Mom Documents Her Cleaning Strike in Relatable Twitter Thread: 'Who Will Blink First? Not Me'

One mom decided she was sick of doing all the housework and threw in the (dirty) towel. Here's what happened.

An image of a sink filled with dishes.
Photo: Getty Images.

It's been a rough year for everyone, particularly parents. Our dining room tables have become office and school desks. We've cared for our children while balancing back-to-back-to-back Zoom meetings. All those homecooked meals have meant more dishes in the dishwasher, and let's not even talk about all the laundry we've had to do (even though we've lived in sweatpants).

Moms, in particular, are hurting. Nearly 70 percent of moms say they've experienced health issues due to the pandemic, compared to about 50 percent of fathers. One mother, known as @MissPotkin on Twitter, decided to throw in the (dirty) towel and went on a cleaning strike. She posted about it in a now-viral thread.

"Two days ago, I decided to stop doing the dishes," she tweeted on March 17. "I make all the dinners, and I am tired of having to do all the cleaning too. SINCE THEN, this pile has appeared, and at some point, they are going to run out of spoons and cups and plates. Who will blink first? Not me."

She didn't stop with the dishes, either. Laundry was also off her to-do list.

"Let me know when you want to talk about the fact that I stopped doing the laundry, too," she wrote. "It's getting a bit post-apocalyptic. The piles are everywhere."

While a break from cleaning sounds blissful, it was hard for this mama to watch messes mount.

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

Later that day, she decided to "shower to cleanse her soul" only to find a bunch of empty bottles of toiletries.

Miss Potkin got excited when she saw her partner emptying the dishwasher but gave followers a tour of her kitchen that included a look at a "swamp sink" still full of unwashed dishes. After three days of not cleaning, it appears her partner turned the dishwasher on and even started cleaning up a mess on the floor before Miss Potkin stepped on it. She finished the thread with a photo of a tidy house and a message for everyone:

"You're gonna have good days, bad days…but people don't like being taken for granted, especially by the ones they love the most. Period," she said.

Many commenters cheered this mama on. "You're amazing," one person wrote. "Well done for holding strong."

Others found it so relatable. "I've run a very similar experiment," one person responded. "It's been 23 days since he washed his clothes, and I noticed the other day he just decided to buy more." And another tweeted, "Four baskets of clean laundry, they just dig through it."

In 2013, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg made waves with her book Lean In, which detailed how women can "have it all." But in reality, women are expected to do it all, and that hurts. This problem pre-dates the pandemic. A 2019 Boston College survey found that though about three-quarters of parents agreed they should equally distribute household duties, about half said women still bore the brunt of the labor.

And things have gotten worse. Millions of working moms are suffering from burnout, and they're about 30 percent more likely to struggle with it than fathers.

Experts encourage couples to divvy up responsibilities by starting with an empathetic conversation about household chores. Developing a practical routine and leaving time for date night (which these days might mean having a nice dessert after putting the kids to bed) can also help. Remember: Families are on the same team.

Will having a male partner press "clean" on the dishwasher solve gender inequality as we know it? Realistically, no, but it can lighten the load.

So go ahead. Put your foot down, and delegate chores, ladies. You may not be able to have it all, but you also don't have to do everything.

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