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My Dirty Secret For a Clean Home

Happy Couple
Photograph by Getty Images/Fuse

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 labor.

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.

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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 enjoys it.

After a particularly stressful day at work, he came home and announced he was going to clean the barbecue.

"I don't think this was ever cleaned before," he said triumphantly, showing me the soiled paper towels with a glint of satisfaction in his eyes.

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With my guilt nearly crushing me, I attempted to help out, vacuuming the rug and Swiffering off the dressers in our bedroom. A few hours later, my husband came home and fixed my work.

So from now on, I'm not even going to try. I know my place in this relationship. I'll just give him more sex. And when it comes to cleaning, I'll let him handle the dirty work.

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