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It's the dirtiest little secret of my marriage and it
pains me to admit it, but here it is: My husband does all the cleaning.
It wasn't always like this. Before kids, giving our
apartment a once-over was part of my Saturday morning routine, right after
enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee and before going to the gym. I'd break out
the Bounty, put on some music and wipe down all of our visible surfaces. I felt pretty good about my somewhat half-assed
Now, with 3 ½ year-old twins, cleaning is
a never-ending chore, and it's one that my husband attacks with an intensity
and zeal that I appreciate—but that also sometimes scares me.
On any given day, I will walk into our house and find him
scrubbing the toilet, disinfecting the kitchen sink or vacuuming in between the
couch cushions. I'm not just talking about regular, wipe-things-down-type
cleaning. He's going deep.
What makes it even more guilt-inducing is that he has a
noble reason behind it. He's doing it "for the children."
But I soon learned that the safest thing to do when my husband goes on a cleaning spree is to make like Stevie Nicks and Stand Back.
Of course I want our home to be spot-free so our kids
can stay healthy. It's just that the prospect of cleaning seems so daunting now.
I know the result of my efforts will be cancelled out the moment the wheels of
the double-stroller come rolling across the floor. However much I do, it's just
a matter of time before the twins come barreling in, spilling milk on the floor
and wiping their snotty noses on the sofa. It kind of makes you want to just
give up and pour yourself a glass of wine.
Which I do, frequently.
While becoming a parent of twins has increased my
propensity for nightly cocktail drinking, my husband has channeled his nervous parenting
energy into scrubbing and scouring.
Of course I offered to help out at first. But I soon
learned that the safest thing to do when my husband goes on a cleaning spree is
to make like Stevie Nicks and Stand Back. This is particularly true when he is
mopping—an endeavor that involves stacking all of our belongings into a Jenga-like
tower in the center of the room. Walking across the wet floor and breathing are both activities that are
inadvisable during this time.
Sometimes he cleans things to the point of breaking
them. Like our stove, which now only has knobs on two of the burners. All four
of our knobs, including the ones that no longer snap onto the stove, are very
clean, though. Literally, you could lick our knobs and totally be OK.
I know my place in this relationship. I'll just give him more sex.
I know to stay away when he cleans out the fridge,
removing the delicate glass panes that hold our cream cheese and hummus. Even
though he curses profusely during this task, I think a part of him secretly