There were so many branching paths for this one, I should have made a flow chart. Like, how about when you clear garbage off the counter, but then the trash is smelly and almost full, so you may as well empty all the trash cans in the house and do the litter box and take it downstairs, but you should get mail, and then you need to pay a bill? Or you collect the laundry, but you may as well strip the bed and change the linens too? Or you go back to microwave her lunch a second time, but the fridge is full of spoiled leftovers, so you empty the fridge and run the disgusting tupperware through the dishwasher?

I used to be ‘bad at cleaning’ until I had a kid. I was one of those people who’d shrug and say ‘I just don’t see the mess!’ Which is, I realize now, entirely bogus – it’s willfully ignoring the banality of labour because you just believe that someone else will do it. You put the mental energy somewhere else. If you haven’t read this comic about emotional labour, go!!! It’s a good one, and goes deeper into the way this gets gendered when kids come along.)