I am not trying to rebel. I’m not a slacker. I just can’t get to the dishes every day. Yes, I work from home. But the operative word is WORK. Pretend that I’m not at home all day, maybe that will help you understand why the dishes are still piled up on the countertop, why the countertop is covered with peanut butter and jelly from baby’s sandwich that I rushed to make to get her to daycare on time, why the half-sliced orange and half-sliced avocado is still on the cutting board. And why the clean dishes are still in the dishwasher and not in their proper places in cupboards and drawers.
Believe me, I do see the mess. I see it when I rush back into the house after dropping baby at daycare. I cringe. But if I stop now to wipe and wash, I’ll forget the brilliant idea knocking around in my brain about to leak out of my head into the vortex of forgetfulness. And I swear this is the next big idea that will bring additional income into our household. I see the mess as I glance up from my computer now and then to let my eyes rest for a few moments, to stretch my hands and fingers so I don’t get crippled with carpal tunnel. I consider cleaning for a moment, but email is calling and client projects are due.
Yes, I could at least put a damp sponge to the counters as I toss some leftovers into the microwave or scrounge around for a stick of cheese to call my lunch when the leftovers are gone. And I do, sometimes, but it isn’t a routine set in stone. The truth is that I don’t want to get sidetracked. A sponge to the counter turns into putting things into Tupperwares and into the fridge which turns into pulling things out of the dishwasher because the clean Tupperware is in there so might as well and then…it is time for my next meeting or phone call.
I’m working hard. I’m pulling in the extra money that has helped us get out of debt. Sure, I was also the cause of that debt, but we’re talking dirty dishes here, not family finances. The dishes are dirty because I’m working as hard as I can in the five and a half hours that are carved out each day for my workday. Five and a half hours. Most people get eight hour work days and compain it is too much. I would dance jigs if I had eight hours of straight work time. Then again, I wouldn’t dance a jig because that would take 3 minutes of precious work time away from me. I would dance a mental jig while scanning emails.
With the money I am helping bring in, we could afford a cleaning lady to come in daily to clean the kitchen. But not everyone believes in outsourcing housework. Because that is one of those wifely duties, right? I keep thinking that sometime I just might hire a cleaning lady to secretly come into our house in the afternoon hours to make things sparkle. Then I’ll roll up my sleeves, ruffle my hair, and greet my husband with a great big sigh about how hard I’ve been working but “Boy, look at those countertops SPARKLE!”
Why do I feel that secretly hiring household help is a deception? Not as bad as infidelity, of course, but in a way, it seems like cheating somehow or at least not being totally truthful. And I would have no real way of hiding the expense of a cleaning lady so any scan of the finances would reveal the truth of my frivolity.
But let’s get back to those dishes, those oranges and avocados, those peanut butter and jelly stains. They may or may not be there this evening. If they are, I promise to clean them up. If they aren’t, I expect some acknowledgement for managing to clean the kitchen AND earn the big bucks while working from home. Remember, I’ve been WORKING.
Causes Aliza Sherman Supports
The International Rescue Committee, Hopa Mountain, American Indian College Fund, World Wildlife Fund