Mom lives the dream: quietly quitting household chores to see if her family notices

Practically every mom I know occasionally daydreams about quitting-doing-all-the-things. Sometimes the impulse is born of exhaustion. Sometimes it's the relentless daily tedium of cleaning, cooking, reminding, over and over and over without end. And sometimes it's the desire for someone else to notice that these things actually need to be done and someone has to actually do it.

Even moms who share chores with spouses and kids often find themselves carrying the mental load of figuring out what needs to be done, monitoring whether it's getting done, and organizing who's doing what, and reminding/nagging/harassing her family members until it gets done. Sometimes moms just want to let all of that go and see what happens.

That's what a mom who goes by Miss Potkin on Twitter did this week. Channeling the fed-upness of mothers everywhere, she just up and stopped doing household chores to see what would happen. Two days later, she began sharing the saga in a Twitter thread that's as entertaining as it is satsifying.

Letting go and letting your family sit in their own filth until they can't take it anymore takes patience and discipline. There's a reason moms generally do-all-the-things regardless of how cooperative the family is. We don't want to live in a mess. But she stuck to her guns.

For a minute, things were looking promising with the garbage being taken out.

However, the dishes still remained mysteriously undone. As did the laundry.

"There is a pan on the cooker with a single sausage in it," she wrote. "It's been there for two days. I can't look at it because it's turned the colour of the man that washes up in Cast Away."

Oh, and the downstairs bathroom is out of toilet paper.

Those who might feel judgy at this point likely live with people who are naturally neat, or just can't fathom themselves how someone could let a sausage sit for two days. But take it from a mom who let go of policing her kids' bedrooms to see how long it would take them to decide to clean on their own—some human beings are willing to overlook all manner of mess and filth before it becomes too much.

And sometimes they have to learn firsthand the amount of extra work such obliviousness leads to.

Hilariously, even though the dishwasher finally did get loaded, that's basically all that happened. Miss Potkin shared a video tour of the kitchen with the extraneous things that didn't get done or got half-done.

Of course, the negative Nancies showed up to voice their judgmental opinions about her experiment, her home, her family, her choice of husband, and everything else because moms literally can't catch a break. It's a silly, fun exercise to make a point that millions of moms can relate to. If it doesn't apply to you, move along, Nance.

"We do not 'live like this,'" she wrote. "This is a lesson in wanting to be heard and respected and not having to repeat yourself when things slip. We're navigating the day-to-day in extraordinary times and for me, the past two days have been funnier than anything else. I think we're all entitled to run our own experiments, be amused, push a situation to its limit if we so choose. No one needs to be lectured by those that have failed to see the silly joy in what's happening here."

And the experiment slowly started paying off as someone replaced the toilet paper.

But the dishwasher...

"We keep our homes tidy because love," Miss Potkin wrote. "We cook food and set tables and fill the air with scents of roses and fresh laundry because love. Love is patient but love is also fucking tired because she works 14 hour days."

"I know we are ALL tired," she added, "but I am most tired. Me. I AM ALL THE TIRED."

All the moms are all the tired.

Miraculously, it only took three days of being completely hands-off for her family to take note and clean the house.

Lesson learned. Mission accomplished. Let's hope it sticks.

Moms are not always the ones who pick up most of the slack in a household, but they usually are. And when that work is taken for granted, it sucks. When everyone in the house pays more attention and takes the initiative to tidy, neaten, clean, replace, launder, put away, etc., moms are less stressed and tired and everyone benefits. If it take up and quitting for a while to help the family see it, so be it.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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