What dawned on me today leading me to sit and type away in my pajama’s (it’s noon), hair greased back in a pony, glasses still on because I am too tired to put on my contacts, having eaten three Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast, butt tired because I was up all night with a constantly throwing up child… is that being a Mom can be a really dirty disgusting job that I don’t think I knew anything about before found myself knee deep in all sorts of bodily fluids that didn’t even belong to me!
I knew about the piles of dishes, loads of laundry, meal making demands of being a Mom. I knew I needed a chauffeurs licence, to change diapers, to rock crying children, to kiss boo-boo’s and to stop sibling fights. I knew I would need to teach manners, help with homework, read bedtime stories, play make believe and I Spy. I knew I would need to deal with picky eaters, temper tantrums, and the constant demands of “I want… I want… I want.” Not that I knew how to deal with any of these things when I first became a Mom, but I at least knew to anticipate them.
What I hadn’t expected, however, were the following 10 Dirty Mom Jobs I would need to embrace when loving and caring for my children. I have also allotted a Dirty Mom Score to each job on a scale of 1-10. I have taken into account how gross the job can be, the number of times the job can occur, the ability it has to multiply into more work for you and the nuisance it is to your routine.
1. The Snot Cleaning Mom
This one is not too bad… but in case you have never thought about it… babies and toddlers do not know how to “blow” into a tissue. In fact when my kids understood how to do this it felt like a milestone had been reached. Up until then, however, it was my job to clean up their snot. And kids always have snot. Whether its because they are teething, have a little cold, the weather is changing, there are allergens around… whatever… the product called Boogie Wipes was invented for a reason. Let’s not even get into the poking a prodding that happens when they are dry stuck boogies you just have to get out or else they can’t breathe!
And sometimes no matter how prepared you would like to be, there is no tissue around for you to use. So you either use your kids clothes, your clothes or your hand to clean up the job. Gross but true. What else do you want me to do? Let my kids boogers slide so far down that they could lick them up? Ekkkk. Yes, that has happened too.
Dirty Mom Score: 3
2. The Breastfeeding/Formula Mom
Now you may disagree… but I have breastfed and used formula at some point while feeding my babies and there are aspects of both options that gross me out. For the Formula Mom: the smell of milk that slipped down your babies chin and curdled under their neck rolls always grossed me out. Another one was finding old milk bottles that somehow you missed seeing under the crib or car seat that need cleaning. Yuck. As for the Breastfeeding Mom: leaky boobs… need I say more. Okay I will. Needing to change because you’ve leaked out of your breast pad and have wet rings around the nipple area of your shirt. Or seeing the white film that has developed inside your bra throughout the day because you slowly leaked here and there. Or waking up in a puddle of milk because you fell asleep on your stomach and your milky boobs were being pushed to the point of expression. All these things grossed me out. But someone has to feed the baby and that someone is Mom.
Dirty Mom Score: 3
3. The Learning-To-Eat Messy Toddler Cleaning Mom
We’ve all been around someone’s kid who is just going to town on their dinner. Yummy. “I love how you are eating all your food!” The problem is they do not eat all their food. Plus they don’t know how to feed themselves and when they become toddlers they demand to feed themselves. So begins the half a year when you have to silently cringe while outwardly applaud your toddler who happily tries, by trial and error, to learn how to eat.
Food gets everywhere… seriously everywhere. On them, on the highchair, on the floor, on the wall… I mean there is no avoiding it. Then they get to loudly signal “all done” and now the real work for you begins: the clean up job! Wipes, wipes, wipes galore… scrub the highchair, wall and floor… a new outfit or maybe two and your baby is good as new… until they eat again!
Dirty Mom Score: 4
4. The Fetching Items Out of the Toilet Mom
I have been lucky that most of the times this has happened it has been an accident. None of my kids have found joy in playing in or near the toilet (thankfully)… but occasionally things have wound up in there either way. What kinds of things? A race car, the Super Why highlighter, a special scrunchy and my brush are items I can remember. Anytime you are faced with having to fish items out of the toilet it is gross. Even if it is a clean toilet and you get creative, no one wants to have to pull items out and deal with rinsing and disinfecting them! Who has been lucky enough to take care of that job? Mom.
