I went back into the kitchen, gathering food and dishes as I went. I went back in and kept washing. In our home we have a rule, who ever cooks dinner doesn’t have to wash the dishes. But Scott was talking to our guests so I kept washing. I started to feel holier than thou, a true servant. Here I am just keeping on working.
Then I thought, ‘That’s silly, you’re just washing your own dishes. It’s not like your serving anyone. Your husband would probably tell you to sit down, you’re just staving off your own aggravation.’
But what if I washed someone else’s dishes? That would be service. Right?
Because if I wash my own dishes over and over again I would like to think that I’m serving my family because I’m doing all this work for them and don’t we reward the hard workers in our culture? But do they really care. Scott will often tell me to stop and rest. But then there is all this crap in the sink. I’ve been bodily thrown out of the family kitchen by at least one brother and one brother in law.
So I’ve washed a lot of dishes in my life.
What if at the end of the day we all switched houses and washed each other’s dishes? If I came over to yours and you came over to mine and we all washed each others. That would work right? Because then we’re serving each other. Right?
I hate cleaning. I used to like it. The feeling of satisfaction in a clean floor. The accomplishment of a clean counter. Now? If I never washed a dish in my life I would be happy. Time is so short, the hottest commodity on my tiny little version of Wall St. Here it is: my dirty apartment, begging to be cleaned when there are paintings to be painted, children needing to be hugged, and children needing my attention. All my attention. Like little crack addicts, they need just one more hit. There’s only so much Mommy in the bag.
Then that Mommy has to fold laundry and wash dishes.
A Kenyan friend of mine, she’s middle class, and she has two house workers. One that comes daily and one that comes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and helps with the laundry. She has two small children and works full time. We were talking about differences in the US and Kenya, she lived in both places and had kids in both places. She looked at me and said,
“I don’t know how American women do it.”
Neither do I.
Don’t look too closely at my bathroom floor.