Toddlers love to help. They also love mimicking adults, so it makes sense they would want to sweep or help cook dinner or clean from time to time. The problem? They suck at helping. Romper asked moms to share the hilarious stories of their toddlers "helping" them clean because, bless their hearts, they create so much more work than they could possibly counteract.
No one is surprised here though, right? I mean, toddlers are basically just sentient messes. The idea that they could ever participate in any sort of cleaning or tidying is antithetical to their very existence. Of course, as a parent, it's up to us to help them learn to be less messy and that can start in the toddler years, but OMG that learning curve is frustrating AF. (Especially if you're an anal retentive Type A, like me, who wants things done properly.) It's a delicate balance between teaching them how to be responsible, tidy humans and getting anything clean in the next couple years.
Of course, sometimes, the little darlings take matters into their own hands. And when they do, you're sure to have an even larger mess on your hands, and a hilarious story to go along with it.
"I have one of those spray mops where you pull a little lever at the top of the handle and it sprays a cleaning solution from a bottle at the bottom. My toddler is obsessed with it and always begged me to use it. Finally I relented thinking, 'What harm could it do?' I showed her how to use it and then left the room for a couple minutes. In those few minutes she emptied the entire bottle of cleaning solution onto the kitchen floor, spray by spray. It was at least a liter of fluid. So then I had to clean the kitchen floor and wash all the towels I used to clean the kitchen floor."
"So this wasn't about my kids, but about me as a kid. When I was about 3 years old, my mom found me in the bathroom 'washing' my clothes in the toilet. I told her I was helping her with the laundry."
"My daughter wanted to clean the windows for me. So she licked them and wiped them off with a paper towel."
"Does taking off your own poopy diaper and leaving it face-down on the rug count as trying to clean? I have to pretend he's trying to help so that I don't sell him to the first willing buyer."
"My daughter 'cleaned' our bathroom with my husband's cologne because she thought we would appreciate the nice smell. Even if there had been any cologne left in the bottle (there was, but barely) he could never wear it again because once you've smelled that much of it at once in an enclosed space you get immediately sick of it."
"I love gardening and I've been taking [my daughter] out with me to 'help' since she would nap the entire time in her Moses basket. I guess in all that time she didn't learn the difference between a weed and a flower, because she pulled up half my garden one day while I was weeding the other half."
"I discovered my son cleaned the floor with lemon Pledge one day when I tried to walk across in socks, slipped backwards, and cracked my head. Months later I'm still finding slick spots."
"When my daughters were in their princess/pirates phase, we played Cinderella or Capt’n Hook to get my floors clean. Swabbin’ the deck! We did it more than a few times, costumes and all. I was in the weeds with three [kids] under 5 years old, so the floors looked better than if we didn’t play."
"My daughter thought cleaning the bathtub with Listerine was a good idea. In her defense, it was originally marketed as a floor cleaner, so it could have been worse, though it smelled like a candy cane factory for a week or so."
"Any time my kid tries to clean their room it's a sh*tshow. Everything just gets shoved in a closet."
"We've been giving my toddler more responsibilities and one of them is putting her folded clothes away in her dresser. She's really taking to it and is so proud of herself! Just the other day she figured she would 'help' me by putting the unfolded clothes from a nearby laundry basket into my drawers... they were dirty, smelly, sweaty gym clothes."
"My kids don't even pretend to help clean, but after hearing some of these stories I feel like that's for the best!"
"My 4-year-old wanted to help me clean the car yesterday. She brought down her Melissa and Doug cleaning set and swept the sunroof."