ROTH: Waving the white flag: Keeping a clean home

I would have made a terrible housewife in the 1950s

I hate cleaning, and if I’m telling the truth, I’m not very good at it.

Despite it being 2020 and not 1950, it almost feels like a taboo, something I should not say out loud. I am grown adult woman who neither likes nor am good at cleaning.

Is it a shocking revelation? No, because no one actually likes to do dishes, or the laundry, or vacuuming. And, yet it still feels like something to be ashamed of. Let’s add wood to the fire, I’m also not a very good cook. In fact I rarely ever cook.

I would have made a terrible housewife in the 1950s.

As a child, it should come as no surprise, that I hated cleaning a tremendous amount. Thankfully I had two younger sisters and I was very clever.

Whenever my parents went out to do the shopping, they would leave me in charge with a list of chores to be done. I convinced my two younger sisters that I was the supervisor and as such didn’t have to clean up. Instead it was my job to make sure they did all the actual dirty work. This worked for years.

Whenever they questioned my responsibility as clean up supervisor, I would pick up the phone and begin to dial my parents cell phone number, and threaten my sisters while doing so.

“When I tell Mom and Dad you aren’t listening to me, you are going to be in so much trouble.”

They would immediately scurry back to picking up their toys. This also worked around Christmas and the threat of telling Santa Claus they weren’t being good.

Yes, I know, I wasn’t very nice to my younger sisters, they remind me constantly. Now that we are all adults, we have a much better relationship.

My parents asked me what I would do as an adult when I couldn’t manipulate my sisters into doing chores for me. Again as a clever child I told them there were people whose job it was to clean and I would pay them to do so. It was the same answer I gave them when asked why I wouldn’t pump my own gas when I got my license.

“Why would I take work away from people who get paid to do that?”

My mom wouldn’t say it, but I think she was a little proud. Needless to say, I don’t pay someone else to clean for me, and Alberta has very few full serve gas stations, so I do pump my own gas.

With the current state of the world I thought I could teach myself to, at the very least, tolerate cleaning. I am still lucky enough to work a full-time job, but my evenings and weekends are sadly empty. So I’ve been trying my hand at dutifully cleaning the house.

I try to tidy up everyday when I get home from work. I try to put the dishes away every evening after supper. I try to vacuum once a week, and have the laundry clean and folded away. Try, being the operative word here.

It has been 44 days since the Province of Alberta declared a state of emergency. That is roughly 44 days of me trying to be better about cleaning the house.

The few times I’ve managed to be on top of everything, and clean the house from top to bottom, it doesn’t seem to matter. Imagine, the house is finally clean, sparkling even, you lay back for an hour just to rest, and somehow when you look up it looks like a tornado has gone through, and all your hard work is up in the air.

There are only two people living at my house, me and my boyfriend. I can’t imagine keeping a clean home with children. All the parents out there, how do you do it?

I read somewhere, that if you don’t come out of the pandemic with a sparkling clean house you didn’t live through the quarantine correctly. You have failed at staying home.

Well here I am waving my white flag. I have failed at keeping a clean home, and that is absolutely fine.

Megan Roth is an Alberta-based Black Press reporter.

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