Picture this: You sit down on the toilet, and reach for the toilet paper. But there is no toilet paper roll in sight. You call out for a little help but your cries for help go unanswered — not because nobody’s home, but because someone you love is so damned fed up that they’ve basically gone on strike: no cooking, no cleaning, no refilling of the toilet paper roll.
Last month one mom and wife, known as Miss Potkin on Twitter, shared her whole “No cleaning” adventure. She hung all her dirty laundry out to dry on Twitter with a viral tweet thread, reminding so many of us moms that we are not alone. The struggle is real. It was like watching an episode of “What Would You Do?” — except John Quiñones is replaced by a fed-up mom. These tweets walk us step by step through the messy hell Miss Potkin was living through.
On Day 3, she snapped a pic of her husband making his tea with what she calls an “emergency cup” and a baby spoon. Since he was apparently too stubborn to wash a damned dish, he had to use whatever he could find for his cup of tea. It’s going to take him a helluva long time to sugar up his tea using that tiny-ass spoon — and that may be all the sugar he gets for a while.
She posts one tweet after another and the photo evidence keeps piling up (along with the dishes and the laundry). At one point she shares that the downstairs bathroom has run out of toilet paper. Actually, it had run out the night before but no one replaced it. Her tweet makes it clear that someone’s about to be, well, shit out of luck.
I can just imagine the shit show that would ensue in my house if someone used up the toilet paper and didn’t replace it. There’d be crying and whining and cursing from the bathroom within the hour. At this point I was on the edge of my seat. What would happen next?
Well, it seems that someone in her family eventually realized that sitting there with a mess on the poopdeck is not fun. Like magic, a mountain of toilet paper suddenly appears.
Miss Potkin even includes a bit of her own self-talk as she gives us a play-by-play of what is happening within her four walls, and it’s GOOD!
She says, “SOMEONE JUST FORGOT THERE’S NO TOILET PAPER ROLL IN THE DOWNSTAIRS LOO. Omg this is exciting,” and then she reminds herself: “Urgh, no, stand down, hand wash.” I imagine one of her family members is calling for a roll of toilet tissue and she reminds herself that she is indeed, fed up and will not be delivering a fresh roll of toilet tissue.
Next, she takes us on a tour of her kitchen. Someone has finally removed the “sausage of death” that bore a sickening resemblance to a turd after being left in the frying pan for days. The sink is no longer filled with dirty dishes and ton of green water (“swamp water,” as Ms. Potkin calls it), and it looks like someone remembered the dishwasher exists!
I could relate to this one big-time. My son regularly loads the dishes into the dishwasher, and then forgets to turn it on. So the next time he’s looking for a knife to make his beloved grilled cheese, he yanks open the dishwasher and says, “There aren’t any clean dishes!” Well, no shit! You forgot to turn on the dishwasher — again!
The most challenging part about using the dishwasher is loading the thing. Adding the little soap pod and pressing the button is the easiest part of the entire process, yet it seems that some of us can’t get it done.
At the end of the thread — hallelujah! — someone in Ms. Potkin’s home has actually been cleaning.
I am happy for Miss Potkin and her family who are now (I hope) living in a home that is both cooperative and clean. Resistance matters, and chile, did Ms. Potkins resist the urge to help in any way. She refused to come to the rescue of her family members, even as they sat on the toilet waiting for a fresh roll of toilet tissue. She refused to lift a finger when her teenager’s clothes started taking over their room and spilled out into the hallway. Nothing quite makes me happier than a clean house (one that smells good is a bonus).
I am so glad Miss Potkin’s family finally showed up for her after all the ways she’d shown up for them. The experiment was a success — lesson learned! — and yet Ms. Potkin just seems exhausted. She notes, “I’m not doing that again.”
Miss Potkin has taught us moms that we deserve a break. We can endure much more than we know — even a messy, smelly house. Even a kitchen sink filled with swamp-water and quitting for three days will not harm anyone, and it may very well do the opposite. It’s a way of reminding our loved ones to value and love us just as much as we value and love them, by working together to keep our shared home clean. After all, that’s what family is all about: working through our shit together.
This article was originally published on