What is it about having a messy kitchen that drives me crazy?
Maybe it’s the one room of the house that I feel I can have some kind of control over (even though I clearly do not). Maybe it’s the satisfaction of the gleam of the spotless countertops (even if only for a few minutes). Maybe it’s the therapy that I crave from the soothing sound of the running water and the warmth of the soapy water as I wash dishes in the sink.
Every morning when we all sit together for breakfast, I inevitably have a staredown with the mess we created the day before and wonder why we didn’t clean it up before we went to bed.
Answer: because we wanted to finally relax together and watch another episode of whatever it is we’re currently binging. With a snack. In bed. (I share this because I know you’re not judging.)
Without fail (and albeit rather tortuous to myself), I promise to clean up the kitchen at some point during the day.
Most days, I get it started but never finish. But there are some magical days that I actually do. It’s like all the stars aligned that I had the time to make this happen. It truly feels like an accomplishment worth celebrating (but not with food, at least right away). And afterward, as I bask in the glory of my clean kitchen, I imagine my hubby walking in the room and stopping in his tracks to tell me how amazing it looks (because it does).
Reality: He usually doesn’t say anything, and for some reason, I feel the need to fish for a small compliment for a bit of validation in what I thought was worth it. (I know that this is completely unnecessary, but it still feels good to have the hard work acknowledged.)
This note is for all the mamas who are forever cleaning your kitchens like I am. Because I know I’m not alone. No matter if you cook, if you get take-out, or if you’re gone all day. This note is for the mamas whose partners are not the “need validation” types and forget that you might be.
I see you. And I want you to know you’re doing an amazing job.
Whether you give in and decide to clean the kitchen so you can have something to eat on or if you decide to continue ignoring the mess and bring out the paper plates–either way, you’re awesome. What you’re doing every day – all of the tiniest things that add up to the busiest days – matters and is valued and deserves all the recognition.
At the end of the day, who cares about how the kitchen looks? It might drive you crazy one day, but the moments you had chasing your kids through the sprinkler were more worth it. The half an hour you gave yourself just to sit and zone out or to read a quick chapter of that book that has been sitting on your nightstand for far too long (acting more like a coaster these days) was more worth it. The mess that you make means you’re putting in the hard work. It’s love and nourishment. It’s meals together with the ones you love.
The kitchen isn’t going anywhere. The dishes won’t walk off in protest just yet. There’s always another day.