I had a slightly uncomfortable realization today.
While I was cleaning, I was surprised by how good I felt about how the house looked. I also realized that after getting into the habit of doing daily maintenance plus a deep clean of an area each day, cleaning is getting easier and easier. It occurred to me that I started this challenge with an attitude of, “I’m going to clean every day like a housewife! Look at me!” Now that I’m on Day 5, I’m sitting here saying, “Oh, fuck, is this what everyone else does and I’m just the idiot who doesn’t know how to adult?”
I was reminded of a conversation I had with my dad a few years ago when he was mocking my generation for not knowing certain skills.
“I read the other day that millennials are signing up for ‘adulting’ classes to learn how to do basic household skill,” my dad said, rolling his eyes.
“I mean, I might be interested in signing up for some of those,” I said. “I could use help folding a fitted sheet.”
“How do you not know how to fold a fitted sheet?” my dad asked, shocked.
“I don’t know, I guess my parents never taught me,” I said.
That shut him up pretty quickly.
I’m not entirely blaming my dad for my inadequacies in folding a fitted sheet (and, for the record, I watched a YouTube video so now I can sort of do it instead of just balling it up and shoving it into a closet). My dad is a boomer and since that falls under the umbrella of housework, I think he might have assumed my mother taught me (but she didn’t. Her version of teaching was to just tell me as a child to do something I’d never done, not give me any instructions or guidance, and punish me when I didn’t intrinsically know how to do something she’d been taught to do decades ago).
My dad, on the other hand, is a really good parent and he taught me a lot of other life skills, including basic car maintenance, managing finances, and some cooking.
My dad is also very supportive. When I jumped on the bandwagon and baked quarantine bread like everyone else and posted a photo on social media to get credit, he called me and told me how impressed he was that I can do things like bake bread from scratch.
Now I’m faced with the reality that because I didn’t learn basic organization and tidying skills when I was younger, it took me until I was in my thirties to realize that maybe something was wrong and I should make an attempt to correct the issue. Am I just this sucky of an adult? I know I literally wrote the book about not being an adult, but I intended that as a humorous, hyperbolic way of exploring imposter syndrome. But, here I am now, getting called out by my own work five years later.
I’m more than a little embarrassed by the revelation, but at least I get to be embarrassed in my very clean house. Maybe I need to take up a new hobby to distract me…
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