In these days of entitlement and helicopter parenting, I feel it is of vital importance to teach our youth about responsibility and independence.  Like any well-intentioned (and disillusioned) parent, I insist upon my children cleaning up after themselves and helping out around the house.  My boys, they are a wealth of knowledge they are, and I fully expect them to share this wealth in teaching their younger sister how to help with kitchen chores.  I’m proud to share the discerning advice my teenage boys bestowed upon their baby sister in teaching her acceptable methods for loading a dishwasher:

  1. “Just so you know, the dishwasher is a what, not a who. I know, I was confused at first too.”
  2. Make sure all the dirty cutlery is stuffed into the very first basket, leaving the remaining baskets entirely empty for no apparent reason whatsoever.
  3. Those prongs in the dishwasher rack? They’re apparently just a guideline.
  4.  Loading the dishwasher with greasy hands from eating pizza means less dishes to load… guaranteed.
  5. It’s better to feign ignorance later than ask for instructions now.
  6. “Do not empty school lunch containers of their left-overs; the dishwasher has a built-in garbage disposal.  Well, ok, it should”.
  7. “It’s not important to rinse off the dishes but if you do, make sure the faucet sprays tap water and food bits all over the kitchen window.  Extra points if you can reach Mom’s curtains.”
  8.  “Mom loves it when you use her electric toothbrush to get out that soured milk at the bottom of the glass.”
  9. “What are you talking about?! Of course it’s dishwasher-safe!”
  10. If the fork, spoon or knife has only been used once, it can go back in the cutlery drawer – don’t fall into their bourgeois trap about “clean” and all that.”
  11. When the food is really good and dried and caked on, apparently  Great-Gram’s [heirloom] carving fork works really well.
  12. Breaking my wine glasses is part of their seditious strategy to get me to stop drinking so much wine.  They won’t admit it, but I know their plan.

These kids are WIPs (works-in-progress) and it takes a lifetime to build a masterpiece. After all, Rome … blablabla. As you can appreciate, I’m not yet pushing them to do the laundry but we are working on vacuuming (“I know you’ve grown attached to it my dear, but that is a dust bunny, not a pet.”).

20 Responses to The Dishwasher Doctrine – Tips from a teenager…

  • Love it.

    Do they remember the soap? If so, do they get it into the soap thingy or just throw some in?

  • Your toothbrush?!? REALLY?!?! Funny post!

  • Hilarious! Of course, my husband goes in after me and rearranges the dishwasher because I didn’t load it right, so who am I to judge?

    I have often bit my lip because if I’m too critical, I won’t get the help that I want…at the same time, these details make a difference. It’s hard to strike the balance! I guess all we can do is laugh about it!

  • Astra, this is hilarious although it does bring back back traumatic memories of former step-children. Do your boys have any insights into the psyche of individuals who prefer to wash their dishes by hand rather than use their dishwashers? My former neighbour stored her towels in hers. Also: I will go through your archives to check, but can you tell me: have you written on the topic of the great balancing act that teenagers undertake: laying garbage on strategic angles (like a game of Jenga or Tipsy Towers) to avoid having to be the one to tie up the bag and take it out to the garage?

    • Allyson, my older brother always preferred hand-washing to machine-washing ([in a whisper:] I think it’s a control thing!).
      If I am ever successful at getting my kids to NOT put an empty milk container in the frig, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to get them to take the kitchen garbage out to the garage. Right now, that’s a stretch 🙁
      Thanks for stopping by!!

  • Well ladies my husbands sight or disregard…for chk if the dishes have already gone through the cycle….The washer is bulging at the seams….sparkling clean and he always “I mean always”manages to find a spot for his late empty glass of milk…lets just say my dishes literally you can eat off of after the second wash!
    Anyone with a second cupboard sydrome?

  • We’re soon moving to a place that doesn’t have a dishwasher. I am panicking already!

  • Astra, I love it! I say it’s never too early to indoctrinate them in the fine art of housekeeping. Some day, your future daughters in law will thank you! Me? I take all the help I can get. Sadly, it’s not much but I have been trying to train Roxy to run the vacumn cleaner. The dust bunnies in our home are taking over! Help! 🙂

  • Just FYI – this so called “knowledge” applies to husbands as well. It’s built into the male DNA, devious little buggers that they are. I hope you buy your wine glasses by the case.
    Thanks for the chuckle!

    • I’m not convinced that it’s just the male DNA… though my daughter is far more intuitive when it comes to actually emptying the dishwasher (that’s a whole other post!).

  • Hysterical. I love the way your words painted the scene in the kitchen.

    My favorite is the dirty clothes on the floor and how mine can step over them for days and them come to me and say they have nothing to wear and why haven’t I washed clothes. Really? Are you clothes in the hamper I might ask. I get the blank stare. My only hope is when they leave my home they’ve picked up, at least subconsciously, the basics in life. Good hygiene, don’t eat with your fingers or talk with a full mouth, pick up our clothes off the floor, and please don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. I’ve been married way too long and the hubs, still leaves dirty water in the sink. One day…

  • The thing with my boys and the vacuum is that they figure if they run over it long enough eventually it will be sucked into the dang thing. Meanwhile I’m over in the corner screaming in my head, “pick it up…for pete’s sake…just pick up the blasted thing.” LMBO

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About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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