Doin’ the dishes

Dirty dishes have always been a contentious issue between YA and me.   She has a much higher tolerance for dishes in the sink than I do; particularly I don’t like coming down in the morning to dirty dishes.  For several years, if YA leaves dishes in the sink overnight, then when I come down in the morning, I yell up the stairs and she has to come down and do them.  This is no fun for anybody but it does work pretty well as a dish pile-up deterrent.  Of course it doesn’t do anything about dishes that accumulate during the day.

When I started working from home back in March, I was assuming (like many others) that covid would have run its course by the fall.  I decided that as my gift to household peace, I would just do all the dishes during shelter-in-place.  Fretting about dishes just didn’t seem like a good vibe to add to an already bad scenario.  I’ve had a couple of times said to YA that I didn’t want to feel taken advantage of and every now and then she does belly up to the sink on her own, but for the most part, I’ve washed every single dish that has been dirtied here since March 15. 

Now that covid hasn’t gone away and we are all still sheltering-in-place, I’m thinking maybe I need to re-negotiate my dish-pan hands situation.

Any suggestions??

36 thoughts on “Doin’ the dishes”

  1. get a laundry tub with a cover and set it off to the side. tell ya you’ve rethought her right to wash later but you want to have it out of sight. just have her put her unwashed dishes in the tub and put the cover on. certainly it would never be an issue where the box would get too full! she can do it whenever she wants instead of doing it right now and being done with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. put up a schedule of time spent doing stuff for the house
    keep it even
    if she vacuums instead it’s ok or washes windows.
    i used to live in a house with 3 other guys and we’d list the kitchen the bathroom the living room hallways basement and everything that could be possibly added to the list then did it every month
    it was great and the time second time around was so much less it was remarkable.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. RIse and Shine Baboons,

    As I view this you have a few choices:

    1. Let it continue as is
    2. Do what tim and Renee said with a schedule and allowing the dishes to sit out of sight. My experience with schedules, is that before the schedule works you have to get the commitment from the the young adult. Only experiencing negative consequences (no dishes to use and watching them pile up) creates that commitment—otherwise they can count on Mom to do the dishes/bail out the young adult. However, then you must tolerate your own irritation and need for order and let dishes pile up.
    3. Get a dishwasher and opt out of the entire conflict. (My approach to housecleaning—get a cleaning person).

    20 years ago we were experiencing this with all kinds of things. Tolerating my own irritation was a challenge. Son (and nephews) were in and out of the house repeatedly while learning the lesson that the buck stopped with them. They all learned and all three are doing beautifully now.

    When you raise secure, middle class children (in my case, boys—maybe girls are different) who never face true poverty, it takes them a long time to understand that they alone are responsible for their commitments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Getting a dishwasher in a kitchen that doesn’t have one or a space and the hookups for one is kind of a big deal. It means modifying your cabinets and possibly your countertops and a new electrical hookup.


  4. She is pretty good about doing other stuff. She does her own laundry, does all the vacuuming (thanks to the dog contract) and she usually handles the trash/recycling issues. She was very helpful when we were having company last month (friends came for a few days); she did almost all the cleaning in the guest room, including all the linens.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. So, does she do her share of the housework or not? This comment seems to contradict the general theme of the post. Is it just the dishwashing she neglects? You say you feel taken advantage of- that suggests the inequity is larger than just dishwashing.


      1. I think in general she does a fair part. The dishes is a particular sore spot simply because her messes are so clearly obvious because it’s sitting in the sink. And because we’ve had so many discussions and issues with it over the years. The one thing we’ve talked about a lot is her doing stuff without my having to direct her. Making a household list and posting it does not work well. Leaving things completely up to her also does not work.So for now I remind her on Wednesdays the trash Hass to go out but just once. And when I need her to vacuum I ask her. Sometime she vacuums on her own. It really is just the dishes that makes me crazy.


  5. Our daughter rarely, if ever, helped around the house, but was terrific at cleaning the coffee shop she worked at in high school, including cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our daughter was messy until she got to college. When we met her new roommate’s parents, they said, “We’re sorry, but Robin is messy. That’s just her nature.” We told them, “No, we’re sorry. Molly is really messy, and Robin might become frustrated.”

      We were all wrong. The girls had taken advantage of parents who would clean things when a cleaning was truly needed. That’s human nature. When they were the only ones responsible, both girls became Neat Freaks. Their room was always perfect.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. In grad school I joined two guys so we could reduce the financial hit of apartment rent. Rental costs were crazy high because landlords near the U of MN could charge a lot. The self-appointed leader of our group was a tall, arrogant guy named Bill.

