Wil Wood, owner, Kitchen Kneads of Logan

Dads: what does mom really want? Help without expectations of reciprocation. Do your part! Whoever cooks, the other person cleans. Except for when the man cooks—he should clean, too.

To better illustrate how to better help out in the kitchen, I’m going to tell you a story about the great maggot hatch of 2001. I served an LDS mission down in the Rio Grande Valley, which is on the border of Texas and Mexico, by the Gulf. It’s about as far south as you can get in the United States. And yes, it is really hot.

Doing the dishes was always a source of contention, so I told all of my companions, “Dude, don’t worry about the dishes. I’ll do all of them. You just take out the trash.” They were like, “OK, cool. But don’t call me dude.” I would reply, “Deal.” So, I had one companion who would not take out the trash. Instead, he would shove it down and cram more in.

In the Rio Grande, one must keep their kitchen clean, or it will be assaulted by ants, flies, and roaches — sometimes flying roaches. So, I did the dishes, but he never took out the trash. It would get gross and I would take it out, until one day I said, “¡No mas!” and I stopped taking it out.

Sure enough, the ants came first. The trash piled higher. Then the flies. Then the trash was moved into a corner so it could pile higher, where it developed a stench. It was an all-out passive-aggressive power struggle!

Early one summer morning, I ventured into the hotbox of pestilence, otherwise known as the kitchen. It was already 90 degrees in there at 6:30 a.m. As I attempted to cross the warm and peeling linoleum floor, I noticed it was moving. I figured as soon as the sun had risen that there was a maggot hatch in the trash heap. So, I screamed and retreated back into our one air conditioned room. While I can’t compare this roommate to my dream girl of a wife, I think it illustrates what to do and what not to do to help out in the kitchen.

As fathers, we need to be better at supporting our wives. Here are some things I try to do and you should try to do, too.

  • Always do the dishes.
  • Remember who leads the charge in the kitchen.
  • Help with the prep work (i.e., cutting veggies).
  • Put away food as it is used.
  • Put yourself in her shoes and ask yourself, “What would I want help with?”

Here’s another thing on being grateful or assuming the best about people.

Owning a business is like pulling a flatbed cart down a bumpy road trying to keep all the rocks on. They’re always falling off and they just don’t jump on the cart. The rocks obviously represent money. About a month ago, a rock fell off the cart, and we didn’t know it. We sold a small appliance to a lady, everyone got the receipts they needed, but for some reason, that one random credit card transaction never posted. Weeks later, we got a phone call from a customer who said, “Hey, I love my stick blender that I bought last week, but I never saw the transaction go through. I owe you guys $136.” It’s things like this that helps me assume the best about people. Sure, I’ve been on the wrong end of the stick; however, I can tell the universe does not like it when I put my guard up and assume that everyone and everything is out to get me. Sure, some rocks will fall off the cart, but occasionally they’ll just jump right back on. Situations like these give me confidence, so when I hear, “Someone wants to see the owner,” I don’t get nervous anymore. I’m able to approach them in a way that if they’re upset about something, my demeanor seems to disarm them.

The same goes at home: Assume the best of your spouse, and help her wherever you can. You may be surprised by how much more comfortable it will make your home and your marriage.