True Story: A Robot Vacuum Has Changed My Life

by Sara Farrell Baker
Originally Published: 
A robot vacuum cleaner on the floor being charged under a white desk
Krezodent/ Shutterstock

A couple months ago, my husband presented me with the sweetest, most thoughtful gift for our anniversary. The kind of gift that tells me he really knows me. My husband gets me.

He got me a Roomba.

Some of you might be upset to receive a cleaning appliance for a present. Not I, my friends. I have never been into jewelry or expensive perfumes. But my love language? My love language is less cleaning. And my new best friend, Roomba, speaks it loud and clear.

We live in a relatively small house. We have two small children, two cats, and a dog. I wear socks or slippers in my house year round because we do not wear shoes in the house but our floors are still covered in crap. Pet hair and people hair and crumbs and dirt and other random-ass particles that make their way into our home from the outside world stick to the soles of my feet if I go barefoot. Picking crap off of my feet is one of my least favorite ways to spend an afternoon.

The only way I have been able to keep my floors free of tumbleweeds and bits of the earth is to sweep and vacuum the entire house every single day. Every day, I could spend my time doing any infinite number of things that are more enjoyable than vacuuming. I hate vacuuming. I also hate sweeping. And the utter lack of enjoyment is why I rarely do it. Sure, the payoff is a clean floor, which I thoroughly appreciate. But at what cost?

40 minutes a day. That’s the cost. It may be a small house, but it takes me about 40 minutes to completely vacuum the whole thing.

So, obviously, I would let my floors go. And when the floors go, it all goes. If I can’t find the motivation to vacuum when I know it really needs to be done, I’m not going to pop up and say “Oh, but maybe I’ll scrub some toilets instead!” If I’m avoiding some cleaning, I’m avoiding all of it. It’s like when you’re avoiding your high-maintenance friend who you do not have the energy to deal with. You can’t hang out with your chill friends at Starbucks during that time. She might see you. I don’t want my floors to see me hanging out with my Tub & Tile.

But for the last two months, it’s like I found an app that will auto-respond to texts from that high-maintenance friend with “OMG that’s crazy.” My best friend, Roomba does that for my floors. And because my energy isn’t being drained by that friend/my floors, my entire house has been consistently straightened up. Not sparkling clean, but straight and tidy and I’m loving it with all my heart.

You know those posts on Pinterest about doing a 10-minute pickup around your house to keep it clean? I never remember to do those. But my best friend, Roomba runs on a schedule that I set. My preference is for it to clean in the mornings while I’m out running errands. So every night, I have the incentive to zip through my house and pick shit up. I toss the toys in a basket, round up any stray laundry, arrange throw pillows and blankets back on the couch (can I get a robot that shouts at my kids every time they toss those on the ground for no reason?) and make sure my best friend, Roomba has a clear path.

It turns into If You Give A Mouse A Cookie: Clean House Edition.

If you give a mom a Roomba, she’s going to pick up her floor. When she picks up the floor, she notices the remotes under the couch, so she puts them on the coffee table. When she puts the remotes on the coffee table, she cleans up the sticky stuff from god knows what with a disinfecting wipe. Then she takes the wipe into the kitchen and decides to clean off the counters. If Dad walks by, she will hand him the dirty socks in her hand and ask him to put them in the hamper. While he’s putting them in the hamper, she will ask him to start a load of towels. Then she will remember the bathrooms need fresh towels. When she puts the fresh towels in the bathroom, she will put away the skincare products she left on the sink. In the sink, she notices a toothpaste glob, so she gives the whole thing a spray and a wipe. Since she’s in there, she decided to give the toilet a quick swish. When she looks down at the toilet, she will notice some hair on the bathroom floor. So she will press the button on her Roomba and relax in bed while it sucks up all the dirt and hair and crumbs her family creates each day because technology is awesome and robot vacuums make this a hell of a time to be alive.

That is exactly how it goes some nights. But others, I just get my floors clear and don’t have to worry about much else because there aren’t days of grime surrounding me. Some nights, I shove stuff into a basket or a closet. But all mornings, I have a clean floor. And because vacuuming is not the only floor-related bit of cleaning I hate, there is also a robot mop that goes by the name of Braava. It is probably called that because Bravo is what I yell as I do a Risky Business slide across my squeaky clean hardwood after it runs.

My very good friend Braava isn’t as high-tech as my best friend Roomba, but it still gets my floors clean without me having to do much except charge its battery. It can do wet, damp, or dry mopping, depending on the pad I use. I set it in the room I want to be mopped— usually, my kitchen— press a button, and it runs up and down my floor until the whole thing is scrubbed.

I am fully willing to submit to our robot overlords if they’re going to clean my floors for me. They have finally made me into the annoying mom with the clean house I have always wanted to be.

I received a free Bravaa for review, but opinions are solidly my own. Promise.

This article was originally published on