It’s spring cleaning season and everyone is getting their hands dirty reorganizing and cleansing their space — even if they’re doing so begrudgingly. Bounty, the makers of the quicker-picker-upper paper towels, launched a survey to see how people really feel about cleaning. The results were not shocking. They included that 67 percent of procrastinators know they should clean but say they don’t, and 56 percent shared that they have deep cleaning tasks they’ve put off for months. A fifth of Americans say cleaning is overwhelming and they just can’t bring themselves to do it. And 33 percent avoid cleaning their fridge of mystery stains and expired food. It’s clear that many of us will put off deep cleaning until we just can’t avoid it anymore.
Something that makes this time of tidying up not so tedious is having the right tools on hand to get the job done efficiently. A must-have for singer, TV personality and mom Adrienne Bailon-Houghton is a roll of Bounty paper towels. A self-proclaimed cleaning procrastinator, she’s a fan of the brand’s newest innovative paper towel, with a microstructure larger than previous designs to trap and hold messes better; that means less towels needed to clean up after yourself and others. We talked with Bailon-Houghton about taking on cleaning tasks on her own, cleaning up behind her bundle of joy, son Ever, and what motherhood means to her after her long journey to it.
ESSENCE: Many people assume that stars aren’t the ones doing everyday tasks for themselves. When it comes to cleaning, why do you opt to take that on yourself?
Adrienne Bailon-Houghton: I opt to take that on myself because I’m in this house 24 hours a day. Who has someone with them 24/7? There are things that happen – especially as a new mom: Bottles being made at 3 a.m. with my eyes closed. Things are bound to spill in the dark and your girl has to clean them up herself. That is just the reality of life and being a new mom – no matter how glamorous and luxurious your life may be, there’s motherhood; and clean-up is a must. Also, I think there’s something awesome about the privacy of cleaning up your own home and taking care of your own home. As much as I put it off at times, there’s nothing more fulfilling or more satisfying. I love even making a Reel about it; tap to clean vibes. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your accomplishments. So as much as I procrastinate from cleaning, when I finally get done, it’s exhilarating.
Of the worst things mentioned from the Bounty survey, including paying bills, doing taxes, going to the dentist, or running a marathon in the cold rain, which would you prefer to do over cleaning?
Going to the dentist. I’m going to get these teeth cleaned and come out popping with a cute smile. There will be no bad breath here. So while I procrastinate from cleaning my house, at least I’d prefer getting my teeth cleaned!
What keeps you from taking on cleaning tasks most of the time? Is it a busy schedule, is it a strong disdain for cleaning, or is it just getting to it because it’s very tedious?
I think getting to it because it’s tedious. I want to do mindless things. I think I do so much and use my brain so much that I’m just at capacity with my brain power. So, sometimes I just want to take a second to scroll mindlessly on Instagram and I think that is my biggest deterrent from actually getting done what I have to get done. I’d rather watch someone clean their house on Instagram than actually clean my house.
Now that you’re a mother of a little one, have cleaning needs increased and become more complicated?
Cleaning has definitely increased on so many levels. Diaper accidents and blowouts are a real thing. Having to change your bedsheets in the middle of the night is a real thing. While they definitely happen more often, I’ve learned how to do so much with just one arm. I have the baby on my hip, grab one sheet of Bounty, my available arm – and that’s all it takes! Get “sheet” done and I can even do it with just one sheet and one arm! I feel that being able to get a lot accomplished with just that one sheet is a must – you have to do as much as you can with what you have. Being efficient in cleaning is a must as a mom!
How do the new Bounty Paper Towels make things less of a hassle?
You just need one sheet. What’s more hassle-free than that? Also, now that my son is seven months old and grabbing everything, including the entire roll of Bounty, just being able to grab one sheet and him not see me grab all of this it actually helps conserve my time, too. I don’t have to stop him from doing it! But I also feel like being able to clean multiple things with just one sheet has been awesome for me. The other day I was doing some dishes, cleaning some bottles, and I had him on one arm and I was able to dry my hand with a sheet of Bounty, wipe up the splatter around me, I then made a bottle and dropped some formula, was able to clean up some of that powder, then dropped some milk out of his mouth, and was able to swipe that up as well with that same sheet. I was like, this is four tasks done with one sheet. I feel very accomplished!
Speaking of mommyhood again, how has parenting and loving Ever changed you?
I feel like this is something I wanted for a long time. Six years trying, and everyone told me it is going to be so much better than you imagine. I felt like because the desire was so great, I knew what this was going to be like – like I knew I’d love him to an obscene amount. Now, I just look at him and I’m like you are a miracle and I’m just so grateful every day that I get to love on someone and get to see the world through his eyes. Him looking at me is the greatest feeling in the world. Six years was a struggle, but that just makes becoming a mom that much more special. I don’t think anyone takes parenthood for granted but even in the moments where I’m so exhausted, I feel like the luckiest person to be exhausted from caring for my son. Also, I’ve stayed up later and been more tired from dumber things back in the day. If I went clubbing in my 20s, I can stay up all night to stare at this child.
I’ve watched your Faith and Familia episodes on YouTube and wanted to ask you how you maintained your resilience and remained encouraged on the journey to bring Ever into this world? From going to different doctors to the information you learned about your chromosomes and seeking the right surrogate, what kept you?
What kept me going was this desire that was in my heart and me feeling like if this love and this desire is there, it must be for a reason. I really do believe that faith played a huge role. I know a lot of people and some friends in fact that don’t want to have kids – it’s not a desire for them. I completely respect that! For me, becoming a mom was the first thing I thought of when I woke up in the morning and the last thing I thought of when I went to bed. I had to trust that me sharing my journey was going to bring hope to someone else. That everything I went through actually served a purpose and being able to share that journey on Faith and Familia was really important to me. And again, it was there to encourage somebody to tell somebody, and it didn’t even end up being the way I imagined it. Like I absolutely dreamt up and had the desire in my mind to breastfeed and have stunning maternity photos and have a natural water birth for myself and it didn’t turn out that way but that didn’t make it any less beautiful. And I think that I love my journey to motherhood more than anyone’s because it’s mine and it ultimately led me to my son. I just look at him and I’m reminded of the miracle that he is. He’s something I’ve prayed for for such a long time. And so there were a lot of learning lessons there, and I think also recognizing that what you imagined, and the desire in your heart and how you get there, may not end up being what you imagined, but that does not mean the desire is not real and that it won’t come to fruition. It absolutely has for me. I am a mother and that was the ultimate goal.