Dirty Dishes

Friday was a long day. Biked to work, worked non-stop, then stopped at my women’s spirituality group, went back uptown for a late work dinner with colleagues.

I was so happy to walk through the front door around 10. Kissed the darlings. Took off my coat. Headed to the kitchen to fix myself some herbal tea.

Disaster. Total freakin’ disaster. The plate that 15 hours earlier I’d served warm cinnamon rolls on was crusted over and piled high with the detritus from dinner — empty pasta box, dirty plates, cups, milk carton. You get the idea.

I was totally exhausted. While Parkinson’s Disease has made my husband less competent at cleaning up after himself and the family, my kids have no good excuse. I told my darlings to turn off the TV and help me. They did (unhappily) but we chatted (happily) as we unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher.

I told them just because women do the majority of the world’s housekeeping, it doesn’t mean we like it. I don’t. I like herbal tea. I like reading the paper. I like writing in my journal.

Today I continued the chat. “Look, Dad’s less able and I’m less willing. We’re working very hard for the family. You’ve got to work hard too. You’ve got to step up to the plate.” (I love using sports metaphors to talk about creating a smooth-running family team!)

They agreed and made promises. And you know the rest — after dinner they got up from the table to watch a TV show. I called them back and pointed out all the kitchen clean-up still to be done — the pots to scrub, the food to put away, the crumbs on the floor. 

It is a thankless job but I am going to ride the kids until they do more housework for the good of the family. If I do everything for them, I am doing them no good. I am simply increasing their dependency and my stress level. I cannot hire more housekeeping help. (I already have A. coming to clean once a week.) The kids have to pitch in.

Wish me luck.