Is cleaning women’s work?

No matter the size of my home, I’ve always been the cleaner. Living alone, if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. I try to keep things pretty tidy and straighten up periodically, trying to actually clean weekly. I’ve found with the bigger house, though, comes a lot more cleaning! Back in my apartment days, 10 minutes on a Saturday morning was enough to clean the bathroom, and another 10 allowed for a quick Swiffering of the entire apartment. But now, I have to choose – upstairs bathroom or downstairs? Do I really need to do both every weekend? And vacuuming – really, how often do I have to do it? Can I forgo pulling out the couch? After all, I’ll just have to start over again in a week or two, anyway.

As a result, I’ve fallen into laziness. No bones about it, there’s been some sheer, unadulterated sloth lately. Part of it is the futility of winter. I can’t remember the last time I mopped the tile in the back hallway, since the nearly-constant snow, slush and muck have kept it nice and filthy, with gray splotches and splatters galore. Since the windows have been closed since early October, there have been no cleansing breezes to dislodge the ceiling cobwebs, and the air in general is stale with a hint of Febreeze.

But really, whose problem is it? Growing up, my mom spent much of her free time cleaning the house, delegating some of the chores to my sister and me. When company was coming, though, Dad would take the reins and do a good chunk of the vacuuming and dusting.

I wonder, if I were to live with a guy who was willing to clean, would I let him? How committed am I to my role as cleaner? And is it because I’m a girl or because I’m the de facto housekeeper?

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3 responses to “Is cleaning women’s work?

  1. I hear you loud and clear. Sometimes I rail against being the only one who cleans, much less being the only one who truly appreciates clean bathroom tiles. Then I remember that I don’t cook. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I prepared coffee, breakfast, & lunches on a weekday.And so, I say nothing. The price of this division of labor seems just about right. Although when I’m on my 3rd load of laundry putting away & straightening someone else’s messy drawers, sometimes I mutter under my breath.

  2. Ah, the under-the-breath muttering… it cuts both ways. When I mutter, it’s a potential sign that I’m on my way to crazy-cat-ladydom. But then again, no one’s around to hear me, so does it matter?

  3. Oh yes Cleaning, a nessesary evil. I personnely think fall and winter cleaning is the worst. The window’s are closed and there’s no where for it to hide. Putting up your Christmas tree takes prep, organizing, furniture re-arranging and after cleaning. Now there’s glitter and tinsle around. So out comes the vacum. During the process of rearranging the furniture you unearth dust on baseboards and furniture leg’s. It’s a vicious cycle that I love and hate. Love when it’s over, and hate to begin.

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