THE FROG POND - Dishpan Philosopher


By Suzanne Mazer Stewart

Now, I consider myself to be a "modern" woman. I can surf the 'Net like a Big Kahuna, I don't leave home without my cell phone, if it weren't for microwaved leftovers, my husband probably wouldn't eat lunch most days and with 6 people in the house, NONE of them would eat if it weren't for the automatic dishwasher. There are times, however, when I feel I must get back to my roots, reconnect with myself and give something a good scrub.

My mother used to say she could solve half the world's problems over a good sink of dishes. She might not be right about the world in general, but I think I'm starting to understand what she was talking about. There are some advantages to doing things by hand, the old-fashioned, slow way. Psychologists have even done studies on it. But they didn't discover anything that women like my mom have known for generations. Everyday, ordinary, mundane handiwork can be VERY therapeutic.

Now, in today's world of hustle and bustle, noise and confusion, imagine if you will a place of relative quiet. Calm. A place where you can just get lost in thought without too many interruptions. That's my kitchen when I'm scrubbing the floor or washing the dishes. The kids stay out because they're all afraid I'll put them to work. My husband stays out because he knows he'll get yelled at for coming in. The cat doesn't come near the kitchen unless it's feeding time. So, for a few minutes, I get a reprieve from everyone. Ah, Heaven! I find the time and the quiet to get a little thinking done.

Before you start to doubt the quality of thoughts generated over dinner plates and dirty tiles, let me tell you a few of my world's problems I've solved while scrubbing. I came up with a way to finally potty train our little girl. I deduced how to let our oldest down easy regarding joining the soccer team. I figured out how to get my hubby to finish that little job he'd started 3 years ago, without nagging. Now, it's not world peace, but a little domestic bliss ain't all that bad, either.

So, what's the point of all this? Well, I often get asked how I handle 4 kids and a husband and a house and writing and all the other stuff that fills up my life. Most folks are absolutely astonished when I tell them, "I wash dishes." Now, after this, maybe they won't be. As for you, the next time you're feeling rushed or worried, perplexed or puzzled, or maybe just plain sick and tired, try scrubbing something. It might just do your world a world of good.

You may contact Suzanne at

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