The Cake Is A Lie: 5 Faux-Habits of People Who Always (seem to) Have A Clean Home

Who left all these mugs out on the counter??  …oh, yeah. That was me.

The Lies of Home Cleaning Articles, And Why They Are From The Devil

I don’t remember where I saw the last article giving tips on how to keep a busy home clean.

It might have been facebook, it could have been in my email from some subscription I don’t remember signing up for, in order to get froyo coupons. It doesn’t matter, though: these articles are as prolific as the germs for which they claim shouldn’t exist in your sink. And I knew I shouldn’t click the link. I knew it when I saw it…but like a dork, I did it anyway.

Just off the bat, I knew it was going to be a useless article with zero helpful ideas, and just more reasons why the entire facade of a “clean home” is a big fat lie.

Clicking “Habits of Mother’s With Clean Homes!” is the same bs bait and switch as the game Portal’s “Cake” red herring.

For some context: in the game “Portal,” you begin the quest with a completely fictitious aspirational reward, with finding cake around the level as the motivation. The cake is supposed to be a benefit to you, somehow, so you keep heading towards the cakes. It’s like finding the green 1-Up mushrooms in Mario, for example. The more green 1-Up mushrooms you get, the more lives you get; and the more lives you get, the longer you can play! Score!

Except, the 1-Up green mushrooms end up being completely useless. They do nothing for you, and pretty soon you run out of lives…and your character is dead. You finally find out in the next level that not only is the cake not your motivating factor, but actually, “the cake is a lie” is spray painted all over the walls.

All this being said: these seemingly inspiring articles are exactly like the cake.  You keep trying to get better at tidying up, though!  And you click on these links that are supposed to inspire you on how to keep your home clean all the time…even though you have an army of people living in it, and the fact that I wasn’t put on this green earth to scrub grout every day… even though they are all a useless, unmotivating, fruitless lie.

And I have put off finishing the laundry just so I can explain why:

1. Laundry problems: “Just put your clothes away right after you take them out of the dryer!” 

I have proven to myself time, and time again, that I am more than willing to relandscape my entire yard before I am willing to fold laundry. It is boring, it is time consuming, and it is never ending.  With every folded shirt I think of the two clean shirts that are on the kids’ floor. For every sock I wash, I think of the dozens that are missing. Sometimes we find them, but they are in extremely unhelpful places, such as the backyard, the dishwasher or the back of the pantry.  There have been a few times when I really did keep up on the laundry, and I really did fold them all right out of the dryer and put them away in their respective drawers. I did it for a whole week once, just to see if it could be done.

And it could be done! By golly, I did it.  But do you know what else I did that week?


I didn’t have time for anything else other than maintaining laundry; even with the help of my minions.
That stick and carrot didn’t last long, I’ll tell you what.

2. Kitchen Maintenance: “Wipe Down Surfaces After Every Use!”

I can see how this would be a really good habit to get into.

Goodness knows, the amount of coffee grounds, yogurt and bread crumbs spread across my counters, alone, could probably feed a small village.  I like to keep the counters cleaned, as much as humanly possible in a house with 7 people who use the kitchen constantly, and 3 loads of dishes each day. I have given up trying to keep on top of the dishes: it’s just an infinity loop, at this point.

However, the stove is another matter.

After I am done making dinner, and we have sat and ate said dinner, and the kids have cleared the table…I am done.  I am doney done. There isn’t one more thing I want to finish or clean for the rest of the night.  So washing the used pots, or the used stove, just doesn’t happen. Even though it would probably be a good idea, and it probably would make life easier…after a day of chasing after 5 kids, finishing homeschooling, making 3 meals for a bundle of people, and making an effort to ignore the pile of clean laundry on my bed…I am just too tired to clean the stove. I just don’t care at that point.

Unless there is cake on the stove. And then I care a little bit more.

3. Daily Wear: “Put Shoes and Jackets Away Every Time!”


omg. Okay, so, do you have little kids? And time to tell them to put their shoes away every 5 minutes? Because, it’s not happening. We have a shoe rack, and the kids are supposed to put their shoes on the dedicated shoe rack before they enter the house. However, sometimes they put their shoes back on when they go to play outside for 5 minutes. And if I am in the shower, or getting coffee, or daydreaming about maid services for a few minutes…those shoes are going somewhere else, other than back on the shoe rack.

And we have a few jackets hanging on a tree in the backyard; so I discovered yesterday afternoon, when I was outside looking for shoes so we could go to the Library and return the books… we also found.

4.  Bedding: “Have a Practical Amount of Blankets”

Listen, the truth is I love forts more than my kids do.

Soo, we just have more blankets than is “practical.” Simple as that.

5. Stuff: “Do Not Have Extras of Anything”

I’m not really sure what they are getting at here….

like, I don’t need extra Happy Meal toys? Because I have plenty of extra Happy Meal toys. Or Legos? Trust me, you can never have too many Legos.  Shoes? Lipsticks? Sunglasses? Wineglasses…?

Bottles of wine??

Listen, I’m just gonna stop it here and say that this list isn’t my piece of cake.

Back to the home essentials.

There we go. That’s my happy place.

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