But I had a funny thought this morning and had to share. I've started putting away the clean dishes and rinsing off a new batch to throw in my dishwasher. Every. Morning.
I know you're probably thinking, you don't have time to do this, and that's fine. But let me tell you why I realized this is making me happier.
Let me start by telling you, my dog is weird, and won't eat unless I am in the kitchen where her food bowls are. And I stay where she needs me to be because she has me so well-trained. Before I started washing dishes every morning, I would stand there and glower at my situation thinking I could be doing something else. In reality, once she was done eating, I would check emails and watch some YouTube videos and get distracted. Before I'd know it, I'd need to get ready for work, and I hadn't accomplished anything. Which meant my To Do list was super long.
Sounds like a blast of self-hate and overwhelm, right? It was. Then I would come home, and my hubby wouldn't have done the dishes, and I'd be stressed out, because I can't make food, because the bowls are dirty, and I need to get some work done, and all I want is a cup of tea, but my favorite mug is gross in the sink, and if I'm going to clean that one, I have to clean the rest, and my whole night is ruined because I'm a damn slave and no one helps out ever. *deep breath*
I can get a little dramatic after working in retail for 8-12 hours at a time. Trust me, you can only hear "It won't scan, so it must be free." so many times before you snap.
Anyway, I was a grumpy mess all because of the damn dishes. There was something in my brain that made me feel like there is "too much to do" if the dishes were dirty. Meaning, I can't write, I can't journal, I can't do the things I love because I have to get that done. Total mental block.
A little while ago, I forced myself to wash the dishes while my dog ate her breakfast. I turned on an audio book, (I'm currently listening to Big Magic) and washed while I waited. I tried out some of the mindfulness exercises and let myself be in the moment. I let my mind enjoy the audio book, and I let my hands enjoy the warm water that feels amazing on achy joints. It took me legit 15 minutes to get the dishes in the dishwasher. My dog was done with her food, I had time to listen to a book I'd been meaning to take time for, and my favorite mug was clean.
This fifteen minutes ended up morphing into 20-30 because I've started cleaning my kitchen counters and table every morning too. And the best part is, I'm the only one up for the first two hours of my day. When I start my morning like this the kitchen is clean, and stays that way for hours. And that's all for me.
When I was younger, the idea of the woman barefoot in the kitchen was a derogatory thought. I rebelled against it hard, but I'm always barefoot now. Heels are the devil. And once I put that negative connotation from my mind, I've started to enjoy my barefoot mornings in the kitchen. Because it's my time. No one barges in and gets in my path to put things away. No one adds dishes to the pile making it too much to fit in the dishwasher, and I finish a task gladly that would have languished on my To Do List being avoided for much of the day.
My morning pages today were all about the realization that starting out my morning with a clean kitchen makes me happy. It was a weird thought to have for a feminist brought up fighting against being told to stay in the kitchen where I belong. But I'm owning it now. Because my clean kitchen in the morning is for me, and it's allowing me to free up my mental space to do the things I truly want to do.
I'm off to refill my coffee, appreciate my clean counters, and then I'm going to work on a story.
A book I read a long time ago said to start out your day tackling the most difficult task first. You need to get it out of the way and then the rest of the day would seem easy. I never in a million years thought my most difficult task would be dishes.
Do you have a chore or a task you dread doing? Or are you one of those clean freaks that is super organized and always has everything clean? We would not be able to share a living space, but I envy you.