mommy wash dishes: greetings from the kitchen sink

dishes in sink 2Sippy cups. Milk bottles. Tiny spoons. Funky bowls and plates meant to make mealtime more fun. Last night’s nasty pan still reeking of salmon. Ad infinitum. Motherhood has changed many things in my life for the better but I can’t say I’m a fan of all this new sink time. And something weird has started happening now that my 20 month-old has started talking:

Whenever I try to walk away from the kitchen sink, he pushes me back toward it and says, “Mommy wash.” This gesture is gentle yet firm, and causes me to pause, silently freaking out. What is this – 1950?! I have a graduate degree after all! And it’s not in dish washing! He hasn’t been out of the womb all that long but I have high hopes that he will always respect women, be a kind boyfriend, and eventually a good husband one day. If I double-back and turn on the faucet, I feel like he’s bossed me around. If I don’t continue to wash the dishes…well, then they don’t get done. Either way, he repeats over and over again, Mommy wash, Mommy wash and I am forced to think about the many possible layers of meaning behind these two simple words.

It’s an encouragement? Mommy wash. As in, keep going, I know you can do it. Remember when I couldn’t get the crocodile piece lined up exactly in the animal puzzle and you told me to keep trying? Same thing. You got this.

It’s an identifier? Mommy wash. As in, this is what you do. This is who you are. Own it.

It’s a comfort? Mommy wash. As in, this is where I am most accustomed to seeing you stand, moving your arms vigorously with suds flying all around, and I feel uncomfortable when you leave this position.

It’s an admonishment? Mommy wash. As in, you probably should have cleaned those up last night, or throughout the day yesterday before they piled up. This is the result of serious slacking, so deal with it.

It’s a preference? Mommy wash. As in, Daddy and I are going to play. First, he is going throw the red airplane and we are going to clap with delight. Then I am going to throw the red airplane and we are going to clap with delight. Next, we’re going to spin the top and possibly read some books or just see where the next hour takes us. Daddy and I will spend that special time together, and you, you will wash.

It’s a brilliant manipulation, my son is a genius? Mommy wash. As in: Daddy, you see how well she rocks these dishes? I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this? She must be the only person in the universe who knows how to do it…

I kid you not, last night when my son said, “Mommy, wash,” my husband chimed in defensively with these exact words,ย  “I can wash dishes, too, you know.” And he proceeded to demonstrate. Aha!

Yes, he really can do dishes, too, and does an admirable job, but in more isolated bursts, and usually early in the morning before our son is awake and therefore without an audience. He is, in fact a man who respects women, who was a kind boyfriend and is a good husband. So despite my son’s current favorite phrase, I have hope that he will turn into the same…

The point is that, yes, Mommy does wash, and wash, and wash (and she works on a many other projects in a myriad of locations) but now she is ready to play.

clean sink

How about you? Do you ever feel like dish soap has become your…main squeeze?

13 replies

  1. I don’t have to explain what those dishes times 3 means for time spent washing dishes, however, we have finally entered the stage of “teaching” them responsibility, aka, you clean your own dishes and you help with the dinner dishes. It is a lovely place, I have to say. Even if I have to rewash some of them, at least it is a break from doing all of them. Next challenge…encourage/teach them to cook and then clean. Wish me luck! Keep on washin mommy, you still have a few more years of it!๐Ÿ˜€

    • Yes, and the laundry too! The good news is that Ian is now able to help with the laundry and is very enthusiastic about it. By help, I mean he can feel a part of the process (folding, transferring from washer to dryer etc) and make it take three times longer ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hello paper plates and/or dish wash-ables!
    Very funny and true-ism about the dishes(and laundry). Are you using rubber gloves yet?

  3. I love your post! It’s so true . . . Mommy wash, all day sometimes. Thanks for the positive spin and fabulous post.

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