Saturday, August 27, 2011
Why I Don't Do Dishes At Night
I don't do dishes at night. More specifically, I don't do dishes right after dinner.
It's a really strange thought process I have, but it's been there as long as I can remember. I mean, it definitely doesn't make life easier. Usually the food is pretty stuck on the plates the next morning, and we have to be careful and get rid of things like chicken bones, or else the dog will eat them and choke on them. And that would be sad.
I have a whole mixture of memories of my mom's cleaning habits. Some memories are of her keeping an immaculate house, scrubbing the floors weekly on her hands and knees and dusting the top shelves. Other memories are of my mom, my sisters and I frantically cleaning our super messy house because company was coming over that night and there was no way we could let them see the mess (even though usually it was our friends that had lived with us for 8 months and knew everything about us, including how messy we were. I tried convincing my mom that this made it so we didn't have to clean up, but she never bought it.) I wonder if my mom had moments of inspiration to get organized and clean, and then got burnt out with having 3 kids to take care of on top of it. At least then I would know where I got that part of me from.
My dad was in construction for most of my childhood, and he often came home too tired to play at night. We scheduled dinner around when he came home, which could easily be 9pm during the summer months when he was roofing. After dinner was when we all spent time together, usually watching tv but with a lot of conversation going on as well. When the basement was finally finished we got big, cushy couches to go down there and a tv without a knob on it. As much as we all loved being down there, I think it bugged my mom that she couldn't be a part of it when she had to cook or clean up upstairs. During the little bit of time us kids had to do the dishes (yes, I'm part of the "entitled generation" where we apparently had everything given to us on silver platters) I remember feeling like it took forever to get them done, and we usually finished just in time for bed. After awhile I remember post dinner times spent with all of us, relaxing and having fun after a long day, and I vaguely remember the dishes being put off until the next day.
To this day in my mind the time after dinner feels almost sacred, when everyone is home together and usually with no plans. It feels almost like a tragedy to me to take that time and spend it cleaning. This is especially true when having company over, as I want to enjoy the time with them and not just cleaning up after them. What fun is it having company over if you can't spend the time after the meal playing cards or just talking over the dining room table?
I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that I don't want to get stuck all by myself cleaning every night during a really special time with my family. I'm willing to take a little bit of extra time scrubbing the next morning to keep those evenings relaxing with my kiddos.
On the other hand, I'm probably just lazy.