I’ve never been someone who enjoys cleaning. If I had my chance at playing God, I would create all things clean. Perma-clean. I would strike down all vacuum cleaners and eradicate the mop off the face of the Earth. I don’t believe it was an apple that Eve picked up in the garden. It was a sponge. A scrubbing sponge. And thus all the evil started.
Dust is definitely a creature of the dark. Or perhaps it is the punishment inflicted by God for the sin of slothfulness. I am slothful, I’m afraid. But it’s not just because I’m lazy. It is a little because I’m lazy, but it’s mostly because I genuinely believe that cleaning the house is one of the worst ways you could possible spend your time. This is particularly true when you have young children in the house, who are willing to work much harder at making a mess than you are willing to work at cleaning.
It is one of the gravest misconceptions of our time to think that a clean house is something to be proud of. If you can afford a cleaning lady, it makes sense. You can marvel at your lovely house with the guests: “Isn’t it amazing! I’ve never even touched the vacuum!” Or maybe you’ve got an ingenious system for keeping everything in place and dust free. (Let me know if you have one. I need one. I will pay for this system.)
But it makes no sense to be proud of having spent fifteen hours a week in addition to your regular duties cleaning, vacuuming, scrubbing, washing, airing, mopping, ironing, folding… What makes you proud for having done all that work for practically no compensation? The more you work at it, the less anyone will even notice. No wonder some women feel bitter about this subject.
Still not convinced? Perhaps these quotes from some clever women will drive the point home.
Simone de Beauvoir:
“Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”
I am so glad Simone said that. Who could be a better example of an intelligent woman who has infinitely better things on her mind than stain removal? If she, like so many women, had spent all her time cleaning and reading the Cosmopolitan, instead of her feminist classic “The Second Sex”, she might have produced “Squeegee Sex.” Or worse.
“A bright person can always think of something better to do than housework.” —Ruby Lou Barnhill
“At worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unloved.” —Rose Macaulay
“Housework is work directly opposed to the possibility of human self-actualization.” —Ann Oakley
Finally, this quote by Joan Rivers, which perfectly describes my way of cleaning:
“I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.”
Now I have to leave. I have to go and do anything else than housework. So put that in your laundry ball.
The quotes are from here, if you need more. The pictures are, sadly, from my house.