Dishrag Diaries?

Ah! My first post! Well, truly, it’s about my thousandth post, but this one I’m typing instead of just writing it in my head. So it won’t be as good.

I had started a previous blog called ‘PerfectMommy,’ intending it to be a bit of a rant about how I was trying to mother perfectly, and all the things that kept getting in my way. But the timing wasn’t right, I wrote half a post and never published a thing. Now I’m a year older, a week or so wiser, and have a new perspective.

It hit me last night, cleaning up from dinner. I had just opened a new pack of dishrags. (Does anyone even remember dishrags?) They are very out of vogue nowadays, I suppose because of some nonsense about bacteria and not wanting to slosh it around your kitchen and rub it into your dishes. But I picked up a pack because (a) the colors look really nice in my kitchen, (b) I have approximately three hundred ‘20% off’ coupons from Bed, Bath and Beyond that can’t go to waste, and (c) my mom (who passed in 2002) used to have dishrags. (This is the one that really got me. Funny the things that inspire nostalgia…) I won’t use them for washing dishes, but my pack gives me one a day to use for the unending counter wipes, spill mop-ups, and so on.

Back to dinner clean-up last night: I was loading the dishwasher, packing away the leftovers, soaking the pots, etc., etc., etc., when my four-year old daughter came over with her gorgeous greasy hands and even more gorgeous face full of milk, taco sauce and… well, I don’t even know what else was on there but it was a mess. I’ve been trying to reduce my paper-towel usage but I usually allow myself one damp one after each meal to wipe down my girl. (Come on! I use the half-size ones!) And as I stood at the sink, dishrag in hand, I did what seemed so right and natural. I wiped her up with my dishrag.

Yes, the same one I used to clean the kitchen all day. The one that scrubbed the stove and mopped up what seemed like a gallon of coffee that morning. Mm-hm, in fact I did use it to clean out the toaster oven that morning, since you asked. And yes, the very one I used to wipe down the fridge shelves. It wasn’t until afterward that my me-ness kicked in (read: OCD, germophobia, weirdness about random things). The viruses! The bacteria! The salmonella!

But I stopped myself there because here’s the thing: I’m not perfect, and I can’t do everything perfectly. My daughter was dirty and I had a rag. And better than that, I had a dishrag like my mom used to have.

It seemed she had it at her side all the time, like some awesome dishrag-toting, homemaking cowgirl. And I guarantee you that she used that rag for any job that needed to be accomplished throughout the day – dusting the coffee table, cleaning dishes, removing finger-prints, carrying grapes, rat-tailing kids for being fresh – and then wiped every last one of our hands and faces after meals, and we all survived. (And I’m pretty sure, remembering the condition of her dishrags, that she didn’t have a handy 7-pack that allowed for a new one each day.)

So, it inspired me to begin Dishrag Diaries. It’s about trying to do things right, and learning to be OK with not, sometimes. It’s about connections being more important than perfection. (Hey, I just made that up! It’s pretty good, huh?) And this time I’m really going to do it. So, stick with me in this blog, and let’s learn from each other. I write about mothering, mostly, because that’s where I live right now. But inside of that is an entire world: food, discipline, cleaning, homemaking, marriage, faith…

I can’t do them perfectly.  My mother didn’t do them perfectly. But she was always working on it, dishrag in hand.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Corrie on November 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Love it! Can’t wait to read more.

    Reply

  2. Posted by noelle on November 9, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    if dishrags were good enough for valerie, they’re good enough for me!! 🙂

    Reply

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