“No, really, I want to do the washing up, you go and play with your child.”
This may sound like playing the martyr, but it really is true. I want to stand staring out of the window with my hands plunged in a bowl of warm, soapy water, scrubbing cemented cereal off bowls. While occupied by this mundane task my mind is free to wander, to gather my thoughts and organise them inside my head.
This time is my own.
Time spent analysing the plots of fairy stories with an inquisitive two-year-old is not time to myself. There’s no chance of daydreaming or list making when you are being called out for getting one of the Seven Dwarves names wrong.
Should one find one’s mind wandering while reading a picture book a sticky hand will swiftly grasp your chin and pull you back into the story.
Sitting down to ponder the meaning of life puts me open to being used as a human bouncy castle or climbing frame.
So domestic chores have become part of a regime of meditation.
Turning on the vacuum cleaner can create a wall of sound that drowns out the tuneless caterwauling of “Just A Spoonful Of Sugar” and envelops me in a cloud of calm.
The excuse of chopping vegetables requires turning my back on the frantic game of make believe, turning on the radio and tuning out.
Cleaning the bathroom is an escape to a hallowed temple where I can polish my ideas as well as the taps, and flush away worries and woes.
Of course there is plenty to be said for the benefits of distraction.
When the world weighs heavy on my shoulders, what a treat it is to be invited to snuggle up in a chair and read about fun and fantasy.
If the To Do List is starting to overflow and become daunting, or the labour ahead seems all too Herculean, what better release than to roll around on the floor in a flurry of tickles.
But when the other parent returns from the blissful seclusion of a commute, however tired and grumpy, and attempts to steal away the treat of washing up for themselves, they can think again.
Get in that sitting room and face the music! This sink is a sacred space where I worship. And no one is taking it away from me.