When the kids go to bed, I break a cardinal rule of motherhood.
Bedtime has become a crazy pain lately. My girls don’t fall asleep until 9pm if they nap. At 2 and 3 they still NEED naps, but Mommy needs alone time at 7:30, not 9pm. Parenting means getting accustomed to constant changes.
So once all four kids are finally down or quiet-ish, I usually start working. (Or, after a particularly tough day, fire up the old Netflix.) I blog and write and podcast.
What I don’t do? THE DISHES.
I know that this is something that responsible moms say to do. I also know that it stinks to wake up and find dishes in the sink. So why don’t I do the dishes after the kids go to bed?
Because this allows the kids to help.
Typically after dinner we have the kids help put dishes away. Many nights there are so many dishes that the dishwasher gets full and there are leftovers. (And sometimes Rob is gone and I don’t have the energy to play watchdog over the boys handling the dishes.) If we don’t get to them at night, I can have the kids help me. Yes, I’m faster. Yes, they break more things and fling water further than you’d think possible in the kitchen. But I want them to be used to helping.
Because I need me-time.
When the kids go to bed, I have choices. I could choose to straighten up the house. (Lord knows, we need it.) Or I could choose to do non-mom things that help fill that drive I have to do non-mom things. This isn’t the choice every mom wants to make or would make. For me? I NEED this choice. I know that it means I’m choosing for our house to not look as neat as I would like it to look. Moms have little time without little people. You may not have a choice in how to spend it. But if you do, spend it how you want.
Because dishes in the sink never killed anyone.
Do I need to explain this one? They do smell really bad. But they won’t kill you.
I really love the feeling when I wake up and the kitchen counters are clean and the sink is empty. But that usually means the dishwasher needs to be emptied. And little people need to be fed. So even if the sink is empty, it lasts about five minutes before my kids toss in a bunch of bowls with milk-drowned cheerios. I’m right back in the throes of doing housework as soon as I get up. Why NOT have a few extra dishes added to the mix?
I know this may not be the right choice for you. I know this may bring down scathing judgment for being the mom who leaves stinky dishes in the sink in favor of blogging.
But we all have our own choices to make that help us make it through this mom thing. Forgoing dishes and some housework that other moms have on lock is the choice I make. For me. And I’m cool with that. (Finally. After I went through a lot of guilt about feeling like I don’t live up to the Perfect Mom.)