Just Do The Darn Dishes
Ok, this is for all the wives and moms out there who have their plates totally full.
Your kids are probably screaming in the background as you read this sipping your luke-warm coffee you have already reheated three times today. Oh, and your bed has a pile of clean laundry that you really need to go put on hangers, but it will most likely get moved to “that chair” once again tonight as you drag your tired body into bed.
I’m also going to guess that all the lunches for tomorrow still need to be packed and “that teacher” has requested for the 3rd time that “you label all of the diapers” with your child’s name on them, as if you don’t have enough stuff to worry about. You’re also probably the same exhausted wife and mom that gets into small spats with their spouse about the dishes being piled up. Maybe not even a spat….maybe a long-winded heavy sigh coming from the man who has not been home all day and who is about to go sit down on the couch while you fix dinner. Am I hitting a cord? If so, then I am talking to you. And I am about to tell you to do the darn dishes.
How dare she tell me to do the dishes?!
Does she not understand my shirt literally has snot dripping off it from my toddler and my hair hasn’t been washed in two days? TWO DAYS! Does she not see that my husband comes in from a kid-free day of work and sits down on the couch the minute he walks in the door? Does she not understand that I am trying to get lunches packed, kitchen cleaned and dinner ready? To all of that yes, I see you. I see you because I am you. And yes, I need to do my darn dishes too.
Now hear me out. So far all I have done is pointed out your messy house and demanded you keep cleaning it, but I have a point. There are several reasons I am telling you this. I will tell you why you just need to do the darn dishes.
First, and the most obvious: If you have a sink full of dishes that means you have cooked and eaten a meal or two (or three). And that means your home is full of love. You have dirty dishes because you and your family sat around the dinner table and shared a meal together. Think of the laughs you shared with your high-schooler about what happened in gym class or stories you heard from your kindergartner about their day on the playground.
It also represents that you have the means to prepare food for the ones you love. Even if that means you picked up a Five Dollar Hot ‘n Ready Pizza from Little Caesar’s. There are plenty of lonely people with an empty sink who wish they had a family to cook for.
A dirty mug means your husband came home and drank some coffee while he listened to you talk about your yoga class.
A Mickey Mouse plate with ketchup caked on it means your three year old daughter came home from preschool and sat down with you and ate her favorite dino-nuggets and told you all about her new best friend.
Enjoy these moments and be happy you get to do the darn dishes.
Second, I know that man who has just walked in the door and plopped down on the couch could get up and do the dishes. And some days he should. But before you crucify him for “not helping”, let us think about his day. Most likely he works a 9-5 job, or more in some cases. Let’s say he works in an office. He has probably had meeting after meeting after meeting. Sounds nice right? Cold conference room, quiet and clean, and they even probably have donuts and HOT coffee.
For him though, that is not the reality. While the room may be kid free and snack filled, he isn’t focused on that. He is hearing his boss yelling at his team because they didn’t make the deadline they had. He is feeling the pressure of the company coming down on him to make sure reports are turned in on time so his performance review in a few weeks looks good. IF his performance review looks good then maybe he can get that raise that he has been hoping for for the last three years.
And if he gets that raise, he gets to tell you and make you proud (and he is hoping you recognize his accomplishment, not just move on to the next problem). Men have this primal need, in most cases, to take care of their spouses and children. They are programmed to do that. And most men equate that to providing financially.
We do not see the pressure he is under at work. We do not see him working through his lunch break so he can try to get home a few minutes early. We don’t see his head drop into his hands at the end of the hard work day because he is mentally exhausted. And in some cases, he is still griped at by the woman in the kitchen upset about the dishes.
When he comes in, talk with him about his day. See what kind of day he had before you huff and puff and sigh when he comes and slumps onto his normal spot on the couch. You love this man with all your heart, and you want nothing but the best for him. Treat him that way. You don’t want to make his day harder by nagging on him or griping about what needs to be done. Some days, it is better to just do the darn dishes and then go sit down with him on the couch and let him tell you about his day. Don’t be the source of stress, but instead be the one who relieves it.
Third, a happy house is a house people want to come home to.
Your kids either have the desire to be home or they don’t, it’s simple as that. Same for your husband. Now just because your kid wants to stay the night with their best friend or husband wants to go have a drink with a buddy doesn’t meant your home isn’t happy. I’m talking about the feeling your family gets in the pit of their stomach or the flutter in their heart when the work/school day is over.
Does your child’s stomach turn knowing they are walking into a messy house, with parents arguing about the undone dishes? Or does their heart flutter because they can’t wait to run home and cuddle up in the safety of their nest? YOU have that power. YOU make that happen. That is a whole lot of pressure, but nothing about being a mom has been easy, so why would this?
You get the honor of creating a home! Make your home something warm and inviting. Do that now and when they are older they will want to come back to the comfort of mom and dad’s house. Your partner does this too, they either dread or anticipate being home. Which one is it for your spouse? This may be a tough question to answer. It may make you uncomfortable by me even just asking it.
BUT THIS IS SOMETHING YOU NEED TO CONSIDER.
Does your husband want to be home? I’m not saying shield your precious man by never asking for his help around the house, i’m saying think of how you are doing it. If you can stop a potential argument by getting the dishes done before he gets home, then do the darn dishes.
So please, even though you’re tired, even though you’re sore, even though you have to wake up in 6 hours, for your wife, do the darn dishes. She will love you even more for it.
*IMPORTANT NOTE MEN* Some days your wife has had one heck of a day. The kids have literally yelled “mom” 637 times, and threw their lunch she spent time cooking on the floor after eating 3 bits. She even received some attitude and an eye roll from her threenager that hurt her more than she would like to admit. Guess what? It is your turn to do the darn dishes. You eat here. She spent time cooking it. You have the time. Yes, she is home during the day. Yes, she got off work earlier than you. No she didn’t have to work manual labor in the hot sun. But she is raising your children and there is no more important job on this planet than that. And some days are harder than others. So please, even though you’re tired, even though your sore, even though you have to wake up in 6 hours, for your wife, do the darn dishes. She will love you even more for it.
Side note: I would like to mention, sometimes it is okay to put off doing the darn dishes. Some days you need to cuddle up with your family, some days you need to just get out of the house and enjoy being together having fun, some days the dishes have to wait. And that is okay. Sometimes other things take priority. Family comes first. But after that, do the darn dishes.
Some are a young single woman, waiting to find the man of their dreams, but until then she only has one plate and one cup to wash. So happily and gratefully, do the darn dishes.