By the end of the day, any given day, the kitchen/dining room in my house is a big mess. The sink is always piled with dishes, there’s spilled food and drink on the table and the floor and inevitably there is leftover food that needs to be packed up and refrigerated so it doesn’t spoil. This is true even if I have been on top of the maintenance of the kitchen throughout the day.
There are two truths that accompany this situation. 1: I wholeheartedly dislike doing dishes and cleaning up food. I have done my share of it in my life both as a professional busser/server and as an adult who uses a kitchen and has children to feed. Regardless of the high quality professional skills I possess, I still don’t like it. 2: I really enjoy having a clean kitchen, having food properly stored, and I especially love waking up to an inviting space in which my family can enjoy coffee and breakfast.
Standing at the sink the other night, looking around at the dirty pots, pans, plates, and flatware I had this thought: what if I just left this here and dealt with it in the morning? I could go get into my favorite leopard print jammie bottoms and go sit on the couch and watch Outlander. Both of my children were sleeping (at the SAME TIME) and my husband was already settling into his chair in the living room. I could join him, put my feet up and watch a show. I would love it. Then in my mind I heard the words of Arnold Lobel’s beloved friends, Frog and Toad. The story Tomorrow, found in Days With Frog and Toad (1979), perfectly illustrated my feelings; my inner Toad began to butt in, telling me that tonight I could “take life easy,” that tomorrow I would clean up the mess that was strewn before me. Then my inner Frog piped up reminding me that tomorrow would make for a more difficult day if I had to start it with old dirty dishes and yucky food. Just as Arnold Lobel would have wanted, I played into the conversation in my mind.
“Frog,” I could hear my inner Toad say, “If I wash my dirty dishes right now, then I will not have to wash them tomorrow, will I?”
“No,” replied my inner Frog, “You will not have to.”
Well dang it if that darling children’s story didn’t hit the nail on the head. I bucked up. I took the next 30 minutes and cleaned the kitchen. I did a good job too — I even oiled the cast iron pans and swept under the table.
I still got to enjoy some quality jammie and couch time before I fell asleep, and I loved it. The best part though, was waking in the morning and feeling like I had set the stage to take life easy. I sat in that feeling for nearly a full 10 minutes before a glass of milk was knocked over and bagel with cream cheese was dropped face down on the floor.