My 2 year old son once scolded my husband for unloading the dishwasher. “No Daddy! Mommy do dat! Dose Mommy’s cups Dad! Dad, put dose cups back!” I was standing right beside him. He was really mad.
I wasn’t sure how to process that one. On the one hand, I thought it was kind of cute that he was trying to defend me in his weird sort of way. I get it. He has watched me load and unload the dishes from the dishwasher day after day after day his entire life. He thinks it’s MY job. He thinks that it will hurt my feelings if someone else does it. He was trying to protect me. He was upset because he thought someone else was threatening his mommy’s livelihood and ultimate reason for worldly existence. He was not going to sit by idly and watch it happen, not without at least putting up a good fight. Aww…thanks little buddy. That’s sweet.
On the other hand, I thought to myself, “Wow.” Does my son really think that I am the only one in the house (or maybe the world) who is capable of unloading the dishwasher? If so, what does this mean? Will he grow up to be “that guy” who belches loudly after a meal, pushes his plate to the middle of the table, and waits impatiently for “his woman” to clear it and bring him dessert…maybe rub his feet while she’s at it? What am I teaching him? Or maybe he’ll just live with me forever because he doesn’t think anyone else knows how to do the dishes…and then expect ME to be the one rubbing his feet?
How do I explain this to a toddler? Buddy, I’m not the only one on the planet who knows how to do the dishes. I do them a lot because I am here a lot. In addition, they are not my cups, they are probably your cups, so maybe you should think about putting them away? The truth is Buddy, lots of people know how to do the dishes. Your Dad even knows how! You should really watch him sometime. He loves it. He thinks it’s way cooler than fixing things with his tools, or changing the oil on the car, or cutting down tree branches with his chain saw. In fact, I think if you gave your Dad a choice, he would choose doing the dishes over any one of those other tasks every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Sometimes he dirties a cup or a bowl just so he can wash it. I’ve seen him do it. Have you? Oh that’s right, you have not. Well, I’m going to pencil it in on my calendar for next Tuesday, “Watch Dad do the dishes.” I’ll make popcorn.
Although, it’s touching that you think I possess a skill that no one else could possibly accomplish at the same level, I assure you that I will not dive into a deep depression if I am suddenly stripped of my title as “Primary Household Dishwasher.” And while not nearly as glamorous or rewarding, I have plenty of other skills to fall back on, trust me. Please know that I genuinely appreciate your concern and realize that it comes from a very pure place in your heart. However, I want to be perfectly crystal clear with you on this…I WILL BE OKAY if someone else unloads the dishwasher. For real.