Moonlighting at 16 

Most teenagers have learned to balance school, activities, and their social life; however, not many teenagers have had the honor to be a housewife. 

My parents got divorced when I was eleven years old, which is the appropriate age to learn how to cook, clean, do laundry, and monitor my younger sister, Kameron. Nothing else satisfied my young soul as much as scrubbing the hardened ketchup off of my father’s dishes from the night before or washing my sister’s drenched towels from her friend’s pool party. Over the past five years, I have become an expert in chores, perhaps I’ve earned my masters in the subject. 

My skills extend far out from cleaning. I also have the outstanding opportunity of preparing dinners. My heart skips a beat as I cook for my picky sister, hungry dad, and my pescatarian self. Slicing, dicing, steaming, frying, and baking all produce an excess of happiness. I love when my sister has guests, especially since a majority of her friends have a specific taste. 

After cooking and cleaning, I finally begin my normal nourishing teenage duties. I take exuberant notes, solve long equations, write endless essays, read giant textbooks, and study infinite flash cards. This all takes a mere three hours, which takes me right up to practice. 

When I return to the office at ten o’clock at night from gymnastics, I help my sister with her homework. My sister is way too busy to do it during the day since she has many Tik-Toks to film and Chick-Fil-A nuggets to order. However, I was not very busy today either, so I assist her in algebra and biology. The tutoring sessions usually end with a screaming duel and me feeling accomplished and appreciated. 

I report to my “real” job at the family bakery, Classic Cake. I help my dad through taking orders, making trays, answering phones, and perfecting the cases. By law, this is my only job. 

In 2020, many people see women as stay-at-home moms or a trophy for their husbands. Women are only useful in the home, and they are outstanding cooks and maids. They train their entire lives to clean up after children and husbands.

Men are much smarter and capable than women, which is why men can’t wash their own plate or clean up the table. Being the eldest daughter in a single dad household, I, too, fall under this category, but why? Why should a child assume the responsibilities of keeping the house in order? My sister fails to recognize the work I put it, nor does she possess the desire to help out.

My dad “leaves” dishes and laundry for me since he knows that I love to do it. What else would I do when I’m bored? Certainly, a teenager has nothing better to do than to clean. Hanging with friends is far less exciting than a load of laundry. Going to dinner is boring compared to cooking chicken marsala. Nobody would rather watch a movie than to vacuum the living room. The most desirable attribute of moonlighting at sixteen is the appreciation and help I receive.

My sister is my biggest investor, as she never lacks dirty clothes or dishes. Her splendid social life results in a constant mess in the bathroom or living room.

My dad never fails to provide me with additional trays to make or orders to fill. The empty water cups or half eaten bag of chips drives me to the kitchen night after night. 

Eldest daughters, and women in general, are privileged from the day they are born with the never-ending task of cleaning up others’ messes. Ran out of paper towels? Women got it covered. Hungry? Dinner is in the oven. Women are the professors of multitasking. As a teenager, my future obligations can only widen.

How invigorating!