    Bill, with typical cynicism about human nature, created a cooking-washing system. None of us could cook. At all. But our system would have each of us becoming the cook and dishwasher on a weekly rotation. Bill assumed cooks would be messy if they knew someone else would have to wash up, so each week the cook was also the dishwasher.

    The system worked about as well as the Trump presidency. I almost sent all of us to the hospital when I cooked the dish we later named “Lethal Chicken,” but by relying on my mother I learned to crank out such delights as Tuna Casserole (a big favorite) and others. I also learned to wash dishes while cooking, a system I practice to this day

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I enjoyed Chris Christie’s response to the charge the Trump campaign had colluded with Russians to gain unfair advantages in the 2016 campaign. Christie said the campaign (of which he was a part) was “too threadbare and disorganized” to bring off any collusion. In other words, there was no possibility that ethics prevented collusion, but rather the campaign was too clumsy to be evil.


  7. When our dishwasher broke down two years ago, husband balked at the prospect of getting a new one. “Fine with me,” I said, “so long as you do the dishes, because I don’t intend to.” “I don’t mind doing dishes, in fact I enjoy it, he said.” “Great, be my guest,” I responded, and so it has been for two years now. To his credit, he has done the dishes faithfully most every night after dinner, though I have on occasion taken a bowl out of the cupboard that wasn’t clean. I’m not persnickety about much household stuff, but I do insist on clean dishes and utensils. He occasionally, cleans the stove top, too.

    One interesting change in our daily routine has changed during this interim. I have never liked pots and pans on the dinner table. That’s one reason I have accumulated a lot of really nice ceramic serving dishes over the years. For thirty-eight years, I never put a skillet or pot on the table, but since he has started doing the dishes, he’ll often suggest putting the pan on the table instead of dirtying yet another dish. I guess that’s what you call a compromise?

    In answer to your question, vs, a dishwasher seems the obvious solution to me if this situation is an ongoing source of strife. Of course, I recognize that with a dishwasher comes a whole set of other potential conflicts, such as how do you properly load it, how often do you run it, and who is going to empty it and put away the dishes? I trust you’ll continue to navigate your way around this thorny issue. Meanwhile, give both of you a lot of credit for still being on speaking terms after so much forced togetherness.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Some of the suggestions, especially those that entail letting the dishes pile up and hoping she’ll take the hint or suffer from the lack of clean dishes seem passive aggressive to me where communication and expectation should be enough. YA is in her twenties, right? Not a teenager. Isn’t there a point where she ceases to be a child and becomes a bad roommate?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With the “let them pile up” technique, you have to clearly say that this will be the consequences of not honoring the basic agreement you made clearly and overtly with the young adult.


  9. Let’s hear it for passive-aggressive dishwashing. In my first marriage (which was also my last and only) we perfected this art. We did not fight, nor did we argue. Instead, we tersely disagreed, then washed dishes. Washing the dishes was a way of putting the other spouse in the wrong. There are worse ways of resolving conflicts, and this way produces clean dishes.

    This amuses me now because my erstwife (also my last and only wife) does not remember this at all. Well, I do. She is now a good friend, and I remember it well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah- she’s pretty good with the passive aggressive but she’s up against a master, because I was trained by the queen of passive aggressive, my mother.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. is there a way of setting up a sequence that must be agreed to? i don’t know your situation. what can be done ? she can’t listen to to music? tv ? she can’t go to her room or sit in the living room until they are done
    she agrees there is no possible way around the deal!


    1. We actually talked about this about 30 minutes ago and she agreed that she will do more of her own dishes and not let them pile up. I offered her that choice or to pick a day of the week on which she would do all of the dishes that day. She decided she’d rather just be more helpful in general. This of course was after she suggested that I should have made a better bargain and trying to weasel out of it.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. when i met debbie we went to her parents house and there was a clear separation of duties i got to observe. debbies dad got home from the airport at 3 and cooked dinner for everyone to eat at 530and her mom cleaned up the kitchen and did the dishes. i had two kids age 2&4 who were just about shush kabobbed for getting dirt on the floor. some comment was made about cleaning off the stovetop and her sister said “yeah like anyone could clean well enough mom would not go back and do it right…”
    guess what my house is like? i cook she cleans
    she is a machine. dishes vacuum laundry, and i change the oil and repair broken stuff. i kinda do my dishes so i’m not a complete schmuck but only kinda, she is a machine .

    Liked by 2 people

    by Shel Silverstein

    If you have to dry the dishes
    (Such an awful, boring chore)
    If you have to dry the dishes
    (‘Stead of going to the store)
    If you have to dry the dishes
    And you drop one on the floor —
    Maybe they won’t let you
    Dry the dishes anymore.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.