A number of years ago I saw an advertisement in a magazine (perhaps for a kitchen appliance? I searched, but couldn’t find it) that showed a woman leaving a kitchen carrying a baked turkey, walking into a dining room filled with happy people. It was a wonderful, ideal holiday scene and what I noticed was this: The kitchen (in the foreground) was sparkling, clean and unfilled with dishes and dirty cookware.

And what I thought was this: No way.

Because every cook makes a mess (and the more lavish the meal the more complete the mess), this is impossible.

Lately, however, I’ve been changing my mind about this. Because there are other people besides the cook. So here’s the tip:

Dads, take an active roll in cleaning up the kitchen*, even before the meal is served.

Do you see the ingredients that have already been used? Put them away**.
Do you see the utensils that were used to create the pie? Wash them.
Do you see the extra food particles on the counter? Clean them up.

And then you can eat joyfully without all of it hanging over your head as you eat. And then clean-up will be less hopeless after your meal.

*Dads, if you are a cook for the hosted meal, or if there is no room for a cleaner-upper, or if your wife forbids you to do this, you may disregard this tip.

** Making sure that the cook is done with them, certainly.