I follow KC Davis’s strugglecare videos on TikTok, and she’s excellent. Her basic tenets are: care tasks are morally neutral. (“Care tasks” are taking care of your body and your house — cooking, cleaning, etc).
So clean your kitchen because it means you have space to cook, you won’t step on something sticky, and you won’t get sick — not because you’re ashamed to have a dirty kitchen or because good mothers have clean benchtops. Cleaning is useful, not moral.
One thing she said the other day was that often people get excited about fun organisation tasks — making a pegboard or putting all your spices in mason jars, or something pretty and fun — but they don’t do those fun things, because their house is messy. And they feel ridiculous designing cute matching spice jar labels when the floor hasn’t even been vacuumed. Or worse than ridiculous: like they don’t deserve the fun part.
But as with so much in life, the rules are all fake and you can do things in any order you like. In theory, yes, if you have 5 minutes, you’ll probably get more benefit from vacuuming than spice jar labels, but life management is as much about energy/motivation as it is about time, and you need to protect your motivation. Which if you do feel an urge to do some sort of care task, don’t suppress the urge because it’s not the ‘correct’ one. You need to feed those feelings, not quash them. Also, do the fun thing because you’re allowed to have nice things for no reason, you don’t need to earn them through drudgery.
I mean sometimes you literally do, if they cost money, but you don’t need to make up your own suffering-price that no one asked of you.
Watch some of her vids here, it’s tiktok so they’re all under 60 seconds. I don’t even really struggle with house cleaning any more, but I still find her attitude valuable.
This piece was originally published in The Whippet #118 – subscribe to get the next issue in your inbox!
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