The Dishes In The Sink

A couple of week ago, I mentioned a fight I had with Roger, a fight that I have been fighting most of my life, but with different people... who is going to wash the dirty dishes in the sink? because it is not going to be me.

When I was around 8, my mom made it my chore to wash all the dirty dishes. I cried, I fought, I kicked and screamed. She told me that my younger sister could be my helper, she was 5. Sister #3 is and has always been the sister I get along with best, so I dragged her down with me. And we would complain every day about having to wash the dirty dishes.

As I got older, I got to pick other tasks. I could make the meal for everybody, and somebody else would have to wash the dishes. I learned how to cook a Mexican chicken soup when I was 12, to keep from washing the dishes.

When I was in high school, I had 2 jobs, so the dishes were not my responsibility, because my job was to bring in money to buy groceries.

In college, I was in heaven. I never had to do dishes! I ate at the commons, and they took care of dishes. When I started working at the commons, in the year and a half I stayed at that job, I only helped in the washroom once.

When I got married, I made a deal with my then husband. I will make dinner, but he had to wash the dishes. He sucked at washing the dishes, and I used to be a perfectionist. So it became my job to do both, make dinner and wash the dishes. This, among many other things, started a giant pile up of resentments towards him. When my son was a baby, I used to wash all his bottles by hand, to then steam them. I cried many nights at the sink, while my then husband laid in bed watching TV. I cried because I was dead tired, but refused to step up and demand that he helped me, it felt like I would be weak to ask for help.

After our divorce, my apartment had a dishwasher, and I would rarely wash things by hand. If any dishes every develop any mold from food being in it too long, I dump them. That's why I don't have plastic containers.

When I moved in with Roger we made a deal, I would wash the dishes if he made dinner, and he would wash dishes if I made dinner. the thing that I hate second most after washing dishes, is making dinner. I'm a brat. I know.

That agreement felt apart quickly, and we both started doing our own dishes. Occasionally, if I was going to bed, and there were dishes in the sink, it didn't matter who they belonged to, I would just wash them and leave the sink empty. Until a couple weeks ago.

I came home, tired from working on audits and files all day. In the sink I found a plate my son had used the night before, and a cup I had used that morning. I flat out asked Roger "Do our dishes have cooties? Why didn't you wash them?" to which he answered "I am not the maid, those are your dishes". I lost it. Fight ensued. and I told him that I would never ever wash a single dish or spoon of his.

I thought my fight was stupid, but yesterday at work, two co-workers were telling me about the same fights with their husbands/partners. One said that she got so mad at her husband's refusal to do the dishes, that she unplugged his TV, and took the cable box and hid it until he washed the dishes. That had us laughing so hard ! Our other co-worker said that she felt bad demanding for her partner to do the dishes because he worked hard at work all day. We reminded her that she worked hard too, and that deserved respect too and that she had to come to an agreement with him on who is responsible for what.

I could say that life is too short to fight about washing dishes, bur really, life has more dirty dishes in the future, and if we are lucky we will have them for the rest of our life. So it's worth coming to an agreement about. An agreement that will make everybody in the house feel valued, and content.

Who does the dishes in your house?

Do you like how other people do the dishes?

Do you have a dishwasher?


  1. Yes, I do have a dishwasher and I hate the task of loading I would rather wash dishes by hand. My husband says I'm not good at loading a dishwasher because I did not play Tetris as a child and therefore can not place things to use all available space!
    My husband puts dishes in the sink to "soak" and that drives me crazy cus the stuff he puts in does not need to soak. Just wash it and be done with it..haha! I wouldn't care if someone didn't wash my dishes but if someone just threw dishes in the sink with the expectation that I was suppose to wash them, we'll now that would irritate me!

  2. I don't have a dishwasher that works so I am usually the dishwasher. My hubby will cook, but we also grab food out a few times a week, so it is not like an everyday duty like dishes. Even if we eat out, their are containers from work lunch, water bottles, etc...
    It is really about splitting the load of work isn't it?! I have cat duty everyday several times a day and which includes sweeping litter, scooping, and wiping things down, and changing puppy pads my older cat uses.I spend easily an hour day on this total and I get resentful when i feel like no one will help me with other things that should be done daily.

  3. This is how I look at it, sometimes it's NOT about the dishes. If Paul says he'll clean the house within the next 3 days and he doesn't do that, sure, I'm annoyed the house is still dirty, but also, it makes me feel like he doesn't care how him not holding up his end of the deal makes me feel! So it's about more than the dishes. It's about respect!


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