Sometimes the most romantic thing you can do is wash the dishes.Ron came home from work after a very long day. He was tired, hungry, and ready for a quiet evening. This was the highlight of his day – home – with his wife and kids. Carol was good at keeping their home peaceful and was a great cook. As he opened the door, he was right. Dinner smelled delicious! She’d done it again. Ahhh…. Then he heard it. The noise. Fussy baby. Arguing kids. And he saw it. The living room re-carpeted with toys. The laundry overflowing its basket plopped in the middle of the hallway. The sink full of dirty dishes. Then he saw her. Exhausted. Worn out. Tired. You name it. It was written all over her face. She didn’t look all that excited to greet him.
Can you relate? Your husband comes home, you know all he wants is a nice, peaceful dinner and he walks into anything but peace. The kids have had enough of you and, frankly, you’ve had enough of them! Hubby walks in the door and you’re ready to walk out! Forget dinner. You just need some time to yourself!
There are days when you really don’t want to spend any more time with your sweet kiddos. You’ve answered enough “why” questions; you’ve changed enough diapers; you’ve stepped on enough toys for at least the next month or two; you’ve disciplined for the thousandth time today; you’ve had it with little voices calling your name. Can you not be Mom right now? Pleeease?!
I remember these days well. As a stay-at-home mom, I remember how exhausting and emotionally draining some days could be. I could barely wait for my husband to get home.
I’d make it through dinner and my sweet husband would take the kids to play for awhile. Then, he would get them ready for bed and snuggle them in. He knew I couldn’t listen to the constant chatter and noise any longer. Besides, the kids had much more fun when Daddy put them to bed than when I did. Daddy would play; Mommy was done.
Meanwhile, I’d clean up the table, put any leftovers in the refrigerator, and run the water in the sink to do the dishes. Most of the time my attitude stunk. Let’s be honest here. Hubby was tired, yeah, but at least he got to deal with adults. All I’d talked to that day were kids. All. Day. Long. I’d have given anything to have a full, uninterrupted conversation with an adult.
After letting the dishes soak, picking up the mess in the living room, and putting a few other things away, I started the dishwashing process.
“Sure wish I had a dishwasher.”
“If I had a dishwasher, I’d be done by now and could go relax.”
Blah, blah, blah, blah.
Whine, whine, whine, whine.
At least the dishes didn’t talk back. The dishes just let me clean them up and put them away without saying a word.
Pretty soon, my sweet husband entered the kitchen, gave me a hug from behind, and picked up the drying towel and started helping with the dishes. At first, we didn’t say anything to each other. Oh, maybe I’d remember to thank him for putting the kids to bed. Then, he’d ask how I was doing. He’d thank me for the delicious dinner once again. He might even tell me what a great mom I was and how he appreciated all that I did every day – how he loved coming home every night – how he was sorry it’d been such a tough day for me. I’d ask him quietly how his day went. We’d talk a bit and then start to laugh together at silly happenings of the day.
As I drained the dirty dish water, watched my sweet man dry the last dish and put it away, cleaned out the sink, and hung up the dishrag, I realized:
The dishes were done
The kitchen was clean
The kids were in bed
The house was quiet
Peace settled over us
We completed sentences in an uninterrupted adult conversation!
And I was overcome by the extraordinary gift of doing dishes … together … with the love of my life … who understood me and loved me even when I’d had enough. He romanced me in the ordinariness of life so I could once again see the extraordinary.
And my heart soared!
Are you tired today? Is it one of those days when you’d rather not be a mom … at least for awhile anyway? Are you having trouble seeing the extraordinary moment today? Take heart, sweet mom. Inhale deeply. Now exhale. Step back and take a fresh look at today. You’ll glimpse the extraordinary in the ordinary … even in a sink full of dirty dishes.
Kirsten D. Samuel
Aftershock Recovery Coach
8-week Program, Custom-paced Coaching, Remote, or In-person Sessions