The name of my blog is "rejoicing in hope," remember?
Well, tonight I have a bit of hope!
For fifteen years, I have been washing dishes, putting the leftovers away, scrubbing the counters and table, cleaning the gunk off of high chair trays, sweeping the floor etc etc etc.
Tonight I told the children I have been doing this for fifteen years and I am done. DONE, I tell you! A good portion of my life has been spent at the kitchen sink. Remember all those siblings I recently wrote about? By the time, all was said and done, there were twelve children in all. There was no dishwasher or microwave, no TV dinners. Almost all of our food was cooked from scratch plus we did tons of canning. Dirty dishes were as much a part of our life as breathing.
Not much has changed for me, really. So, considering all that, I really have been doing dishes for a good 26-28 years. Its time for change. I can do them without crying now. but it would be fun to do something else with my life.
I made my announcement to my children. They looked at me, stunned. But..but...adventures in odyssey is coming on. We are going to miss it if we have to do dishes first, Christopher protested.
Aww, too bad, I said sympathetically. Hopefully, tomorrow evening we'll be done in time for you to listen to it.
I had it all thought out and have a plan for the great year of 2012. the year of liberation. The year when my children will learn to clean up from start to a beautiful, Momma-pleasing grand finale. I know my children. I know I have to break it down in small bits and practise over and over and I have to have incredible back bone to see it through. But this time, I am determined it can be done and will. Number one, in my strategy, is to have each of the three big children have their own specific jobs that they will always do. No rotating. My backbone and grit is not quite strong enough to grasp teaching all three children all the steps. Maybe in 2013. Small steps, you know.
This is what we did tonight and will stick with for a time until each job is done perfectly and with a good attitude. It is not a help and blessing if Mom has hassles to deal with. So my second stategy is NO HASSLES. None. No complaining. No excuses. No forgetting. Just cheerfully doing your duty.
Christopher; put ALL clean dishes away from draining rack and dishwasher.
gather all dirty drinking cups, jars, measuring cups and thermoses and stack in dishwasher
Micah: clean high chairs
pick up anything that is on the floor
Marissa: put as much food away as possible
gather all silverware and put it properly in the dishwasher
So, as you see, it doesn't nearly cover everything yet. But its where we start. Another strategy is to not give Christopher and Micah jobs where they have to make decisions. Such as, what do i do with this bowl of food? The boy's jobs are straight forward and do not change. The cups always go on the top dishwasher rack. the pots and pans always go in this certain spot. But they aren't able to decide whether to put theleftovers in this dish or that. Marissa can handle that so she gets that job. She also gets the silverware to find all through the kitchen to put in the dishwasher. Silverware is smaller and harder to spot when you don't have good vision.
Micah was excited about his job. I helped him examine the high chair tray and seat that Jordan had made a good mess of. He bent down and looked at it closely with his dim little eyes. I taught him to first get a napkin and wipe all the food into the middle of the tray, then lay the napkin over the little pile of food and spread his hand over it, and pick it up inside the napkin. Same way with the seat. Someone recently gave me a box of stuff from a food bank which included a box or two of pre-moistened floor cleaning wipes. the kind of thing rich people buy, I suppose. Well, they are perfect for Micah for this job. He then used a wipey thing to thoroughly wash the tray, seat and rungs of the high chair. I showed him how to put the tray back on and then set it nicely in the corner where it belongs. He also picked up and put away the jars of food the babies had gotten out of a low cupboard and were playing with before supper.
I finshed everything else and dreamed of getting to the point where every evening the chairs would all get wiped down, stacked on the table, then the floor swept and mopped. EVERY evening!
A girl can dream, right? But, I really do believe we'll get there!