AM/PM: Reclaiming Domesticity

Welcome to AM/PM, where Autostraddle team members share our morning and evening rituals.

Here are two truths about me: one, I do my best work from 8:30 am until about 1:00 pm. Two, I cannot work unless I’ve gotten all of the nervous need-to-move energy out of my body. Together these two things mean is that as soon as I’m out of bed in the morning, I don’t sit back down for at least two hours. What am I doing? Cleaning, mostly. Domesticity has a bad reputation, but homemaking, especially my morning routine, has made my life feel safer, happier, and cozier.

I use this alarm clock that lights up like the sun because I can’t do anything in darkness.

Around 6:00, I am awakened by the screams of one of my cats, Alexei. He is…obnoxious. I wake up, snuggle my love-deprived children, but do not get out of bed until around 6:45. I light a candle by my bed, go through a morning prayer and meditation ritual in bed, read something from the Bible, and then I get up.

I do my business and while I’m in the bathroom, I light a candle in there too for extra luxury, spray down the shower, hang up my rug, and clean off the bathroom sink area. I scoop all of of the litter boxes, vacuum the area around them, vacuum all the hardwood floors upstairs, and gather clothes that have accumulated all over my room and bathroom to put them in the washing machine (I start a load whenever it’s full).

I bought a Dyson V8 a year ago and it’s the best purchase I’ve ever made, even better than buying my own washing machine. I use it every single day.

I fill my cats’ water bowls and head downstairs to start coffee around 7:00. I also light another candle because I like lighting candles. While the coffee is brewing I fill my cats’ food bowls and either load or unload the dishwasher, depending on how much forethought I had the night before. Pro-tip, wash your dishes at night. Waking up to a clean kitchen is honestly? The most refreshing thing.

My coffee and cat food station featuring a fast moving Buffy

That’s what all of this is. My morning routine is a bunch of mindless tasks that make my house feel like a place where I can breathe. The goal of homemaking is to make your home a place where you and the people you love can feel comfortable. That’s what I’m doing.

After I finish the dishes, I eat breakfast and drink at least one too many cups of coffee, check the internet, and usually sweep the kitchen. Once I’m sufficiently caffeinated, I will probably smoke a bowl to be honest.

I get ready for the day around 7:40. I wear Certain-Dri because this state has reduced me to a sweaty mess, spray my hair with a mix of coconut oil, Hot Six oil,  and water, and then wash my face with Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser (I’m obsessed). I don’t have a toner I love right now so I don’t use one (I KNOW). I moisturize with the Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer which I’ve done since I was 13 years old because I love the tingly feeling. I have had the same Oral-B electric toothbrush since I got braces in 3rd grade and I think that’s amazing. I just change the heads! I only use Colgate Total Advanced Whitening Toothpaste. Please do not bring Crest near these teeth. I take my meds with my first big glass of water each day.

I do my face/teeth/meds routine in my downstairs bathroom primarily because I have a plumbing issue with my upstairs sink and have had too much anxiety to file a maintenance request. But also it makes it easier to remember to wipe down the knobs, the mirror, and swipe the toilet.

By 8:15 most mornings, I have done a lot of housework without even thinking about it! And all those mindless tasks have calmed me down enough to be able to start my work day clear headed and ready to focus. I blow out my candles, smoke another bowl, and grab any bags of trash/cat litter and head out the door.

Domesticity is queer culture. It is taking a space, making it feel good for you, taking care of it, showing it love, and then letting that place show you love in return. I spend my mornings taking care of my house a little at a time, and in turn it’s a place where I and my guests feel free to be our whole selves.

Alaina is a 20-something working on a PhD in Performance as Public Practice. They are a mom to three cats, they listen to a lot of NPR and musicals, and they spend a lot of time on Pinterest lusting over studio apartments. They are actively trying to build A Brand on twitter @alainamonts. One day, they will be First Lady of the United States.

Al(aina) has written 232 articles for us.

35 Comments

  1. Managing my mental health by finding the right balance of coffee and weed has been so so helpful. Whenever I am tempted to shame myself about my daily, daytime potsmoking I try to remember that it has been a balm for anxiety and ptsd in a way that works better for me than anything else I have ever tried. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I love this peek into your daily world, and especially that last paragraph!

    I want to make my home somewhere that can nuture us and our guests too, not just a source of frustration at not keeping it clean.

  3. I’m not going to telling you how often I clean my kitchen/bathroom/house but I think you can probably make an educated guess. Your mornings are very very different than mine but I love reading how your routines help your mental health and overall productivity. And jealous of that alarm clock!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! I was waiting for your AM/PM because your situation is most similar to mine (grad student, lives alone with cat, loves keeping house) so thank you! I’m inspired to do more morning chores! I wonder if that alarm clock would help!

  5. Okay imoortant question do you have a favorite candle/candle brand, I love candles too and when I’m feeling fancy I get them online from Witch City Wicks but mostly I buy them discounted from TJ Maxx

  6. I love this so much! I’ve been really leaning into daily cleaning/ordering as a sort of meditative anti-anxiety thing. For some reason it works best in the morning, too. I’ve been feeling kind of weird/guilty though, bc of the like “housewife” connotations of domesticity, but I love this reclaiming and proud queering of it so so much. Thank you!

  7. This is full of really useful advice. Mornings are not my best time but I just may be able to sneak in a few of these habits without my brain noticing too much and putting a stop to it.

    A while ago I got into the habit of cleaning the kitchen sink area before bed. And funny thing, since I stopped using my dishwasher my kitchen is actually cleaner !

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