Superwoman in Dishwashing Gloves

I feel like I can pretty much do anything when I have on my rubber dishwashing gloves. In fact, I love that rubber glove manufacturers have caught on to the fact that some of us may want to be fashionable while doing dishes and make them available in fun colors and styles.  Sure, I have my share of basic yellow, but I also have purple and a pair with pink polka dots, in support/celebration of breast cancer survivors.

With my gloves on, I have super strength to open tightly screwed lids off jars and fearless ability to capture-n-release any rogue creepy crawly things that may be lurking in corners.  Perhaps the Tour de force is that when my gloves are on, my family knows that I’m off limits.

As in…

“Mom, can you get me a <drink>? <Or any random, miscellaneous request>

“Sure, as soon I’m done doing the dishes. My gloves are on. Or, you could try and get it yourself?”

“I’m not that thirsty anymore.”

And I’ve smiled on more than one occasion to hear my daughter yell over the angry banter of the Sports Reporters television program, “Hey, Dad, Mom can’t answer the phone, her gloves are on!” Voilà the next best thing to a secret cloak of invisibility!

(Of course there are occasional exceptions when I have to rip them off in a hurry to save the day and pull off some heroic feat that can’t wait an extra few minutes. But for the most part, it has become an informal rule in the house)

Fun colors aside, similar to Glenda’s advice to Dorothy about staying secure in the ruby-red slippers, dishwashing gloves have become my unsuspecting rubber suit of armor. Or my super power, depending on how you look at it.

You see, in my gloves is where I find every day peace. Cleaning the kitchen at the end of a busy day, doing dishes and wiping counters may seem to some people mindless drudgery. Instead, I find it to be mindful. I stumbled on that realization in the days when I was knee-deep in family caregiving. After exhausted days of working full time and running tasks for my own family and my elderly Dad, (i.e. Sandwich Generation) the simple act of putting on my gloves meant I had permission to slip into an easy, light concentration. It became a transition of sorts…to a calmer version of my over-extended self.

In my kitchen refuge, (albeit with piles of un-sorted junk mail stuffed into colorful bins) with gloved hands immersed in warm, soapy water, my mind stopped cycling through all of the things next on my to-do list. For a few mindful moments, I stopped worrying about all of life’s problems and simply enjoyed the comfort and familiar sounds of my household. In effect, I took care of myself by being content…and present.

Granted, my blissed-out kitchen cleanup is not the same joy-filled escape that I enjoyed in different times, when the call of family care was not the priority. But I knew the occasional wooded trail walk was still an option if I really needed that too.

These days, I also know something else…there are a lot of us Superwomen in dishwashing gloves! Maybe you find your superpower calm in the safe haven of your car, listening to music en route to work or running necessary errands? Maybe it’s in that magic elixir of coffee or tea, that refuels your mental, physical or emotional stamina? Maybe it’s connecting with your career, or friends and family about the silly little details of the day? Or in prayer? If you can, take a quick minute and share your rubber glove equivalent that allows the precious mindful moments in your life…

Sarabeth Persiani

Sarahbeth Persiani is the author of Run, Walk, Crawl- A Caregiver Caught Between Generations. For five years, Sarahbeth was the primary caregiver for her Father, who had dementia, while working full-time and taking care of her own family. As the founder of We Are Sharing the Sun, her focus these days is to help companies create a supportive culture for family caregivers and provide education, support and encouragement for working professionals who are themselves in the sandwich squeeze.