Monday, June 12, 2006

Death Before Dullness

This is supposed to be about dishes, but it is really about much more than that. Last week, Phil challenged me to write down my dishes issues. What he was referring to is the fact that I struggle with keeping the dishes clean. I have a tendency to look at the stack waiting by the sink at night and say "I'll do it in the morning." I do do them in the morning, but it wastes valuable time I could be using elsewhere. On occasion, and fortunately it is becoming rarer, I don't do them in the morning. So why? asks Phil, and I don't know. is my answer.

But now I think I have a glimmer of the truth, and it is that I am bored easily. And there are few more boring tasks than washing dishes. They have to be done over and over, and sometimes the same dish three or four times in a day. My subconcious says why bother? and so I struggle with it. The solutions I have come up with are that I have to retrain my brain to do the dishes after every meal. Even doing them twice a day isn't enough - but at that, it is more than I was trained to do growing up, and I have to fight those ingrained habits with all I have unless I want to doom my daughters to this fight later in their lives. I have to start the girls on helping with dishes. They love to help rinse, but I don't often allow them because it takes so much longer when they are helping. But Glady is old enough to wash almost on her own- and has done so once. And just because I feel guilty that I am not doing them is no reason to not ask someone else - whether it be Dad, the girls, or Phil - to do them.

I have found that my mind can do repetitive tasks if I switch it off and let it cruise along on muscle memory, but this tends to leave me on hyperfocus mode, and I can literally ignore everything. As a wife and mother of four this isn't a good thing, although it has served me well in the past. So now I try to use music, chatting with someone who is willing to hang out in the kitchen with me... anything to keep my mind going while my hands are busy.

So, I'm off to do some dishes - right after I make my office calls for the day, give the girls a snack and drink, feed the baby and walk the dog, just to name a few of the chores clamoring for my attention at this moment.

3 comments:

Aunt Mimi said...

Don't feel guilty about asking your girls (Your son, too, when he's older) for help. Consider it your duty to teach them housekeeping skills.It's as important as potty-training, manners, and grooming. Wish my mom had expected (demanded) more of me. Besides, think ahead to how much time you're going to have to do more interesting things!!

Sharon said...

While I can relate Cedar, I agree with Mimi - don't feel guilty for asking for help. In my house these kinds of things are called Life Lessons (how to do a load of laundry, how to wash a dish/floor) Kids need to know how to do these things so that when they leave the nest, they are capable of cleaning their own nests :)

Kathleen said...

Mimi and Sharon are right. And besides, if the children live in the house, and help make the messes, they have a responsibility to help take care of the messes. It's actually more work for you, at least at first, to teach them to help, but you won't regret it later on (and if you don't teach them, you will regret it!).

Always remember that you aren't raising children, you are raising young women and a young man, and keep in mind the kind of person you want them to become.

love, Mom