Dishes, Round 17: The Work-at-Home Journey by @ItsJustTami


Is it just me or has anyone else who works from home noticed the enormous amount of dishes that pile up? I could swear that I just emptied the dishwasher and now it’s full again. To be clear, there are just two of us living here, and only one works from home.

God bless those who can wear blinders and ignore the piles of dishes, laundry, dog hair, magazines and anything else that is a work distraction.

My blinders must not be big enough.

Yet there’s something more creeping in that is not conducive to being a productive, work-from-home entrepreneur.

It’s monotony. And it’s maddening.

Make food. Load dishwasher. Empty dishwasher. Make more food. Load dishwasher. Empty dishwasher.

I’m the first to admit that domestic skills are not my strong suit. Hubby will second that. We both shudder at the thought of my being a housewife.

Our home would be a mess, for sure. Meals would be haphazard, made up with whatever my hand pulled out of the fridge first. Maybe laundry would get done; maybe not. Dog hair would still be here; there’s no way to keep up with all this fur.

Chaos would reign.

It wasn’t that long ago when women had little choice other than to stay at home and try to be fulfilled with making food, doing laundry, washing dishes and caring for the family.

Don’t get me wrong; caring for family is a noble profession. But what if that was your ONLY choice, with no other options? Think of how you might feel.

My mom was one of those women who were caught between wanting a job and wanting a family. Her dream was to be a flight attendant. At the time, you had to be twenty-one to fly the friendly skies. She went to college while she waited for her age to catch up with her dream.

And she achieved it, flying for what was then Northwest Orient. Based in Seattle she flew to Tokyo and back, in the day – as she laughingly tells me – when there was no need for oxygen masks because the planes didn’t go high enough.

The stories she tells! Actually, some aren’t stories – I found her “stewardess handbook” and the spiral with her hand-written notes. While sort of humorous, they tell of a job situation that most of us would not tolerate.

Among other things, she had to memorize all the names of the mostly male passengers in her area and call them by first name. The handbook reminds the stewardess to smile, that the travelers have had a hard day and it’s the job of the stewardess to make the flight pleasant.

As a stewardess she hung up their coats on departure and returned them upon landing. Food and beverage service was continuous during the flight, not the current “one drink if you’re lucky” we have nowadays.

Mom says that she and her fellow stewardesses were expected to chat with the passengers and keep them entertained. Lipstick was a “must”. And here’s my personal favorite: each stewardess had to pass a pre-flight “girdle test” – the head stewardess would pinch to see if everyone was wearing her girdle.

Heaven forbid a stewardess would be comfortable, much less able to move quickly in the event of an emergency.

And the unwritten “rule” that if you sat on the pilot’s lap you were allowed to fly the plane. Wrong, on so many levels.

Yet this was her dream job and she loved it. She was seeing the world, during a time with few career options for women.

Her other dream was to be married and have children. Funny thing about her dreams; they were mutually exclusive.

Stewardesses had to be single. Mom had a choice to make: stay with the airline or get married.

She gave up one dream for another, getting stability and the children she wanted. It also gave her monotony. She never, ever, said this. But I know it was there. I saw her look wistfully out the window as she loaded the dishwasher for the umpteenth time.

Every once in a while I get frustrated by the monotony of the dishes. Or the laundry, or the dog hair or whatever household chore seems to sidetrack me from work. Sometimes I long for the day of leaving the house to go to an office again, simply to escape the monotony that seems to accompany my at-home working arrangement.

Then I remember that as a career woman I have a choice. I am an entrepreneur, a woman who made the choice to have a job where I work from home. This is a gift, something that my mom didn’t have.

Yes, it can be difficult – the house may not be as clean as we’d like. It’s hard to work sometimes when the dog wants your attention. Those with kids need to manage work versus play time. And yes, dishes are a never-ending cycle.

Yet it’s an advantage I want to appreciate. We don’t have to choose between dreams, like mom did.

That’s worth every dish.


About Author

A Dallas-based marketer, public relations consultant, motivational speaker and mentor, Tami Cannizzaro found herself facing a minor identity crisis after a layoff. She chronicled her experiences navigating this journey on her blog, leading to the book Tales of the Terminated®: A Humorous Look at Life After a Layoff, available on Follow Tami on Twitter: @ItsJustTami

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  1. Pingback: Dishes And Other Monotony

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