April 7 is International No Housework Day
No Housework Day
By Robin Steinweg
I used to be queen of procrastination. I abdicated that throne.
Now you can call me Sisyphus.
That’s right—the mythological Greek who was forced to roll a boulder uphill all day, then watch it plunge back down at night—only to start again the next morning. And the next, and the next.
Anyone whose responsibilities include the daily round of family meals, dishes, laundry or floor-care could relate to Sisyphus. A recurring nightmare might go like this: a mountainous meatball lumbers down the stairs toward my kitchen, spraying a trail of spaghetti sauce, grated Parmesan and a few unruly noodles. It gains momentum. It lurches straight toward my freshly shined sink.
The meatball takes a deliberate turn. I hear its sneering tone as it threatens me, “I’ll roll over you. You’ll be flat as a sheet.” The meatball leans over me menacingly, looking strangely like my husband—
“Roll over, Honey. You’re dreaming. And you’ve got the flat sheet all to yourself.”
The average American woman scrubs her house for at least seventeen hours a week*. That means if she lives to be eighty years old, she’ll have spent over eight years of her life cleaning house!
I’d like to slice a sliver out of that perennial pie. April 7 is International No Housework Day.
Put down your mop
Hang the broom
Watch dust bunnies gather in every room
Don’t let your youth just fade away
Take time to celebrate No Housework Day
Put off till later what needs to be done
Cooking and housework aren’t much fun
Take the day off. Augment your sorrow—
Every mess, every job will be there tomorrow
Dishes will litter each horizontal space
Oatmeal will harden at an alarming pace
Slog through the clutter? You’ll be confounded
As tasks pile up with interest compounded
Hm. That didn’t go quite like I thought it would.
It could be that the statistics of the average woman’s housecleaning would change in the wrong direction. I’ve heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If I take a day off, how many extra hours—days—months—will it take me to catch up?
Maybe I’ll be queen of procrastination one more time—
—and put off celebrating No Housework Day!
*According to a 2008 study by the University of Michigan.
Robin Steinweg finds life sweet in the middle of writing, teaching music students, caring for aging parents, adjusting to having adult children, and nudging life and home to a state of order. She, her husband and sons live near Madison, Wisconsin.