I can think of a long list of things I’d rather be doing besides cleaning, like being pepper-sprayed, or bikini shopping with a Victoria’s Secret model, or having my hair cut by a chimpanzee. Unfortunately, cleaning is precisely what eats up a substantial chunk of my day—every day. I live in a household of six people, and five of those couldn’t give a flying fig about the state of their surroundings, which leaves me the lone warrior in the battle against all the ill shit that finds its way into my home. Cleaning may be a necessary evil, but I’m going to do it grudgingly—and if not with a grimace, then at least hella resting bitch face—every time.
Here’s what pisses me off the most about it:
1. The fact that it has to be done. At all. EVER.
You know what would be sooooo easy? Not doing housework. I’d never have to scrub a toilet again. I’d chill with the roaches, living a peaceful coexistence with dust and crumbs and turds. I’d bathe with a scummy soap ring in the tub and walk around with kitty litter stuck to my bare feet and not care, not one iota. But this couldn’t ever really happen, of course, because 1) I’m kind of a neat freak by nature, and 2) I value not living in an episode of Hoarders. Oh yeah, and I have kids I’d like to keep in my custody.
2. The fact that I can’t just hire someone to do it for me.
I’ve heard of some mythical thing called a “housekeeper” or a “maid service” where someone will actually come to your house and clean it while you watch Netflix or get a pedicure or something. But I’m just as likely to have a sprinkle-pooping unicorn show up at my door, because I’ve got these pesky kids that keep asking for food and clothing and shelter and such. Ugh.
3. Cleaning the stuff I can’t reach.
I’m not saying I clear the top of the fridge or vacuum underneath the couch every time I clean, but those aren’t the only hard-to-reach places that get dirty. Between those and the ceiling fans and tops of doorways and book cases and shelves, there’s always something that needs attention. Except that to get to them, I have to reach and strain and grunt and huff and puff. It’s like exercise on top of cleaning. Talk about adding insult to injury.
4. That crap in the crack between the wall and the floor.
Vacuuming is probably the most tolerable part of housecleaning. I just stand there pushing the vacuum around, fantasizing about the defined biceps it’s probably giving me. What sucks (besides, you know, the vacuum) is the stuff it doesn’t pick up: the wayward hair and dust bunnies and whatever else gets lodged in that annoying crevice where the floor meets the wall. Some lucky individuals have vacuums with crevice tools for just that sort of thing, but since my dog is an asshole, mine got used as a chew toy. So I’m always down on my knees, freeing the debris with my fingers and trying not to think about what it’s doing to my nails.
5. That little line of dust that you JUST. CAN’T. SWEEP. UP.
Sweeping the floor is a three-stage process. First, disgust that there was actually that much shit on your floor. Second, triumph: finally done sweeping! And third, dismay, because there it is: that last little line of dust that collects at the edge of the pan, the one that stays stubbornly behind no matter what. If you want to get it, it’s gonna take a damp paper towel, which is a hassle because you have to walk all the way to the sink and you’re already tired from all that sweeping, dammit.
6. That liquid funk that collects in the bottom of the trash can.
I don’t buy dollar store trash bags. I don’t heap my can with hazardous waste. So I wish somebody could tell me why the bottom of my bin is often lined with some variety of foul-smelling garbage juice, like if morning breath had a butthole. What are you, and why are you seeping from my common household waste?
7. The toilet.
“I love having my face mere inches from the shitter while I scour other people’s excrement off its surface!” said no one ever.
8. The crap my kids leave.
In my 11 years of parenting, I have unearthed all manner of stomach-turning junk from toy boxes and couch cushions, such as half-eaten corn cobs and petrified PB&Js and string cheese you could use as drumsticks. Sippy cups full of curdled milk and fruit snacks you’d break a tooth on. Raisins that may have always been raisins or could have actually started out as grapes and then reached raisin status while underneath our couch.
9. The fact that it gets messed up again so quickly.
Sometimes (OK, all the time) I wonder why I even bother because apparently the smell of cleaning products in the air sends some sort of signal to my family that now would be a great time to track mud and grass clippings inside and press your entire face to the window and brush the dog.
10. Nobody appreciates it the way I do.
One time, I spent hours meticulously scrubbing every inch of my laundry room floor. And oh, how it gleamed! I stood back and admired my handiwork. I breathed in the smell of squeaky-clean sterility. I gazed at its sparkling surface, drunk with accomplishment. I took a picture. And then? My dog came and took a dinner-plate-sized dump on it. Because nobody else who lives here—animal or human—grasps the value (and rarity) of wonderful, hard-earned cleanliness.
I want a nice clean home. Nobody else cares. The struggle is real, and it’s constant.
Right now there is an infinite number of dirty spots in my house that demand my attention. Yet here I sit. Why? Because while I love when my surroundings are clean, I hate actually cleaning them (and I may be a teeny bit of a procrastinator). But I should get busy because this shit isn’t gonna clean itself.