Disclaimer: If you know Adam in real life, by reading this post you are solemnly swearing to NEVER EVER tell him this information. You will ruin this for me. Anyone caught blabbing pays a hefty fine equal to one housekeeper's salary for all eternity.
Every evening, after we finish dinner, I look around at the kitchen and sigh heavily, dramatically wondering aloud how the kitchen I left spotless the previous night now looks like it has exploded.
After displaying my frustration, I sigh, tell the girls to go play with Daddy, and begin the kitchen clean-up.
I love it.
No, really, I do.
See, here's the thing. I get to kick everyone out of the kitchen at their crankiest time of the day. Then I run the water in the sink so I can't hear the commotion, bathe my hands in the warm water, and enjoy the zen moments that come from repetitive chores - washing, stacking, wiping counters.
I get to organize the dishwasher the way I like it.
I get to make sure things are where I want them.
Sometimes I put music or a show on my phone, stick the phone in a bowl (to keep it dry, hide it and amplify the sound) and stretch this chore out longer than necessary.
If the girls bother me, I shoo them back to Daddy, with exasperation in voice as I say, "Mommy is trying to clean the kitchen!" or even "the kitchen is closed!"
And I go back to my peaceful solitude.
I don't need to cajole the girls into their clean-up.
I don't need to referee their end of the day fighting.
I don't need to hustle them upstairs for bed.
By being the kitchen martyr, by taking on this awful chore, I am able to join the family upstairs for bath and bed, for the splashes and snuggles.
It is the perfect last job before I clock out as "mommy" for the day. I'm still doing a household chore that no one wants, but I'm alone, relaxed, and I know that whatever I do will stay clean for at least the next twelve hours - better odds than most other cleaning.
The trouble is that I think Adam is onto me. He's starting to offer to switch jobs after dinner - he'll do the kitchen later on once the girls are in bed. Thankfully, most evenings the time gets away from him and he doesn't manage to finish. When I do this the kitchen actually gets clean and stays clean, and he can't argue with success.
I've got to fake the perfect level of annoyance...enough to keep him thinking that he's got the better end of the deal.
Man, faking it feels good.