Angry little girl sits on toilet training seat, screaming at camera, while her twin sister stands ne...

14 Of The Worst Cleaning Moments Parents Have To Deal With

Kids are like a metaphor for life: they're wonderful and interesting and challenging and messy. Those messes, both metaphorical and literal, are all very normal and natural, but the horrible cleaning moments parents have to deal with are just annoying AF.

One of the things I love most about having children is seeing how much and how quickly they learn. They're always coming home with fun facts and new ideas and seeing them grow in their knowledge and abilities is incredible. But it seems that what they're really good at learning, at all stages of their development, is finding new ways to make messes. Just as we're finally getting a handle on them, say, crapping themselves, they discover finger paints.

Look, us parents know what we signed up for (more or less), and it's true that after a while you just sort of get used to it. But that doesn't mean we have to like it, people. Because remember that white couch you had before your kids were born that you and your partner kept nice for years? Remember a time when no one ever drew on your walls because they were feeling extra creative that day?

Still, a little crayon on the wall is nothing compared to the following:

Blowout In Public

The horror that is the car seat blowout. Photo courtesy of Danielle Campoamor.

The proliferation of ungodly amounts of baby poo more commonly known as a blowout is never fun. But it's especially not fun when you're out in public. When you're home you've got all your on supplies, you're near a bathtub, and, let's face it, everything you own has probably been shat over the past few months or years anyway so, LOL, it's not like you even have nice things anymore!

But public blowouts? That requires hoping you have enough wipes in your bag to clean everything and a spare outfit. My children have definitely been put back in their car seats basically naked but for a diaper as a result of their horrifying bowels and my insufficient planning.

Wetting The Bed

You know when cleaning body fluids is the least fun? When it's 3 a.m. and you were sleeping and you know you've got to be up in a couple hours and also no one is at fault here so you can't blame anyone or anything.

Food Gunk On The High Chair

Your child's high chair will probably be the most absolutely disgusting piece of furniture in your home for several years. It's constantly exposed to mushy, baby-and-toddler-safe foods that get smashed into every nook and cranny, smeared on each strap, and underneath every pad and cushion. And who has time to clean every part of it immediately before it crusts up a bit? All that food got on your baby, too, so you have to go give them a rinse.

Every now and then you'll feel brave and give it a good, deep clean, and the only thing that'll keep you from vomiting is the knowledge that if you do you'll have to clean another mess.


Speaking of vomit (which is a not infrequent topic of conversation when you're a parent), like blowouts, vomit is always a horror to deal with, but never more so than in the car. First of all, there are so many places it can get stuck in a car seat. Second, and perhaps most importantly, you are in a small, enclosed space and there is nothing that will get out a vomit smell but time and the grace of God.

Dog Poo On Stroller Wheels

Hopefully you discovered this by sight rather than gradually noticing the smell. Yes, the people who don't clean up their dog's poop are the worst and now you have to get, like, a toothpick or something and gag as you try to get it out of all the little grooves of your stroller wheels.

The Vintage Goldfish Crackers In the Car Seat

Nothing will make you feel like garbage quite like finding all the garbage that's in and under your child's car seat when you have to move it. I'm willing to bet that the average car seat hides or contains a minimum of one serving of three different foods.

Lego Pieces

Look, I really do love when my kids play with their Lego sets (do in no small part to the fact that they can play with them for hours which, in mom time, is like days when it comes to how much you can get accomplished). And compared to just about everything else on this list, this task is nothing. Sure, it can be annoying to clean up toys, but at least you don't need to shower afterwards.

So what makes this such an awful mess to have to deal with? It's twofold. One, your child will always yell at you for disrupting their creation, even if they haven't played with it for days. Two, you are going to step (or worse, kneel) on a Lego at some point.

Potty Training

Face it: potty training will break you. Shutterstock

Potty training will break you, mentally and spiritually. You will never be the same again. There will be urine everywhere. At a certain point, you will wonder if you should even bother cleaning it because what's even the point? You will (of course), but you will do this so frequently that by the time your child is potty trained you will take no real pleasure from it.

Dirty Socks

Where in the hell are all these dirty socks coming from?! I mean, I know. They come from the feet of my lazy-ass family who can't be bothered to take less than a minute to put them in a laundry basket.

This mess isn't actually terrible, though my husband's smelly socks challenge that statement, but it's the principle of the thing.

Slime Ground Into The Carpet

To whoever invented slime, on behalf of millions of parents everywhere who once had a really nice rug (or bed sheets or couch or literally any textile at all) and now don't: from the bottom of my heart, I want you to know you're a monster and we all hate you.

That Smell In Your Car

Is... is it a chicken nugget? Is it an old diaper? Is it a bottle that still had some milk in it? Is it an apple core? You'll sniff and sniff and sniff and when you find it, yes, you'll be relieved... but you'll also be filled with shame and disgust.


You know the Greek myth about Hercules and the hyrdra, a many-headed, serpentine monster who would sprout two heads for every one removed? That's a great analogy for glitter because whenever you think you've cleaned it up you wind up finding more for the rest of forever. My daughter once dumped a ton of the stuff about 18 months ago and I'm convinced I'll still be finding it long after she's gone to college.

Mother Nature Coming To Visit

I love Mother Nature but, like most mothers, that woman is a mess. Mud, sand, water, leaves, dirt, and those tiny little pebbles that come in with the snow on your boots? It's all a mess. I love when my kids enjoy the great outdoors, but why the hell can't they keep it outdoors instead of dragging entire ecosystems into my home?

The Mystery Mess

Sometimes a disgusting mess is a complete mystery. And you know what? Sometimes it's best not to ask, never to know, and just clean it and forget it as best you can.