I don’t like washing dishes. It’s hands-down my least favorite chore, but I’ve learned that having a clear sink helps keep me from being stressed in the mess of my home. I don’t think it’s the act of washing dishes that I don’t like. It’s more so how much time it takes to wash the dishes. After all, time is something we’ll never get back.
Then, a life-changing thing happened. My therapist convinced me to use a dishwasher, and my life hasn’t been the same since.
A dishwasher is in just about every home and is used daily by millions of people I’m sure, but I wasn’t a part of that number up until recently. You see growing up, we were not a dishwasher family. My mom washed all our dishes by hand, and when my brother and I were old enough, hand-washing dishes was one of the chores added to our list.
Fast forward to becoming an adult — I continued that habit with the exception of one time in college. Due to my lack of experience with using it, I added Dawn dish soap to the dishwasher. I’m sure you can imagine what happened next. The kitchen was filled with soap bubbles. I did not have a fun time cleaning that up, and I went on to never touch a dishwasher again until years later.
A few years ago, I decided to go to therapy. No, I didn’t go to therapy due to my hate of washing dishes, but it contributed heavily to the stress I later learned. During one of our many sessions, I was causally discussing my nighttime routine. My therapist stopped me in my tracks when I mentioned how the thought of doing dishes every night caused me so much anxiety. I knew had to get it done though. I couldn’t go to sleep with dishes in the sink because doing so would attract uninvited critters. So, I tiredly stood at the sink, night after night, sometimes with tears in my eyes, hand-washing each and every dish.
Our conversation went a little like this:
Me: “I dread dinnertime because I know shortly after comes washing dishes.”
Therapist: “Do you have a dishwasher?”
Therapist: “Have you considered using your dishwasher? This is a tool created to help people out just like you.”
Naturally, I pushed back.
Me: “No, I can’t use a dishwasher. I have to wash my dishes by hand.”
Therapist: “Why do you think that?”
Me: “That’s what I’ve always done. We don’t use dishwashers.”
Clearly, I wore hand-washing my dishes as an invisible badge of honor and motherhood.
Therapist: “Kayla, your assignment for the next week is to use your dishwasher every night. Come back next week and let me know how it made you feel.”
I can’t lie. I did give her some pushback at first because I was thinking, “I’m paying you to help me solve my problems, and you have the nerve to tell me to go home and use my dishwasher. How is that supposed to help me?” But I agreed. I gave her the benefit of a doubt because she is a professional after all.
So when I left, I pulled into the parking lot at Target and soared the Internet for all the things needed to successfully complete my first load. I went in, purchased the items, and then headed home to complete my assignment.
This may sound a bit dramatic, but using the dishwasher changed my life. I went from spending about five hours a week hand-washing dishes to roughly one hour loading and unloading the dishwasher. At the end of each night, I realized that I was less anxious, less stressed, and I had more time at night to spend with my family.
I couldn’t wait to attend the next session to let my therapist know just how much using a dishwasher had helped me. Little did I know, I didn’t have to utter a word when I arrived. She could tell instantly when she saw me, and she said that she could see that weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
I never looked back. Loading the dishwasher has become a part of our nighttime routine. Our dishes get washed, and I’m still able to go to bed and wake up a lot less stressed.
As mamas, we deserve all the help we can get — even if that comes from doing something we swore we never would.
When is the last time you implemented a new system that helped you save time?