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How My Kitchen Stayed Clean

Messy Dirty Kitchen

How My Kitchen Stayed Clean

No one wants to walk into a kitchen that is full of dirty yucky after a day at work and start to make dinner. Dishes are not my favorite thing to do, I’ll admit, but it’s just a part of life, and I love the feeling of a clean kitchen and clutter-free countertop. After countless arguments about household chores with my ADHD husband, especially the dishes, my kitchen is finally staying clean. Well, cleaner.

For my ADHD partner, I know that dishes are difficult—it goes really deep on this topic for him. If I gently ask for more help doing the dishes or ask him to take a turn today, it results in a blow-up and a list of all the other things he helps with. 

Recently, My ADHD partner and his new ADHD coach invited me to a meeting with them. When I was given the opportunity to voice what I needed help with from my husband, I honestly didn’t know what to say. My head flooded with doubt and quickly replayed my husband’s frustrated tone about how I always say he doesn’t do anything around the house. By the way, I know I have never said those words. He is helpful in many ways. Somehow, I reached an example of how I often feel exhausted and defeated when it comes to the kitchen. It is common I spend 8 or more hours on a Saturday cleaning only the kitchen. Then by Sunday evening, it is back the way was—every inch of the counter covered with dirty dishes, spoiled food, wrappers, etc. It would remain this way most of the week no matter how hard I try.

The ADHD coach followed up with ‘maybe there is a rule that nothing gets put on the counter.’ Yeah, you know how many times I’ve tried: let’s just put dirty dishes right into the dishwasher, or let’s use the sink for dirty dishes instead of the counters, everything should have a home, etc. The result was usually a fight,  reasons why that is not ideal for him, how I am the A**hole for putting a rule over him, my expectations are unrealistic… I could keep going.

Anxiety and fear flooded me as the ADHD coach elaborated on this new ‘nothing gets put on the counter’ rule. Deep breath. I expressed my feelings and explained how this rule and any others can’t be made by me and they would need to work these out together. Setting rules, or actually trying to agree on them, would result in a heated argument and above mention list where I am the a**hole.

Later that evening I casually stated that I like that rule the ADHD coach mentioned. That was all.

My kitchen has been clean for 5 days. This is the longest I have ever seen my kitchen countertop. I’m not joking.

It took for someone else, a neutral third party, to set that expectation and rule. I don’t know how long it will last. I’m hopeful it will last f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  Nearly ten years of fighting about dishes and having a disgusting kitchen. Nearly ten years of me cycling through patterns of trying to keep up with the mess (positive self-talk), trying to accept it (depressed and angry), and giving up because I really couldn’t keep up (anger and resentment). All it took was for someone else to suggest the rule. WTF. 

As the non-ADHD partner, my eyes are open even wider to a battle I don’t want to be a part of and that isn’t logical in my  brain. I love my husband so I try to separate what is him and what is the ADHD. He and his new ADHD coach can have this battle. I will express my feelings, try my best to not react, detach with love, and support his management of his ADHD. This week, and hopefully longer, I will enjoy my clean kitchen.

As the non-ADHD partner, what works to keep your kitchen clean?

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