Where did those dishes come from?
Over the years, my hubby has been helping me more with tasks around the house. He’ll straighten up the family room, almost always clears the dinner table, and every once in a while, he’ll do the dishes.
This past weekend, we attended a marriage conference, called Weekend to Remember, put on by FamilyLife. My mom and stepdad have been involved with FamilyLife since before they were married 10 years ago, and and are year-round volunteers with the organization. For Christmas, they paid for Martin and I to attend, plus paid for our room at the Wigwam for the two nights of the conference. (We still had to pay for weekend childcare for our two younger kids — the two older boys were at Martin’s dad’s — and all our meals out for 48 hrs. Still, though, it was worth it.) Most of the sessions had husbands and wives together, but on Sunday morning, we each had a session apart from each other. In short, the women’s session involved submitting, and the men’s session involved serving.
It’s not like I’m the best, world-class, most super-willing submitter, but thankfully, it wasn’t new infomation for me. I’ve had some great instruction on the topic since before Martin and I were even together, and I’d heard (and been applying) pretty much everything that the speaker addressed. I did decide, though, to re-prioritize Martin’s needs above my kids’.
Later, after the separate sessions, when Martin and I were back together, the men’s speaker quickly mentioned a guideline that had been suggested in their session: “She who cooks doesn’t clean up afterwards.” I like that guideline! 😀 So, Martin has been putting that into practice (for the three nights since we’ve come back).
I learned a long time ago that, in whatever area Martin chooses to help, not to criticize his efforts — from giving baths to the kids, to folding laundry, to vacuuming the family room. Even if he doesn’t do things exactly as I would, any help he gives is welcomed by me. So, I resist the temptation to reorganize the dishwasher as I walk by. 🙂 Frankly, though, he does dishes more thoroughly than I do. I’m just content to have all of them clean, even if a few are drying on a towel on the countertop, and at some point, usually 10:00 p.m., I call it a night, even if there are dirty dishes still in the sink. Martin wants everything clean, dried, and put away, leaving the island sparkling clean and completely devoid of dishes.
The next morning, I empty the dishwasher first thing, and as the day goes on, I’ve been careful not to let anything pile up, but load the dirty dishes right away. I find myself not wanting to take advantage of Martin’s efforts by giving him more than just the dinner dishes.
Last night, as Martin was doing the dishes, I was able to finish reading the newspaper, watch the rest of the Diamondbacks/Mets game, take my time in getting Audrey ready for bed, and be the first one to pray for our kids when they went to bed. It was great!!
Each evening, I have been so amused by his reaction, come after-dinner time. “What? All these dishes in the dishwasher are dirty? It’s nearly full! Where did they come from?” 😆 Well, babe, there are five of us who eat breakfast, lunch, and snacks in your absence. We’re out of paper plates, so two meals times five people makes for ten plates. Plus I made bread and cornbread in the afternoon….
In other words, I think he’s getting a glimpse of why it’s so time-consuming to keep up with the dishes, and why I frequently fall behind: when you’re in a family of six, those dishes keep piling up, pretty much ’round the clock. Dishes are just never done. Or, they’re not done for long. Get them done 100%, and five minutes later, someone puts a glass in the sink, or I clean out the old leftovers from the fridge, or someone eats a bowl of cereal for a late-night snack…
Even if his efforts eventually lag, the little dishes-respite has been fabulous. 🙂