Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dishes Suck: The Experiment

This isn't exactly autism sucksish, but I need a venue to share that isn't connected to "The Others." (I'll explain the term later.)

I'm conducting an experiment.

Currently, there are three adults living in my house: me, my husband, and my sister-in-law. We are all working multiple jobs right now and are stretched to the max. We're crabby, tired, and our patience is running thin.

I had a meltdown last week. I teach on Thursday night and when I came home, there were dishes galore. To add insult to injury, my SIL left for a weekend work trip and her skanky lunch dishes were waiting in the sink for somebody (aka ME) to clean up.

On Friday afternoon, I calmly told my husband that I felt I was being taken advantage because we're all stretched, yet I'm the one doing the majority of the work with the kids and cleaning the house, doing the laundry, etc. Then I told him he and his sister needed to work out a schedule where they took responsibility for emptying and loading the dishwasher so that there would be one consistent task that would be off my to-do list. He agreed.

Secretly (here's where the experiment comes in), I have decided that I will not unload the dishwasher until after Mother's Day. I will only load my dishes, the kids dishes, and any dishes I use to prepare food. If the dishwasher is clean and unemptied, I'll hand wash our dishes (mine and the kids). I'm finding that handwashing right away is actually taking less time than the loading/unloading dishwasher route.

I realize that doing this secretly is a bit unfair, but in my defense, I asked for them to help out and they agreed. This is just my way of measuring results. It also gives me something to do in place of constantly asking them(and/or bitching at them)to hold up their end. I do enough reminding with the kids.

So far, there is a full dishwasher that's been washed twice because yesterday my SIL put a bunch of dirty dishes in, then decided after I told her they were clean that she'd just rewash because hey, that's the least lazy option.

Now there sits about 1/3 sinkful of dirty dishes, a dishwasher that has been clean for a day and a half, and dirty dishes from my husband and SIL, who from here on out will be referred to as The Others.

I'll keep you all posted on the experiment. Wish me luck.


  1. If you are all working hard and you are all living in the same home, then you all should be responsible for the chores of the home. Obviously I don't know the circumstances for why your SIL is living with you, but she needs to do her fair share as does your husband. They are not children and you are not their mother. That said you also shouldn't be passive aggressive about it. Sit them down and talk to them calmly. Tell them they need to do their part as they are grown-ups, and that you have children to mother not grown-ups. And then follow through. Good luck.

  2. Funnily enough, whilst I agree with you to a degree Ivy, I can see exactly why it has reached this impass.

    You get sick of asking, asking, asking which becomes twisted to be nagging, nagging, nagging.

    If Jeannie has explained/asked the once, why should she sit GROWN ADULTS down and explain to them AGAIN?

    Watching with interest (though the control freak in me would get frustrated if it went on for too long with them not fulfilling their side and I'd do it, whilst growling about it of course).

  3. Don't give in-----they are doing it because they think you'll go crazy looking at the dishes...You might want to have separate locker for dishes you wash and use for you and the kids----so there will always be dishes for you to use. And you might need a dish basin to wash them in, if the sinks are full. SOMEONE has to do those dishes eventually, or they won't be eating. So don't give in. You are TEACHING!

    Now if I could do the same thing with laundry...

  4. Ah, I appreciate everyone's comments. I agree Ivy, I'm being a tad bit passive aggressive, but as Madmother pointed out, why should I have to repeatedly ask. That's part of the problem, I have to think for them too.

    Tami, I appreciate your cheering and I'm not giving int. It's getting better. I keep taking care of my dishes and leaving theirs for them. I think just seeing their stuff lying around while mine and the kids' are put where they belong is a good visual reminder. Plus, it's helping me because I'm not leaving my dishes around for fear that I might forget which are mine and the kids' and which aren't and end up doing them all. LOL!


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