A visitor from a future time might think this activity was to make the home neat and orderly should Jesus decide to do a drop-by. Or, for those with a more secular bent, so that Santa would think "nice" (not "naughty") when he dropped down the chimney and picked out presents to leave under the tree.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It all has to do with MY MOTHER IS COMING TO MY HOUSE FOR CHRISTMAS!
Substitute BROTHER, SISTER, NEIGHBOR, BOSS, or any of the many flavors of IN-LAW and the theory works equally well.
No. No, it doesn’t. “Mom Clean,” is largely a phenomenon associated with young married women, and is most prevalent in the first ten years or so of a marriage…any marriage. Getting to “Mom Clean” rivals the preparation of a surgical amphitheater for open-heart surgery. And the results are just as sanitary, too. Not a single solitary thing is out of place. There is NO dust behind the refrigerator and one could eat off the floor under the refrigerator without fear of getting bubonic plague. The inside of the refrigerator… including the freezer… is also cleaned to the OR level. No mold-encrusted science experiments remain inside, nary a one. The year-long accumulation (or the accumulation since the last time Mom visited) of National Geographics get hauled to the basement…or the curb. And that’s just the first day. Let’s not talk about refinishing the floors (actually happened, once) or washing down all the walls. Or the disappearance of nearly every single ashtray in the house. (Where did they go, anyway? They reappeared, miraculously, after the visit was over.)
I never did any of that stuff for my boss or other assorted guests, including relatives of every stripe. Normal everyday cleaning sufficed and some times not even that, in the case of impromptu drop-ins. But there IS good news. Mom Clean, as a phenomenon, sorta disappears in women with the onset of middle age.
That was my experience, Gentle Reader…YMMV.