What a bore.
Why would I ever want to mop the floor?
This is obscene!
Too many dishes! This is just mean.
Who needs a clean tub?
Just bathe in the rain, rub-a-dub-dub.
I can’t help but gripe.
I’m sorry rag, you’re just not my type.
It’s raining dogs and cats!
Mom, don't make me take out the trash!
"Son, you said you wanted a bath."
Behind the Poem...Cleaning
Cleaning is the bane of my existence more often than not. I can't stand a dirty house, but I don't have the energy to pick it up either. It's a cycle of madness I've been trying to break for 3 years at the time of writing this. Thankfully, I'm not the only one with this problem. There is a whole multitude of moms trying to solve this issue.
For the sake of background, when I lived at home, I went between houses regularly. My day was school, then the babysitters, then home. And later on, it became school, the babysitters, and either my mom's or my dad's house. Eventually the babysitter was dropped, but after school activities were added, and then a job and so on. I wasn't always home enough to keep a consistent routine and the few times in my life where I was, I was going between my parents two houses regularly. They did a great job at teaching me the basics, and I can tell when a sink needs to be cleared. It's just the fact that I didn't do it consistently enough in one spot to actually establish "this is what I do every Tuesday and Thursday night at 6 pm" or whatever.
So, when I got married and moved out of my parents and in with my new husband, there was a huge learning curve. His home life was the complete opposite. He had a nuclear family his entire life, with a stay-at-home mom who cleans constantly (as in used to vacuum multiple times a day). I will say that she did 80-90% of the work, so we're both still working on moving cups to the Sinhalese didn't totally develop his own habits either, but he was better at it than me and our expectations for a clean house were very different. I don't think he really understood why I did not clean all day like his mom even though I was home all day at the time (until recently, since he's been at home a whole lot more). That's a highly simplified version of it, but all of that combined turned into a pretty unhealthy relationship with chores for me. That first year I didn't want to be in our house, no one else wanted to be in our house, and I didn't blame them. It made me upset which made me not want to clean even more. But after moving out of that first dorm (they called it an apartment, it was a dorm), I had a space I could make, so I did. Sort of.
We got the boxes unpacked and the furniture in place, and it was great - for a while. Then the laundry started piling up again. Then the dishes started smelling again. After probably 8 months there I said "enough!" and experimented with no less than 20 different ways to keep up with things. The hanging laundry baskets helped, the tiny storage bins didn't. I immediately moved half of the crap out of our closets into my car, which I then promptly took to Goodwill 6 months later. It was a learning curve.
Since then, through YouTube mostly, I've learned a lot of tips and tricks that have kept me more sane the last several months. I think the biggest lesson for me so far has been that if something doesn't fit in a drawer, it might not be the drawer's fault. It might be that you have 5 too many of the thing you're trying to shove in the drawer. Things like decluttering, making sure every thing you own has some form of a spot to go in, and actually asking myself "why is this frustrating me" instead of just being frustrated and moving on has helped a ton.
I still don't like cleaning for the most part, but I do it now. It's easier to do now because I took the time to do some research and trial and error. This poem is about my general distaste for cleaning, but I really thought it would be beneficial to write out this short story on the topic for someone that may need it. We're all trying to navigate the mess and it will get better. If you need a resource, I seriously recommend starting with Clutterbug on YouTube. I'm not affiliated at all with her, I just love her stuff. She's energetic, she gets it, and she gives all kinds of resources to help. And in a year you can come back and read this poem again and say "I remember when I felt like that!" and look at your house and gladly see that it's somewhere between 3-100% better (we all move at difference paces, it's totally fine).
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Liberty Jensen • Writer
Liberty is a donations manager, finance student, and full-time drinker of coffee. She enjoys poetry, her cats, and spending time with her husband.