer and dryer, which I found surprising since half my friends don’t even put their Lululemon pants in the dryer. (The other half, which I am part of, do. Because convenience is everything.)

Kyle also happens to be sponsored by Maytag, so he is used to talking about his laundry. Also, if you check out this Maytag commercial he should get used to having some fans.


Maytag is a key part of the athletes’ village for the PanAm game. They have supplied 400 washers and dryers in the athelete’s village, because even though we think athletes are superhuman, they have to boring tasks like make sure their gear is clean.

Maytag is using the hashtag #performancecounts to promote the PanAm games. I’ve been thinking about what that means, as a parent. Because #performancecounts when you are an athlete, and it also counts in a washing machine. (Because of all the things that I want to work really well, my washing machine is way, way up there.)

But does performance count when you are a kid? Or does participation and persistence count more? I think this is one of the issues that I grapple with as a parent – for example do I reward my kids for good marks (which comes more naturally to one) or for the work they put into it?

When I meet athletes like Kyle I can see how their pleasure in success doesn't just come from winning, but also in the process of working hard towards a goal. This is something that I really do want my kids to learn from. The idea that winning doesn't always happen, but that sometimes the payoff is in the working hard and enjoying the competition. 

So even though we aren't athletes, performance does count sometimes. But until my kids' are on the world stage, I'm going to teach them that persistance is an important part of that equation. (But it was pretty great to see my son's team win the gold medal in ball hockey.)

In the meantime, I have some seriously stinky and dirty ball hockey jerseys to deal with, so Maytag sent some laundry tips. To be honest, laundry isn't my forte as I often put it all the machine and then forget to move it to the dryer -- but I'm working on it. But I do have a front-loader and the I didn't realize that I could do small loads in between the large ones without feeling guilty!


  • As your laundry accumulates, pre-sort it into designated baskets for lights, darks and whites. This way, a load will be ready to throw in the washer whenever you have a minute to spare.
  • Don't forget to close zippers and clasp hooks, and to also check pockets to avoid washing tissues, money, lipstick, etc.
  • Streamline the laundry process by incorporating storage solutions and flat working surfaces into your laundry room. This will keep laundry where it belongs and eliminate the need to treat, sort and fold in other rooms of the house.
  • Wash small loads as needed between laundry days. Today's high efficiency washing machines use substantially less water and energy than a conventional top-loading washer. Which means you can do small loads when you have time, rather than waiting for the basket to fill up.
  • Don't overload the washer or dryer. Clothes come out cleaner and less wrinkled when given room to move freely.


Stain Removal: (I didn’t know about putting stain removal on the underside! Life changing)

  • Treat stains promptly. Fresh stains are easier to remove than old ones. If the stain is on a non-washable fabric, take it to the dry cleaner as soon as possible. Tell them the stain and the fiber content of the garment.
  • When using bleach, do not try to bleach just one area of garment. To prevent uneven color removal, bleach the entire garment.
  • When cleaning a stain, place stained area face down on a clean paper towel or white cloth. Apply stain remover to the underside of the stain, forcing stain off the fabric surface instead of through it.
  • As for cleaning sporting gear, Maytag recommends using the Maytag Maxima® Front Load washer and dryer to get your sports gear smelling good again. The Maytag Maxima® washer delivers the best cleaning in the industry with the PowerWash™ cycle. PowerWash™ technology uses a combination of extra wash action, heated water and a thorough rinse to help remove even the toughest stains.

If you are PanAm games fanatics, next week I'm going to host a giveaway for two tickets to men's basketball, thanks to Maytag! And what I am sure will be a funny store about my own embarrassing involvement with the games.





*This post was sponsored by Maytag.

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