Dirty Mom Score: 4-6 (depending on the cleanliness of your toilets at the time and the frequency this occurs)
5. The Tossing Out Dying Leftovers from the Fridge Mom
Have you ever accidentally left food (typically leftovers) in your nice Tupperware containers or fancy Pyrex bowls for days and days… okay maybe a week (or two)? It was surely an accident… although you did see them in there you just didn’t feel like eating leftovers and so you left them alone. Then you knew they probably weren’t leftovers worthy of eating, but you didn’t have time to deal with tossing them right then and there, so you let them be again. Now you really need the space in the fridge or the bowl for some new leftover… so you reach in, grab the container and open it forgetting how long it has sat neglected in the fridge only to be met with a gruesome site and even worse stench of moldy dying leftovers. Ewwww. Close that lid as fast as you can woman!
You contemplate leaving the closed container outside and having your husband deal with it (but the last time that happened you forgot to tell him about it and the container got warm and even more gooey to deal with and then you got an earful from your husband about how this could possibly have stayed in the fridge for so long). Okay so you have to take it outside to dispose of it in its own trash bag, tie it as quickly as possible and chuck it in the outdoor trash running away from it as fast as you can. You can rinse it out later once the smell has been blown away by the breeze.
Dirty Mom Score: 5
6. The Potty Training Mom
If you have only thought about potty training in terms of needing to teach your child to let you know when they have to go, then you are in for a BIG surprise to learn that potty training is far more extensive than that. In fact that is only the first step (I was shocked this was a multi-step process at first too). After they figure out that their body is telling them they have to go, they then have to be able to hold it long enough to make to a bathroom.
The number of accidents that happen between this step and the next step varies per child… but not once is it fun to sop up pee-pee or poo-poo that was intended for a toilet. Now once they are able to make it to the bathroom in time, you are pulling down their pants for them and helping them get on the toilet for a long time. They aren’t necessarily coordinated or tall enough for those activities yet (at least mine weren’t when they got to this stage a little before 2.5 years old).
By the time they are 3-4 they can probably get to the bathroom, pull down there pants, climb up to sit in the toilet and maybe you let them wipe when they go pee-pee. I have not been brave enough to let them wipe #2 at this age. Their arms are just not long enough to do the job right! So you get one of two things if you let them try: poop on their hands and a mound of toilet paper in the toilet from their trying to wipe well or poop in their underpants from not wiping well enough. Uggghhh disgusting either way. So I wipe for them to avoid that drama and I get to hear, “Mooooommm. I’m doooooonnee.” Between 4-5 year old (they have to learn before Kindergarten right?) they somehow master going to the bathroom alone and taking care of their business themselves. Now this mastery may only be during the day time… don’t get me started on Night Time Potty Training which leads me to the next Dirty Mom job…
Dirty Mom Score: 5-6 (depending on the amount of accidents and trauma that occurred during this stage).
7. The Changing Pee-Pee Sheets Mom (aka. Night Time Potty Training Mom)
Bah! I thought we mastered potty training?! Oh wait… what?! There are another 12 hours in the day of a child’s life when they are asleep and they need to figure out how to get up out of bed, get down the hall, and proceed to do normal potty duties (pull down your pants, get on the toilet, wipe and flush) all the while half asleep and potentially in the dark?! Grrr. It’s like starting a whole knew potty training cycle. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
I personally ended up leaving diapers on my kids at night longer than most might (3-4 Years Old)… but I tried the alternative and it stinks! No literally… bed sheets full of pee stink. You know if your kid wet the bed as soon as you open their door in the morning. The faint mist of urine fills their room. Plus, you now have the added bonus of having to wash an extra load of laundry and make another bed (or if you are lazy or just about had it with this whole potty training business you might simply lay a towel over the peed area and let them sleep on that… guilty! ). Boo that! So we waited until we had to deal with night time potty training once they were older. It helped! What worked for us was limiting drinks at night, making them go potty before they went to bed (7-8pm) and then waking them up to go potty when we went to bed (9:30-10:30pm). That pretty much worked once their bladder was a little more mature… but of course I still get the occasional duty of changing my kids pee-pee sheets.
Dirty Mom Score: 5-6 (depending on the amount of accidents and trauma that occurred during this stage).
8. The Blow-Out Cleaning Mom
Most of us know before having children that as a Mom you will have to change more than your fair share of the poopy diapers. Just makes sense… you are home and it has to get done. But I don’t think I ever knew about the dreaded Blow-Out. You know when your kid’s poop leaves the confines of their diaper… and it seeps out through the bottom all over their clothes or worse up their back.
