I still remember the day that my child-free-by-choice friend came over, looked into my kitchen, saw my sink piled high with dishes, and exclaimed, “My God! How long has it been since you did your dishes?”
I side-eyed him hard. “Dude. I have a husband, two daughters, and a stepson. It’s only been about four hours since I last did the dishes.”
Let me be clear: My husband does his fair share of the dishes. We have a dishwasher (although it only halfway works). And yet, even before we started being home 24/7, the dishes were never, ever really done.
I don’t typically eat breakfast because food and food smells seriously disgust me before about 10:30 a.m., but I still drink coffee. (1 dirty cup)
The girls both eat something carby (with protein, too, if I can manage it) like peanut butter toast or sourdough waffles with mashed avocado, plus milk or juice. Sometimes they eat grits. Grits are the worst in terms of dishes. (2 plates, 2 cups, several pieces of cutlery, the occasional grit-crusted bowl that has to soak for about a full calendar year before it comes clean).
My stepson drinks coffee and usually grabs an English muffin with cream cheese. (1 cup, 1 plate, 1 knife).
My husband is a weirdo who eats stuff like kimchi fried rice omelets or shrimp dumplings for breakfast (barfffff), always with a cup of coffee (SOOOO MANY DISHES).
Pre-March 13, lunch wasn’t much an issue because all three kids ate at school; my husband skipped lunch because he was still full from kimchi and shrimp at 7 a.m. (barffff); and I heated up leftovers from the night before, so all I ever had to wash was usually some Tupperware, which I frequently did in the office sink.
Post-March 13, we have sandwich plates, snack plates, salad bowls, silverware, little bowls for veggie dip, peanut butter spoons, apple peels, hummus receptacles, bits of cucumber, lemon rinds, graham cracker crumbs, and chip wrappers all spilling out of our sink by 1 p.m. (If I’m being honest, we often have wine glasses in use by then, as well, but they’re not in the sink because we’re nowhere close to done with them yet.)
I try to take a break from work and tackle the dishes around 2. It usually takes at least 45 minutes of scrubbing, throwing stuff in the trash, running the garbage disposal, and loading the dishwasher before I’m done.
As soon as I’m done, someone will saunter out of their room and casually throw a bowl of ramen or a plate with the remains of carrots and buffalo sauce into the sink.
And then it’s dinnertime. There are many great things about being married to a guy who cooks as well as my husband. The only real drawbacks are:
A. I gain way too much weight if I don’t watch my portions and exercise.
B. SO. MANY. DISHES.
By the time dinner is over, we have five plates, two wine glasses, three cups, massive amounts of silverware, multiple cooking utensils, and several pots and pans and baking sheets in the sink.
If I’m feeling ambitious, I can get the dinner dishes done before the “midnight snack” dishes start piling up, but I am infrequently feeling ambitious.
I try not to stress about the dishes – like death, taxes, and laundry, they are the one thing in our home that is absolutely certain – but it’s hard when they’re staring me in the face every day.
One weekend, we tried to prep-cook for the entire week: meal-planning, veggie-chopping, portioning, freezing, etc.
It took me two hours to clean the kitchen that night, and right as I wiped the last counter, Georgia chucked an ice cream bowl and spoon in the sink, and at that moment, I accepted my fate.
The kitchen will always be dirty. The dishes will never be done.
But my kids are fed and happy, and right now, that’s all that matters.