Cornering the market on household tasks | Living with Gleigh

Contrary to popular belief, I do not have the market cornered on putting soap in the dishwasher, closing the door and pushing the wash button. My question to my family would simply be “Why?” Why eat cereal in a large, square, plastic, food storage receptacle rather than wash a cereal bowl? Why would you not see that the dishes are dirty, the dishwasher full and just start the dishwasher? You will eventually crave another bowl of cereal?


I’ve seen them perform this simple task before; sure maybe after I’ve told them to do it, but they are capable. For some reason it seems to be a job they have filed in the “do not touch mom’s personal property” file; as if I’d be insulted if they started the dishwasher without me.


When it comes to taking initiative on household tasks, I think members of my family are worried I’ll expect them to perform it every time it needs to be done; like I’ll stand in the kitchen, look at the dishwasher full of dirty dishes and think, “The younger generation just did this yesterday, I think I’ll call them in to do it again and forever after.”


Although I think the dishwasher should be a no-brainer, I understand their reluctance to commit themselves to this common-use area (not really, I’m just being facetious). But what about things that are totally their responsibility? It seems I should be able to assume they’ll pick up messes that they have created.


My youngest is making a costume for Comicon. Every evening, she goes into my bathroom to iron (the ironing board is hanging on the door) and although she unplugs the iron and pushes up the ironing board, she leaves everything else lying on the counter .


If I tell her to pick it up before she leaves the room, she’ll tell me, “The iron was hot” or “I’m coming back.” I understand what she’s trying to tell me, but it really can be put away hot: it’s not plugged in, it’s not going to combust the metal hook or the wall it’s hanging on. Besides, it only takes about 5 minutes to cool and it seems if I leave it all, she never comes back.


So when I go in to use the bathroom, I have to wind the cord up on the iron, hang it on its hook, pick up the towel and place it on the washer. It’s not like she has to take that towel across the house, the washing machine resides in the laundry hall pretty much right behind the ironing board. When I go back in there a couple hours later, I must repeat all the above actions once again.


Starting the dishwasher and picking up aren’t the only things I apparently run a cartel on: I find address labels and important papers sitting on top of the shredder. Am I the only one capable of shredding? I remember the days when I would entertain my daughters by letting them shred stuff.


I also have a monopoly on cooking, washing sheets, grocery shopping (except for ice cream and junk cereal), lawn mowing, appointment making, paying bills, throwing parties, letting the dog in, letting the dog out, and feeding the dog.


I have taught my family how to do these tasks, but for some reason they deem these my domain. Every once in awhile I’ll leave something laying around or not do the dishes, because I somehow think someone, somewhere will take the initiative and do it.


Then I walk into the kitchen and come to my senses: the dishwasher is empty, dirty dishes are sitting on the counter above it. Apparently I have the market cornered on that too.


Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She still has the market cornered on domesticity. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.” Her column is available every week at under the Lifestyles section.

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