How to find the joy in life again while not doing the dishes.

Environmentalists will probably hate me for this. Fellow lazy moms will love me. Why? Because I’ve made the switch.

Yes, the big ‘ol switch-a-roo. Not the Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman rom-com we all loved (or didn’t?). No, not that switch. I speak of the shift from ceramic to paper and plastic.

Yes, gone are the days of slaving away over the kitchen sink every evening. Gone are the days of putting the kids down and immediately waltzing into cleaning mode. Gone are the days of caring so much about what I eat off of.

I was a skeptic. It was the hubs’s idea. He wanted to make the switch, so one glorious Saturday he dragged me kicking and screaming into Costco to buy a hullabaloo of paper plates, cups and fine plastic utensils.

We came home and I still wanted to use the fake silver and the made-in-China china. Why? I can’t tell you, really. Rebellion? Maybe. I couldn’t stand the thought of someone coming over and seeing my paper plates? Maybe. Because I just loved doing dishes every night? Definitely not.

I spent a couple of months going halfsies. I would eat off the paper plates, yet use the normal silverware. I would drink water out of paper cups but use mugs for my coffee.

Then, I quit my job. Before, when both I and my husband worked, we often had a daytime nanny (totally legit, paid all of the taxes… so suck it, IRS). The daytime nanny did several household chores including keeping the sink empty and washing the children’s close. After I left the work force, I suddenly had to do many more household chores on my own; no more help from the daytime nanny. I realized the hubs was right. It wasn’t worth it. I was ready for the switch.

In making the switch, I’ve discovered a whole new way of approaching my evenings between the hours of 8-11pm. If this intrigues you or if you are thinking about making the switch yourself, here are five important activities I now have time for because I made the switch to disposable plates.

  1. Wine with a side of guilty-pleasure TV show.  I drink more wine now that I am a stay-at-home mom.  I just do.  Not a lot.  But now I have time for a couple of glasses per week.
  2. A hobby (for me, it’s writing and a little more of #1).   Having the kids in bed by 8:00pm and not having a boatload of dishes to clean frees up a couple of hours in the evening to work on something I enjoy.  The key word being “I”.
  3. Bubble baths and/or showers.  In general, just the whole act of finding time before bed to wash off the kid goo is really something special.
  4. Organizing things I wouldn’t normally organize.  I’ve become a little obsessed with having a cleaner kitchen.  Because of this, I spent my evenings cleaning the kitchen but nothing else in the house.  Now I have more free time to focus on other areas of general organization, paying bills, or actually folding clothes before the wrinkles set in.
  5. The dirty deed.  Sex.  Yep, the hubs definitely knew what he was doing when he took me that infamous day to Costco.  It was all part of a master plan.  I mean, think about it.  What woman wants to slave over the dishes and then get hot and heavy right after?  We don’t.  We just don’t, OK.  So stop trying at this time, men.  Please.  Either help us with the dishes or buy us paper and plastic.  Then we just may play along a little more in the evenings.

I know that this is not the most environmentally-friendly choice. For all of the benefits to our water supply, there is still a large infrastructure and environmental cost involved in transporting plate after plate from my garbage can to a landfill.

But life is full of choices.  I choose to drive a fuel-efficient car, and live close to town.  I choose to recycle all of my paper and plastic waste.  I choose to eat at home most of the time, and rarely throw away food.  While I’d love to do everything by the book, at some point you have to draw a line between what’s best for the environment and what’s best for your sanity. Because frankly, the dishes are done.