Growing up, washing dishes wasn’t a big part of my life. My mom did the dishes at least as often as any of us kids, and with four of us, dish duty didn’t hit me all that often. Then I went to college, where I had a meal plan and I only had to put my dishes on a tray for someone else to wash. Occasionally I had to wash things after cooking in the dorm. Not a big deal.
Now I share an apartment with my husband, and I’ve come to understand just how much mess cooking and eating food makes. Pasta makes a colander and a pot and bowls and forks. Bread makes bowls and pans and measuring cups and spoons. Dinners that involve multiple food items like meat AND vegetables like healthy people are supposed to eat take even more.
As someone who always loved to bake and cook, this shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it didn’t seem like a big deal when I wasn’t the one consistently washing up.
Sometimes, creating things makes a mess. Other times, it is the mess.
The process of writing for me is messy. A lot of times I’ll type unconnected paragraphs as points occur to me and then put things in bold to double check and write the introduction in the middle then cut and paste and move things around until everything flows right. If I’ve been working on one document, by the time I’m done, you can’t tell how much of a mess it was an hour before.
Maybe that’s why I’m unprepared for cleanup. I want the completed project to be the final step, but it rarely is.
I’m learning to be okay with that. Cleaning up your own messes is a big part of being an independent and capable human being, after all. Besides, resenting the mess isn’t going to help when it’s my turn to wash tonight.