So, I need the insight and advice of all you wise women.
I have not mentioned the kitchen much in relation to my purging of ALL THE THINGS, mostly because I’m not quite sure how to proceed in that space. So far I have avoided even thinking much about it; I’m completely flummoxed as to how I should proceed.
You see, the kitchen is my husband’s domain. He is basically in charge of everything kitchen related. He cooks (usually). He does the dishes. He does the grocery shopping, keeps tabs on what we have and what we need, makes the shopping lists and cleans out the fridge. He organizes the pantry and manages the cabinets. The kitchen, in its entirety, is his thing.
How that came to be is a long story, and not all that relevant to the situation at hand, except in that it works for us and I don’t want to change the current dynamic. I appreciate that there is one part of the house that is not mine to manage. I do pretty much everything else (including actually cleaning the kitchen), but I have learned not interfere in my husband’s domain.
That’s not to say that there aren’t problems with the arrangement. I’m almost never happy with the state of the kitchen and most of the time it’s actually pretty stress-inducing. To be fair, the food part of it is fine–we always have what we need and I am never frustrated with my husband’s ability to keep the fridge and pantry stocked. And it should be said that while the kitchen is generally in a state of disarray, we usually have clean plates, glasses and silverware when we sit down to eat. It’s the dishes in the sink and the cluttered counter tops that stress me out. The kitchen always looks like it needs a good hour long cleaning session, but I almost NEVER do any work in there because I know that if I start, I’ll create a situation where I resent my husband for all the work he doesn’t do.
I let the kitchen remain a mess so that we can both feel good about what we each contribute to the housekeeping. It’s not ideal, but it works for us.
Now, with the rest of the house looking neater and tidier, the state of the kitchen is causing me more and more distress. The sink full of dishes and the counter tops covered in cook wear really bother me. Whereas before I never mentioned the kitchen because I respected it as my husband’s domain, now I find myself fighting the urge to nag him about when he’s going to do the dishes or wipe down the cutting board table. So far I’ve kept my comments to myself, but I don’t know how long I can hold my tongue.
I know we still need to purge in that space, and that getting rid of stuff there will help the general feeling of “ugh” I get every time I walk into the kitchen, but I doubt a cleansing removal of all the superfluous stuff will magically make my husband do the dishes more frequently. And yet, I can tell that as the rest of the house comes together, the perpetual mess in the kitchen will stress me out.
So what is a wife to do? Do I just sit back and let my husband do his thing and learn to accept that which I cannot change (serenity prayer anyone?)? Do I ask him to try to keep the kitchen in line with the rest of the house? Do I wait silently and hope that seeing the rest of the house in better shape will inspire him to keep the kitchen in better shape too? I want the whole house to feel welcoming, and the kitchen is a huge part of the house. At the same time, I don’t want to take on more work, or ruin the balance my husband and I have found in this arrangement.
So how would you proceed? Your sage wisdom is much appreciated.