It’s no secret that in most heteronormative partnerships the woman takes on the majority of the physical and mental load — the housework, the kids’ schedules, meal planning — the list could go on for pages and pages.
When mom (or default parent) is also working long hours at a job, struggling with mental health issues, or just having a hard day, the idea of taking on the menial, daily tasks like cooking dinner or picking up around the house can be truly crippling. Things can get out of hand fast and without an equitable partner, before you know it, you’re drowning.
One mom went viral for sharing her powerful story, which involves working long days, taking on all of the housework, and grappling with ending a marriage to a partner who doesn’t lend any support. And she told her story while showing what it takes to clean her house after working six long days away from home.
Lynalice Bandy — AKA @5kids5catssomedogstoo on TikTok — posted a time lapse video of her journey cleaning up her house that had essentially been wrecked by her kids, animals, and a basically absent dad who was supposed to be on duty while she worked.
After getting a day off from work after days of her house being neglected, she took it upon herself to step in, clean, and declutter the home that six other people live in with her. After not even a week of mom gone, Bandy shows nearly every room in the house trashed with piles of clothes, food, trash, and toys all over the floors and counters.
“I’d like to pretend I’m not the only one who cleans here but as you can see these rooms don’t get much attention when I’m not here,” Bandy wrote in the text overlay of the TikTok video that has been viewed over 7 million times.
“Every single day I’ve gotten home from work I’ve been met with one disaster to another caused by inattentive parenting,” she shared, insinuating that her soon-to-be ex-husband is behind a lot of the mess.
She goes on to list just a few of the disasters she’s had to clean up including shampoo, nail polish, and hair on the floors, walls, and nugget covers (we know those are impossible to clean), medications that the kids had gotten into, and a bin of dog food that had been smashed — which she says her husband did during a fit of rage.
According to Bandy, her husband was “busy” working on his cars in the garage and basically ignored anything and everything his kids were getting into while she was away.
“His obsession has hit an all-time high and he’s even brought car parts into the dining room and left oil everywhere,” she says.
Bandy reveals that she wishes she could move out and separate from her husband during their divorce, but the housing market is making that impossible for the time being. While she’s telling the story, the video shows her slowly and methodically bringing her house back up to snuff.
“My soul aches without a place to feel safe and happy,” she wrote at the end of the video while revealing her now-spotless home.
Bandy’s video reached millions, sadly resonating with so many other primary parents who are essentially married single parents.
“I am so so SO proud of you. I don’t know why this made me want to cry. I’m struggling with this right now too,” one TikTok user shared.
“Your drive and work ethic to get this all done alone is incredible. It’s so hard when the burden of maintaining the household is left to women alone,” another user commented.
Others empathized with the struggle of having an absent partner who never pulls their weight.
“Being a single parent while married is the worst. I’m glad you’re changing that for yourself and the kids,” one user commented.
“There is nothing more soul-draining than a ‘partner’ who is actually an extra child,” another user pointed out.
In a follow-up video, Bandy shares that she has since moved out of the home (that is still messy). However, she explains that even though she and her husband are no longer living together, she still went over to help her kids clean up.
“I left this house two months ago,” she wrote in text overlay on the video. “And in that time, I have been told I am not welcome to spend time here anymore.”
She then shares time-lapse footage of her and her children cleaning up what appears to be one of her kid’s bedrooms. “Yesterday, though, I got to come over and help clean. This room has not been cleaned since before I moved out … You might ask why I am doing this if it’s his home.”
“No matter where my kids are spending their time, they deserve a clean, functional space,” she explains.
Those following Bandy’s journey commented on her video, congratulating her on moving on while also commending the humility and ego-check it took to still help take care of her ex’s home.
“This is showing up as a parent. Go mama. Imagine what beautiful lives the kids could live if all co-parents did,” one user wrote.
According to a 2022 study, women in heterosexual relationships do around 65% of the physical housework, including cooking, cleaning, childcare, and laundry while men typically handle yard work and budgeting.
Women in in heterosexual relationships also take on most of the mental load such as remembering birthdays, organizing play dates, and keeping track of school schedules.
“The unpaid female role’s to-do list is relentless,” an author of the study wrote.