Where’s the Mop? A Working Parent’s Tale

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who has the mop“What do you use to clean the kitchen floor?” That sentence actually came out of my mouth earlier today. With the baby sleeping, my four-year-old coloring and my husband mounting the TV in the living room, I took the opportunity to deep-clean the kitchen. I suds up and wiped down the counters and every surface of the stove. I put vinegar and baking soda down the drain of the sink (so satisfying!) and swept the floor twice. The last thing to do was mop the floor, but we don’t own a mop.

Mop, Mop, Who Has the Mop?

How did the kitchen floor get clean? I knew it must since we have two young children who drop as much food as they eat and I wasn’t standing in sludge.

As I’ve written about before, my husband spends more time at home with the kids than I do. He used to be a full-time stay-at-home dad, but he’s been attending college full-time for a little over a year now.

When Luke was exclusively at home, I admit I did very little housework. Luke said his job was to maintain the house, and he did so diligently. So diligently, in fact, that I lost a lot of my edge. I could go weeks without doing the dishes or wiping down the bathrooms, or, you guessed it, mopping the kitchen floor.

Since his classes have been especially demanding this semester, I’ve been trying to step up my efforts with our housework. I load the dishwasher, clean the toilets regularly, and even sweep the floor at least once a week. But I had yet to mop.

As the question left my mouth, I thought about how annoying I must sound.

Out of the Loop

I lose my mind when my husband doesn’t know about something very regular in our house or doesn’t listen when I’m talking. Surely he’s told me about cleaning the floor before this moment, but I just couldn’t remember. And this isn’t the first time I’ve been out of the loop about household happenings.

While I do handle most of the administrative work like planning birthdays and scheduling extracurricular activities, I still miss out on many day-to-day things. I’ll be confused about a joke between my husband and daughter. Or not realize my baby boy has gained an affinity for playing with empty bottles. It’s not because I don’t care, it’s simply because I’m at work 40 hours a week.

Traditionally, dads get a bad rap for not knowing these little, or sometimes big, details.

I think a lot of people attribute it as a male trait. Maybe that’s true to an extent, but I also think it’s simply because they’re often working in a different building than home!

As a working parent, I would love to spend more time with my kids. (Although I’ll admit I do enjoy going to the bathroom by myself and getting to eat one meal a day in peace.) But, not to sound cliche, someone has to pay the bills.

When I was on maternity leave and my husband had a little lighter workload with school, I couldn’t imagine either of us being at work full-time, day-in and day-out. It seemed as though our entire family should be together all of the time. (I’d probably bite my tongue if that actually became our reality).

The Reality

While this is a lovely thought, at the end of the day, at least one parent often has to be at work a lot. Because of that, that same parent won’t have a total grip on the latest favorite snack, nap time routine, or even how the kitchen floor gets clean. We’re sorry, but we’re trying.

By the way, apparently we don’t use a mop. We use a Swiffer!

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Sara was born in Colorado Springs, and lived here her entire life until she attended college at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. There, she earned her degree in Journalism and Political Science. Sara met her husband, Luke, in the summer of 2008 while working at Wag N Wash Healthy Pet Center, although they didn't start dating until 2011 - after Sara had graduated from college and Luke had joined the Air Force. They married in 2012, when Luke was stationed in a small town in West Texas. Shortly after moving to the Lone Star State, Sara started her career in local television. She did everything from running the cameras, to producing the five o'clock news, to creating marketing campaigns for local businesses. Sara's daughter Cora was born in 2013, and Sara got her first taste of being a full-time working mom while living over 600 miles from her own parents. Luke's Air Force enlistment ended in the summer of 2015, so they high-tailed it back to Colorado Springs. Now, Sara lives near Old Colorado City and works in the marketing department of a law firm in Downtown Colorado Springs. She loves spending time with her family, cooking, biking, photography and playing with makeup (that’ll happen after working in television in Texas).