Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
A Mother’s Soliloquy

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To clean, or not to clean—that is the question.
Whether 'tis better in the main to suffer
The grime and messes of outrageous children
Or to take arms against a sea of clutter
And by opposing, end it. To clear, to wash
No more—and by one wash to say we end
The chaos, and the thousand natural shocks
That kids are good for. 'Tis an insanity
Foolishly to be wished. To wash, to clean—
To clean, perchance to rest—ay, there’s the rub,
For in that space of clean what chances come
When I have straightened up this living room
Must give them strength. That’s the truth
That makes calamity of so much cleaning.
For they will grab the chance and scorn my time,
Th’ mother’s wrong, the proud children crazy,
The pangs of unpleasant work, the dirty dishes,
The insolence of children, and the spurns
A patient mother endures from piles of toys
When she herself might her good book read
With a cup of coffee? Who would the burden bear
To grunt and sweat over a pile of laundry
But that the dread of something worse under the beds,
The undiscovered horrors, from whose depth
No mother will return, frightens the heart,
And makes us rather scrub those tubs we have
Than retreat to a clean we only dream of?
Thus conscience does make cleaners of us all,
And thus the natives do spur me to action
And I cast about with bitterness of thought
And clean with great fervor and torment
But in this regard, my actions turn awry
And lose the name of order. Loud they are,
The foul offspring! Kids, in thy hands
Be all my work forgotten.


Monica Alatorre, mother of five, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. By day, she lends her writing skills to her work as the Communications Manager at Envision Education; by night, and to stay sane, she writes a blog about, among other things, motherhood and parenting. You can read her musings, rants, observations, and poetry spoofs at And I’ll Raise You 5.


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This was just fabulous! I laughed and laughed, remembering suffering "the grime and messes of outrageous children". To all mothers of young ones, may you at the end of a day like this sleep, perchance to dream.
Thank you Enid! Sounds like you have survived the grime and messes of outrageous children…you give me hope! :)
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