It happened. My brand new dishwasher was in need of repairs. It had come unmounted from the counter top and I was unable to to get the door closed. Reluctantly I began pulling out all the dirty dinner dishes from the dishwasher and placing them on the counter to be hand washed. My husband was repeatedly opening and closing the dishwasher door. As if to magically fix the problem.
I actually knew the dishwasher needed repair for about a week but had not taken the time to find a repair man. So now I was forced to hand wash the dishes. Feelings of overwhelm began to creep into my mind. But I choose to suppress them and just move on with the task at hand.
My husband scheduled for the repairs to be done on Monday. The dishwasher broke on a Friday evening. Three days of hand washing dishes lay ahead. I decided this was a learning opportunity for my kids. They could see a grumpy, grumbling and complaining Mom for the next three days or they could witness a cheerful, thankful and joyful Mom.
Kids learn by example and having a cheerful heart is a character quality I want to instill in my children. A verse I reference often with them is Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
I asked my eldest daughter, who is 9 years old, to join me by the kitchen sink. She reluctantly joined me with a little coaxing that this was a fun way to spend time with mom. I washed the dishes and she rinsed. It only took about 15 minutes to get all the dinner dishes done. And sharing the chore with my daughter did make it more enjoyable. We talked a little while washing the dishes and the one-on-one time spent together was nice.
Time for Relationships
I had a different family member to join me at the kitchen sink after the lunch and dinner meals. This opened up opportunity for conversation, singing and memory making. Even my 3 year old had fun rinsing the dishes and playing in the water. 🙂
While washing the breakfast dishes it gave me focused prayer time. I prayed for each family member while washing their dirty plate. I also turned on music and sang praise to the Lord.
Family Pitched In
All of the family was more aware of the amount of dishes they were using. They would use the same cup all day long. If a plate just had a few crumbs from lunch then instead of it going into the dishwasher like normal the plate would be saved and reused at dinner.
Washing the dishes was not left just for Mom. Everyone helped with washing and clean dishes were put away twice a day.
The Kitchen Counters Were Kept Clean
An added bonus to a broken dishwasher was having clean counter tops! Because the dirty dishes were being washed after every meal the counters stayed clean and clear. Having the clean counters led me to want to tidy the rest of the kitchen.
After each meal I would quickly wipe down the kitchen table and then sweep up the crumbs from under the table. Each evening I went to bed with a tidy kitchen. It was so refreshing to wake up to a clean kitchen! A sense of accomplishment.
Now let me be real. The dishwasher did get fixed the following Monday and I went back to using it! Dishes that don’t fit into the dishwasher get placed on the counter and I wash them in the evening. The kids have continued to help by unloading the dishwasher and placing dirty dishes into the dishwasher. This was their responsibility before the dishwasher broke.
Here are practices I have kept in place from my learning experience:
- Make sure the kitchen counters are clear and clean each evening.
- Wipe down the kitchen table at the end of the day.
- Sweep under the kitchen table each evening.
An added bonus is I have not been reluctant to call upon my children to help me wash the dishes in the evening. They received adequate dish training in those three days and now I am fully confident it their washing abilities. 🙂
What do you do to keep your kitchen tidy each day? Do you hand wash your dishes or stuff them all in the dishwasher?