A Mantra Amongst The Dishes

Less complaining, more doing.

This phrase popped into my head this morning as I was cleaning up dishes left on our dining room table by our daughters who had to rush to get out the door to make the bus. My initial reaction when I saw the dishes? Rolling my eyes and mumbling to myself about how the kids always leave stuff laying around and don’t care about our house.

I carried the glasses and plates to the sink, a scant ten foot walk. I froze in front of the sink, my hands full of things left behind, four words blazed in my mind’s eye.

Less complaining, more doing.

It took me less than five seconds to migrate the dirty dishes from the dining room to the sink. Five whole seconds. For the duration of this laborious effort, I bitched. A pissy version of me outright accused my girls of being lazy.

Never mind that they were in a hurry to not miss the bus.

Never mind that they are both mildly sick and a little out of sorts as a result.

Never mind that I’d been sniffling for the past few days, allowing crankiness to set in.

There I stood, surveying the objects in my hand. Was it really a big deal that I had to pick up a few things? Not at all. In fact, it was something helpful. Something kinetic that made things easier for everyone. Yet I took that opportunity and turned it into a means to lament another thing that needed to be done that someone else could have taken care of, instead of seeing it for what it really was: an act of doing. Of helpfulness.

For too long I was in the rut of private protest whenever I had to some menial household task to finish up that clearly someone else (namely, my able-bodied children) could have done, but chose not to. I groused and grumbled complaint and disappointment to myself, which only made the rut deeper and harder to get out of. The stress of our house went up tremendously. Our kids didn’t understand why, other than I was being grumpy AGAIN.

What were the major crimes they were committing? Wanting to spend more time with their mom. Finishing up some show or movie they were watching. Working on a world in Minecraft that they had been feverishly working on for days. Reading. Texting friends. Just being a kid. All egregious offenses, clearly.

In our house, we talk frequently about being helpful and mindful. My wife and I want to instill the desire to help others in our children. Here was a perfect opportunity to practice what we were preaching for years, and I was failing spectacularly at it.

Less complaining, more doing.

I set everything in the sink where Jillian prefers them, instead of on the counter like I normally would. I looked about, to see what other ways I could help in the short amount of time I had before I had to leave for work.

I scrubbed what I could out of a dirty crock pot, then filled it with soap and water to soak.

I replenished the cats’ food dispenser.

I cleaned the dining room table.

These are seemingly small tasks, but they are steps toward that epiphany that I want to make my mantra.

Less complaining, more doing.

In those simple maneuvers, I felt better. I felt helpful and useful.

Now the challenge is to adhere to my new mantra. Being human, I’ll undoubtedly slip up here and there. I’m hopeful that by doing more, I’ll indeed complain less. I’m certain my family will prefer less complaints and grumpiness from me and my rut. Who knows? Maybe they’ll join me in doing more.

Dare to dream.


The Exciting Holiday Adventures of Peptoman!


Out of nowhere, the call to action came. And Peptoman was ready.

He prepared himself for the descent. With his trusty chewable and capsule weapons strapped to his belt, he jumped down the esophageal slide to face the danger that we was sworn to fight.

Peptoman plunged into the stomach pool that signaled the end of his ride down. He began his search for threats that were causing all the upheaval his benefactor felt. He started wading towards the exit to the intestinal halls when a sinister voice boomed, “Peptoman! So we meet again!” followed by a cackling laughter.

He whirled around and saw his nemesis: Doctor Ham. Doctor Ham wore a greasy smile and rubbed his meaty hands together. Peptoman was not surprised. After all, it was the holiday season. Doctor Ham was a foe he had faced many a time, especially during the festivities this time of year. And every time he’d faced Doctor Ham, Peptoman prevailed. He’d have to be on his toes, but he wasn’t worried.

“And yet again, you’ll meet your demise!” Peptoman roared back, confident and full of swagger.

“Ah, I see you think you have the upper hand. Indeed, in the past you have. That’s why I brought a few friends…” Doctor Ham let that last sentence hang.

A huge rumble sounded off to Peptoman’s right as a monstrous THING rose from the pool. It towered over him, covering him in shadow. Whatever it was, it didn’t seem to have a form. Mostly it resembled a small mountain.

“Prepare to meet your doom…from Potatolanche!” Doctor Ham gleefully exclaimed.

A hole opened up in the middle of this mashed potato monster and it roared. LOUDLY. Then it began to tumble down upon itself, rushing at our hero with incredible speed and force, closing on him fast.

But Peptoman was faster. He sprang into the air while grabbing a chewable from his belt. He broke it into four pieces and flung them into Potatolanche. They hit their target and were absorbed into its bulk. He aimed himself at the gaping maw, he threw a full chewable into the roaring thing’s mouth. He stretched up to fly over the mass of potatoes that were trying to swallow him. Then a series of explosions erupted, blowing hunks of Potatolanche everywhere. The mountain screamed, then it burst apart and splattered, thanks to the final chewable doing its job.

Peptoman landed back in the pool as the last of Potatolanche settled next to him.

He looked to Doctor Ham and said “Is that all you’ve got?” a smile of victory on his pink face.

“Not by a long shot. Let’s see how you deal with…The Pied Pieper!” He clapped his slimy hands together, then a dozen or so triangular shapes darted past him, zeroing in on Peptoman.

They zipped around, weaving and rolling. Our hero reached for his capsules. The objects moving at him, he saw, were pieces of pie: apple and pecan, bent on destroying our Pink Crusader. He stood his ground as they rushed at him, waiting for his flying foes to get closer.

Suddenly Peptoman’s hands were a blur, flinging capsules Frisbee-style at the pie pieces intent on his destruction. One, two, three pie pieces destroyed, a fantastic rain of fruit, nuts, and crust coming down in their wake. One capsule missed its target, a piece of apple pie dodging the pink bullet.

“Ha!” Doctor Ham laughed.

His excitement was short-lived. In a flurry of hands and capsules, Peptoman cleared the air of all pie pieces. The Pied Pieper was no more.

He stood victorious, the embodiment of #PinkRelief.

“Any other surprises you have for me? Or is it finally time we battled it out?”

Without warning or hesitation, Doctor Ham sprung at him, stringy arms coming at him from all angles. He yelled, enraged that Peptoman had his measure yet again. “You will NOT win this time!”

Peptoman crouched, again using his patience. He had to time this just right.

Just as Doctor Ham was almost on top of him, Peptoman pulled his helmet off and pushed a stream of Pepto-Bismol into the face of his nemesis.

“AAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHH!” his foe screamed in agony as our hero turned his head and doused the rest of Doctor Ham. He plunged into the stomach pool, defeated again.

“#PinkRelief never fails,” Peptoman said. “My work here is done.”


At least that’s how I picture Pepto-Bismol and #PinkRelief waging war against my overeating during the holidays. Have I mentioned how much I love superhero movies?

*Pepto has compensated me for this fanciful post. No food items were harmed in this imaginary gastrointestinal war. Please visit Pepto.com for all your #PinkRelief needs!