I don’t use the dishwasher. I grew up without one, and so did my husband, so we wash all of our dishes by hand. We’re weird. We have a dishwasher, but only because we feel like we need to have one for resale value and also to appear normal. As much as I loathe dishwashing, it does give me a lot of time to reflect. I’ve noticed that my approach to dishwashing is pretty similar to how I approach most things in my life, and I still have some things to learn.
1. Just do the silverware. (Follow through.) I married a neat freak. And as disorganized as I appear to be next to my husband, I approach most things methodically. Organized chaos, if you will. So, when I do dishes, I leave the silverware for last. I always do. About a year ago, I noticed that, generally speaking, I worry about the big picture. I got all the big, noticeable dishes done, but when it’s down to the silverware in the bottom of the basin (details), I would have to talk myself into finishing. It looked good enough, and from a distance, the dishes appeared to be done…but I still needed to buckle down and do the silverware. Having big ideas is great, but sometimes it’s really important to finish what I start. I need to pay attention to the little details to make sure I did a thorough job. Follow through, Amy!
2. Let it soak. (Prioritize.) My husband’s approach to dishes is fast and furious. He wants to get it done and get it done now. (Sorry, ladies—he’s taken.) But sometimes a dish really needs to soak. It would be a waste of time and energy to use elbow grease on it, when all it needs is a little bit of time soaking in hot, sudsy water. Plus, I can multitask and get some other things done while it’s soaking. I say, don’t force it. This can be applied to so many things, but the first one that comes to mind is childhood milestones. If my kid isn’t ready to potty train, try again a few months later. It doesn’t mean I didn’t try hard enough. Sometimes I need to just let things soak.
3. Check the garbage disposal. (An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.) I don’t know how many things I’ve destroyed by simply NOT checking the garbage disposal before I turn it on. A little preparation can go a long way. My usual approach to projects and life in general is similar to the phrase “bull in china shop.” I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes I just need to step back and run through a mental checklist before proceeding. My silverware and metal espresso filter are constant reminders.
4. Let me stack the dishes the way I want. (Don’t micromanage.) This is a tough one. Both my husband and I prefer to have things done our way. Who doesn’t? My way just happens to be a little bit messier. But when someone else is helping me, or I’ve empowered someone at work to manage a project, I have to step back. Would it be quicker and easier to take over and do it my way (the right way) the first time? Probably. But will they learn anything? No—and then they may not want to help me again. If I let them do it their way, will it still get done? Probably. Just because someone does it differently than I do doesn’t make it wrong. Before I micromanage and stick my nose all up in someone’s business, I ask myself: Is their way going to hurt anyone? Does it achieve the main goal? If it gets the job done, just let people stack the dishes the way they want.
Who knew I could learn so much about myself and my life just by doing the dishes?!
Maybe I really should start using the dishwasher…
(Special shout out to all the ladies of the ACMB who let me steal pictures of their kitchen sink!)