Bleg! The kicker is when this happens places where you are not prepared to deal with this kind of mess… like at church, the mall, a friends house who doesn’t have children, etc. Or when it happens and they have been sitting in their car seat, or in their crib, or wandering around leaving poop smears where ever they go until you catch it. Then when you proceed to clean them, there is a little dance that ensues as you try to remove their outfit without getting them full of more poop (especially if you have to pull off a onesie over their head… oh yeah the thought of accidentally getting the poop on their head or in their hair is terrifying). You wish you could just throw your kid in the shower and the outfit away… but sometimes that isn’t always feasible. Needless to say have an extra outfit on hand and wipes stashed in your car. Wipes are your best friend when loving on children. Note: If blow-outs are happening regularly it may be time to get bigger sized diapers for your kid.
9. The Diarrhea Turned Diaper Rash Changing Mom
This is another one that involves poop… but it is very different than changing a regular diaper or a blow-out. One word: diarrhea. It may not blow-out, but it is every bit as gross to clean and typically remains constant throughout the time your child is experiencing these symptoms. The hard thing is you have to be on it… you have to change your kid quick. Otherwise the nature of the diarrhea and its acidity will eat away at your poor baby’s bottom making it red, raw and given enough frequency can actually make an open sore. Worst ever! When it gets to this stage (and it can get there quickly) a new problem arises: you can’t simply wipe them with a wipe! The wipe actually stings their open sore and they are in a ton of pain typically screaming at the top of their lungs trying to wriggle away from you. The only option that wont hurt them is simply using water. I typically strip and rinse my baby in the shower. Yes unfortunately it’s a production, but it works and doesn’t hurt them. Now you can dry them, re-diaper them and dress them so that within about a half-hour you can do it again.
Dirty Mom Score: 7
10. The Vomit Cleaning Mom
Can I just tell you that this may be the worst of all the dirty jobs a Mom has to take care of?! Your darling child has some sort of stomach bug… that you will later hunt down and kill whoever infected your child with this awful disgusting mess that now has to unfold in your house. It’s not bad enough that you have to witness the heartbreak of your little one who can’t help but spill their inside’s out on their beds, your carpet, bathroom floor… everywhere other than the trash can you have left for them to use or the toilet where you could at least flush the yuck away. And of course your kids are crying and saying, “I don’t want to throw up any more Mommy,” and you would give anything to take that awful pain away from them so you don’t have to see there little bodies suffer.
Aside from the anguish this brings you, you now have to strip whatever has been puked on and find some way to rinse it off because you can’t throw chunks in the wash (we have literally taken bedding off and rinsed it outside with a hose before… because I couldn’t stand to do it in the house). Or you have to clean it up by hand if it is on your floor (hopefully not carpet… but of course it is) and then scrub down and disinfect everything… usually in the middle of the night… at least in my experience it’s almost always, Always, ALWAYS in the middle of the night! Which makes you such a nice person in the morning (but that is another story). And do I need to mention the smell? It’s strong enough to make you want to hurl but you have to suck it up and deal as the Mommy. You may as well own stock in Lysol and Purell for the amount of disinfection you’ll want to do. Meanwhile your cleaning efforts are proven futile because the second you looked away from your child to start cleaning up the mess they have yet again thrown up on something else, somewhere else in your house. Terrific. Let’s do that again!
The bigger tragedy that can almost always go down is that if you don’t clean and disinfect properly… if you don’t keep an eye on what your child touches like a hawk… if you don’t stop them from sharing things with other members of your family… then someone else can fall victim to the stomach bug and all bets are off to the amount of gross laundry and cleaning that will need to happen.
Dirty Mom Score: 10
To be clear… this list is NOT meant to say “Woe, Is Me” as a Mom… if anything it should be a stress relieving comedic moment between you and all other Mom’s busy cleaning up crap just like you… literally. Be proud to be a Mother… no one is equipped or will want to do these jobs for your family but YOU. Please do not lose heart over the seemingly menial tasks that consume most of your day. It may seem like nobody notices the countless hours you spend cleaning up even the dirtiest of jobs that you didn’t even make … but let me tell you that God does. He notices. He smiles and laughs and cries over the tasks you face with you. He knows what it’s like to have come in service of others and not be appreciated. He died at the hands of the very people he came to save.
If you are feeling like “Woe, Is Me,” I encourage you to cry out to God and search his Word. Ask Him for help understanding and appreciating your God given role as a Mother. Most of all ask Him to comfort you… don’t mope to your husband or girlfriends… laugh and rejoice with those people about your chaos… let God’s shoulder be the one you cry on because only He can truly strengthen you when you are home alone with your children.
Please share your own Dirty Mom stories too. I would love to laugh with you about them!