Menifee Mom: Family Bonding Around the Kitchen Sink?

By Karen Thomas

Chores are one of the necessary battles moms face with their kids. We hated them when we were kids, but now that we’re the mom, we realize how important they are. Not only do they teach our kids important life skills, but they help us accomplish the never-ending tasks that come with taking care of a home and family.

Sometimes, though, when the kids insist on doing a substandard job or argue every step of the way, we wonder if it is just easier to do it ourselves!

A few months ago, we noticed that our dishwasher wasn’t doing a very good job getting our dishes clean. We found we had to rewash much of what had gone into it. The kids, of course, blamed each other for the problem. "She didn’t rinse them right" and "She always loads them wrong," were often heard.

Well, it got so bad that clearly something was wrong with the machine, not just the humans running it. We inspected it and found it wasn’t spraying on the top. So, my husband and I searched the "University of YouTube" to find solutions.

We were amazed to find just what we were looking for: A video showing step-by-step how to solve our problem. We started taking apart the dishwasher to clean out the food grinder in the bottom.
As soon as we took apart the machine, we found the problem: Foreign objects stuck in the grinder mechanism.

Most notable was the large San Diego Zoo window cling, the popsicle stick, and the chicken bones that had somehow been dropped into the dishwasher and made their way through the drain. It was clear that dishes hadn’t always been properly scraped and that at some point toddlers of ours had dropped a few things in, too.

After cleaning it out, we had a working dishwasher again ... for a few days. Turns out we need to replace the grinder mechanism. So in the meantime, we have been doing dishes the old-fashioned way. It hasn’t been nearly as inconvenient as I expected it to be. As a bonus, my kids are getting a lot of practice!

In the beginning, the kids were good sports about it. I found that I enjoyed the time I got to spend with them. It was uninterrupted time. We would talk about things and sometimes could even be heard singing Christmas songs as we washed together. It wasn’t long, though, until the novelty wore off and now it is just another dreaded chore. Famous lines from our kids this past week:

"This isn’t clean, wash it again." Then of course the washer replies, "It is clean, you just aren’t rinsing right!"

"Ew, the water is gross! There’s floaties in it. I’m not sticking my hand in there!"

"The water’s too hot!"

"Mom! She’s not working fast enough."

"Hurry up ... we’ve been doing this forever!"

"Mom, she just dropped a glass in the sink and broke another glass and a plate. Now there is broken glass in the dish water with all the dishes! I think she’s just trying to get out of washing."

More often than not, though, I’ve found that this new task isn’t all that bad. When we aren’t working alongside the girls, we are often entertained by the conversations they carry on while they work. There are squabbles, but there are also moments of laughter and joking. The best part is, unlike the past, I’ve always got cupboards full of clean dishes!

Thankfully this has all happened during their time off from school, so they have more time to do chores. I’m not sure how well this will work when we are back to hours of homework every night, but hopefully by then they will have either gotten really efficient at washing them or we will have repaired the machine.

Either way, this is one chore battle that was worth following through on. The unexpected bonus: With all the soapy water they keep splashing on the floor, that area of my kitchen stays really clean!

Karen Thomas is a stay at home mom of four daughters, has been on the PTA board at her kids' school for four years, and is a volunteer at her church, in addition to her activities as a volunteer soccer referee, a piano teacher, and a runner. Her column will appear here every Thursday. Comments are welcome.


Post a Comment