Photo Credit*: Those McKissics
(* Also worth mentioning: My hands were recently washed when this picture was taken and no germs were spread in the process.)
Remember in my intro when I told you that my husband keeps our house clean? Well, what I failed to mention is that his love of all things tidy is extreme. Start talking to Scott about vacuum cleaners, and you have an automatic new friend. My man loves a spotless, sanitary, neat and orderly home, and with three young kids, that is a tall order. Here are five tips to show the germaphobe in your life that you love him.
- When asked, “are you teaching the kids to wash their hands after they go potty?”, answer “yes.” Let me set up the scene. Your four-year-old has been in the bathroom for quite some time. After ten minutes, he casually opens the door and returns to his nearby Lego set. Your husband, who has taken note he didn’t hear water running after a flush, glares at you with a disgusted look on his face and asks, “are you teaching the kids to wash their hands after they go potty?” Here’s what you do: For starters, dramatically throw your hands in the air. This makes what you’re about to say really believable. Then, squint your eyes together so creases form in your forehead (again, for dramatic effect), and exclaim, “of course I teach our kids to wash their hands after they go potty! Who do you think I am!? Some kind of MONSTER?!” Now, the trick here is to make him *think* what you just told him is true. We all know that ain’t nobody got time to make your kids wash their hands after every time they use the potty. They go fifty. times. a. day. At least. And they can’t reach the sink, so you have to stop scrolling Instagram, get off the couch, pick them up, and clean up after them after they splash around for ten minutes. No. Just no. BONUS TIP: When out in public (say, at a restaurant), if you take your child to the potty and no one else is in the restroom, quickly sprinkle a little sink water on your child’s hands (takes two seconds). This gives the *appearance* hands were washed when dad double checks back at the table.
- Make it appear like you thoroughly cleaned the kitchen after making dinner. Here’s the deal. When Scott cooks any form of raw meat in our home (think browning beef on the stove), he immediately changes into a Hazmat suit and goes to town. I’m talking Clorox wipes, the Swiffer, spraying, scrubbing, wiping, mopping, the whole nine yards. I’m not kidding when I say you can eat off of our kitchen floor. You can. And you’re welcome to. As long as you wipe it up afterwards. But the reality is this: My kids eat dinner early (often before Scott gets home for the day), and I work my tail off preparing meals for them (that they usually take THREE bites of before they are “full”). I’m too exhausted to clean after the dishes are loaded in the dishwasher. So here’s my advice to you if you find yourself in a similar situation: if you’re married to a man (or woman) who appreciates a clean kitchen, strategically set out a wet rag on the counter (he’ll think you wiped them down), and leave out a broom or mop (he’ll think you just forgot to put it away after using it). You’re welcome.
- Make weekly trips to Goodwill. Or don’t. But make your spouse think you did. Last weekend was my daughter’s third birthday. She celebrated by building a bear at Build-A-Bear. She spent time picking out its tiny cloth heart, “bathing” it, and finding the perfect outfit for her new friend. The next day (Yes, the NEXT day), I came home to Polly Bear resting in our Goodwill pile. Now, my husband would argue that my daughter didn’t touch the stuffed animal once she left the store. That may be true, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is this: allow your significant other to put things in the Goodwill pile. Then, when they aren’t looking, return them to their designated areas.
- Don’t threaten your loved ones with threats like “IF YOU DO THAT AGAIN, I’M GOING TO WEAR SHOES IN THE HOUSE!!!!” Don’t do it. It’s just mean.
- Always be on the lookout for a “hidden mess.” Some people are afraid of spiders. Others have a fear of heights or snakes. Want to know what sends my husband into a state of panic and despair? The thought of a “hidden mess.” What’s a “hidden mess,” you ask? It’s a pile of Goldfish crackers not yet swept up. It’s a newly drawn Crayon illustration on our freshly painted walls, not yet discovered. It’s a dirty diaper, thrown on the ground, not yet placed in the diaper genie. So, your job, as your spouse’s good friend and companion, is to always be on guard. You never know where there might be a mess to clean!
THANK YOU that I never have to clean toilets. THANK YOU that you have a good sense of humor and allow me to make fun of you. THANK YOU that I can always count on you for a baby wipe at the exact time I need it. THANK YOU for the genius idea of buying a hand vacuum for the kitchen. THANK YOU for being you, because without you my life would be a big, huge mess. I love you! Happy Valentine’s Day.
*I DO* promise to let you vacuum the bottom of trashcans (even though I think it’s totally insane) and not heckle you about it.