Life with teenagers: The washing-up saga

by DannyUK

The title may be slightly misleading, as this entry isn’t about teenagrers perse, but kids in general.

I’ve blogged before about the ongoing saga that is the cutlery in my house (Where do all the teaspoons go?), but in the 18 months since then, the problem has progressed from teaspoons to anything that resides in the cutlery drawer. Or rather anything that SHOULD reside in the drawer.

I accept that with five of us being at home, perhaps having 8 of everything isn’t enough. I mean, it should be, right? But we all have those days where we can’t be bothered to wash up the spoon that was used before, so we just take another one.

The problem that this brings is that when several people do it, the clean cutlery runs out quickly. More so when the kids are happy to substitute a teaspoon for a dessert spoon rather than washing up anything.

The problem is compounded by the sheer lack of skills exhibited when it comes to washing up.


I’m sure we’ve all heard the old adage of the newly-married couple, where the groom offers to do the washing up on their first night together (which shows just how old the story is. Imagine not living with someone until you marry them these days!).

The story goes that the groom graciously offers to wash up, but in doing so manages to smash two glasses, a cup and three plates due to nothing more than being clumsy. His exasperated wife quickly stops him before he does any more damage, and, as a result, takes over the nightly washing up duties for the rest of her life.

Years later, when the couple has kids, the dad takes his son to one side on the morning of his wedding, telling the story above. “Just make sure you break as many things as possible - and may it look like an accident - and you’ll never have to do the washing up again!” he reveals with a grin.

Unfortunately, I genuinely believe that my kids aren’t doing it on purpose.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I have heard them boast that they have done the washing up, only to go to the drying board to find that almost everything still has a layer of grime on it and needs rewashing.

Only last night, the 12-year-old was asked (ok, made) to redo the washing up twice as it was so disgusting.

One spoon that I picked up - supposedly clean from being washed - had what looked like half a centimetre of peanut butter smeared around it still.

I’ve even taken to giving individual lessons in how to wash up. These lessons include making sure the water is clean and hot, ensuring that plates are rinsed under the tap to get rid of any residue like ketchup (yuk), making sure that pressure is applied to the sponge when it is used to clean, as opposed to wafting it vaguely across the surface of whatever happens to be dirty, and also rinsing off any excess soap once everything is completed.

These lessons have amounted to pretty much nothing, and I continually find myself either shouting for the washing up to be redone or redoing it myself, all the time raging.

I can’t wait for the day that I can afford to move to a bigger place. Some people dream of more bedrooms or a bigger garden. Me? I just want a kitchen that has a dishwasher. That would solve a lot of problems.

Until then I have stumbled across a new solution. The wi-fi password.

I am going to change the wi-fi password to something that only I know, and I won’t reveal the password until all of the washing up is done.

This is guaranteed to work, as everyone knows that kids can’t live without wi-fi. Or there’ll be a mutiny.


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