Dishwashing – 5 Ideas to Get Them Done
Over the past week, I have seen one post after another about how to keep up with the mountain of dishes that women have to contend with each day. Here are some suggestions to help you keep up with dishwashing.
Wash Throughout the Day
Keep the dishpan filled with soapy water throughout the day. Unless you have a greasy dish, you don’t need hot water, just soapy water. Then when the phone rings or you have a moment, wash up a few.
Assign Children to the Dishes
Children must learn what it takes to run a household. They must be invested in the running of the house. Learning to do dishes teaches them that for every action (using a dish) there is a reaction (washing and putting away said dish). What a child can wash will depend on the age. Bonus to this: their hands get clean while they are washing dishes.
Do Evening Dishes in the Morning
If your night routine is just WAY too busy and you are a stay-at-home mom or work a later shift, put the night dishes in a dishpan of soapy water and do them in the morning.
I was a single stay at home mom when my daughter was toddler/preschooler (I lived on a VERY closely monitored budget and with NO frills – we lived in poverty on the support I got, but it was my choice to be HOME and raise my daughter). My girlfriend and I would save our dishes for the morning and then call each other at a predetermined time. The first one to finish the dishes signaled the end of the call. This helped us both be connected with another mom. We were able to bounce ideas and questions off each other. We shared new homemaking skills, etc.
Eat Lunch Off the Table
I visited a homeschooling mom with 5 or 6 kids. She asked us to come just before lunch so we could see the lunch routine. Afterward, we went over her homeschooling and homemaking routine while the kids were cleaning up and getting back to schoolwork. I was really surprised when she put our sandwiches, veggies, and fruit directly on the table. She said that kids will get crumbs everywhere anyway, so why even bother with plates? The table still had to be washed either way. Save the dishes, save the money that you’d spend on paper plates, just eat off the clean table. Of course this doesn’t work with soup, mac and cheese, or something like that, but apparently, they most often had sandwiches, plain raw veggies and fruit so this was her routine. They had a nice big painted table, but a smooth vinyl tablecloth will also work.
Boost Your Mood by Hand Washing Dishes
This is SCIENTIFICALLY proven to be a mood booster. In fact, I heard on TV and read in an article that it’s proven to be more effective that taking anti-depressants (if you are on them, please don’t go cold turkey and do the dishes thinking it will be an instant trade-off, work with your doctor to wean off the meds if you find the calming effect of dishwashing warrants). Something about the sound of the water, the warmth of the water, the systematic washing, the feeling of accomplishment, etc. will soothe and calm the brain. Now there is a caveat. You can’t have kids pulling at your clothes, screaming and fighting in the background, or anything like that. But if you can get alone with your thoughts and do them, I found that it was the most calming and peaceful time of my day.
How do you get the kids out of the kitchen?
How do you get the kids out of the kitchen so you can have your quiet time of reflection and do the dishes? If they bother you, turn the dishwashing over to them. Pretty soon they will learn that if they bother you in any way* they will get the “chore” of dishwashing. In my house, everyone – including my husband – scattered when it was dishwashing time so I had a peaceful half hour to reflect on my day, organize my thoughts, pray, just sort things out in my head and center myself. Then I was calm and ready for the evening ahead.
* I taught my daughter at age three – yes 3 – that there were times that she just had to leave me alone and the ONLY time she could bother me during these times were an emergency. We went over the SHORT list of what constituted an emergency. So from age three on when I sat in my “prayer chair” in the morning, she wouldn’t bother me. When I did the dishes, she didn’t bother me.
One day when she was 4 or 5 I sat in my prayer chair and was on the phone with a friend concerning a prayer need. My daughter was really confused. She wanted something and approached. I put up my hand and she walked away. When I was done with the call I went and asked what she needed. Then I explained that although I wasn’t praying, I had something very important that needed my full attention and she did the right thing to walk away. Consistent, loving training is the key to this kind of obedience.
So there you have 5 ways to get the dishes done. My great aunt always told me that if you did three things people always thought you had a clean house. 1. When you get up, get dressed, do your hair and makeup right away, 2. Have the dishes done, and, 3. Have things picked up. My great aunt didn’t have kids. She raised my dad from the time he was 10, but not little ones, and, of course, it was a different time. She would have been raising kids in the depression era. Toys were few and far between and more often than not when kids did have to play, they were outside playing, not in the house. Today some kids have enough stuff to fill a small gift shop. It’s hard to keep all that corralled. If that is your house, you have some decisions to make about either the amount of “stuff” your kids have or the amount of time you devote to keeping it all in order.
I hope these hints were helpful to you. If you have any more ideas, I’d love to hear them. Put them in the comments below.