Parent Life

a toddler boy making a mess in the bathroom
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22 Things Desperate Parents Let Their Kids Destroy For Some Dang Peace

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Originally Published: 

As much as you love your little one, sometimes they can really get in the way of your need for space, quiet, or just doing every day things. Every now and then, you can get so desperate that there are things you let your kids destroy for some peace... even just a few minutes of silence.

Every parent has been there at some point. Maybe you're on a work call, or you have an important guest over, or there's a mess that has to be cleaned up, or a chore that must be done. In those moments, you see your child doing something that, on a regular day, they really shouldn't be doing... but you surrender. You wave your white flag because you desperately need a little peace and quiet, even if it's at the expense of your can of shaving cream or an entire packet of craft glitter.

If you're still feeling a little ashamed about the time your child managed to open a box of fruit snacks, and ate them all, while you watched from afar, here are stories from moms who've been there. Not only have they been there, but they have absolutely no regrets because it was totally worth it at the time.


Feeling Blue

“My son has these play kitchen toys that he likes to play with in water and one day he kept whining that he needed the water to be colored, so I finally just let him put some [kid-safe] coloring into it. Shocker, he put in too much and his hands and arms were blue all day because of it. Oh well.” — Krissy Y.


Sticker Shock

“I was completely exhausted from a day of parenting my toddler and she kept insisting on playing with stickers. Eventually, I gave up the fight and let her stick them all over my bed and comforter because then at least I could lay down while she did it.” — Lori F.



“I once let my son destroy a piece of styrofoam because it made “snow” and he loved it. It was a God-awful mess everywhere, but it was just a quick vacuum to clean up. So, in the long run, I chose an easy mess to clean up for 30 minutes of quiet.” — Xandra D.


Let It Roll

Amanda G.

“Toilet paper! Sometimes the only way I can get ready is if my son plays with it in the bathroom. Whatever it takes!” — Amanda G.


Wardrobe Malfunction

“My daughter always insists on wearing her dresses when she’s playing, but she always gets them dirty or ends up coloring/painting on herself so I started separating her clothes into ‘play dresses’ and ‘nice dresses.’ This system didn’t work so I finally said ‘eff it’ and now I just let her destroy whatever clothes she wants to.” — Kilee B.


Bye-Bye, Books

“All of my kids’ pop-up and flip books are torn to pieces because it was easier to just let it happen than to keep running interference trying to stop them from being too rough with the pages.” — Jacklyn J.


Sensory Overload

“I’ve had many Pinterest-inspired sensory bins gone completely wild. I always get a false hope that my son will keep the rice, lentils, or oats nicely contained in his specially designed table, but 95% of the time it’s a huge mess, but I let him go buck wild anyway so I can get some stuff done.” — Stephanie B.


Dirt Can’t Hurt

“My 2-year-old kept taking her shovel and pulling dirt out of my planter to pour into her (full) water table. After about 15 minutes of asking her to stop and her screaming at me each time, I finally gave up and just let her create the dirty water table of her apparent dreams.” — Ashley Z.


Outdoor Adventures

“I gave up the fight on outdoor toys, and lounging in the backyard is much more enjoyable because of it.” — Lisa E.


All Bets Are Off

“I pretty much let my kids go to town if it means I can get my stuff done. My son loves to take everything out of the pantry and I figure if it keeps him occupied then I can clean it up later.” — Kelley D.


Whatever It Takes To Rest

"Just this past weekend I was diagnosed with the flu and let my 7-year-old do some 'gem kit', which [resulted in] sand and hammer marks all over my dining room table and floor. BUT there was peace for two hours. Sand vacuumed up, table now has character marks." Jill B.


An Unexpected Coloring Book

"On our first road trip, I let my 2-year-old color all over herself in order to make it through the last few hours of the drive." Kelly L.


Doritos Fingers

"I had a stomach bug when [my daughter] was maybe 18-months-old, so still very small. I usually fed her super healthily but that day I gated off the playroom, gave her a party size bag of Doritos and let her have her way with it. I dozed on the floor, waking occasionally to vomit and see how many more orange hand prints had appeared around the room. Absolutely worth it." Kathleen K.


Tissues Are A Dime A Dozen

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"Boxes of tissues. Sometimes pulling all the tissues (or wipes) out of the container and 'cleaning' will keep my 2-year-old busy for so long — totally worth it." Stephanie B.


RIP Little Golden Book

"Little Golden Books in the back of the car — I can hear her ripping them up as I drive. It's the car, so there's no way to get it away from her once she's begun without pulling over, so I've resigned myself that there will be some ripped up books. Our car is currently littered with little pieces of paper from this. I'm hoping she doesn't think it's OK to rip up books now, but we have long commute, and this helps keep her busy." Anonymous


Quiet Worship In Exchange For Water Play

"I let my son soak himself at church yesterday because he found a step stool and a water fountain. He played for 20 minutes and I'm sure he drank some of it, and the rest assisted in keeping him clean. Which is good because he was too tired for a bath last night!" Beth H.


Coloring On The Wall

"My husband is [strict] about screen time. I go away to run errands and come home to crayons all over every wall. He literally just watched him draw on the wall because it was easier than not." Claire G.


Wiped Out Of Wipes

"We once let our 1-year-old (who was 9 or 10 months at the time) play with a packet of wipes on a long drive because nothing else was working and he always loved the crinkle. We thought, 'oh, he can't open it, we'll be fine'. He was so quiet we forgot and got home to literally an entire packet of wipes pulled out and strewn about the car. You know what, though? Worth it." Heather G.


Self Care

"My older son got a tin of butt cream and smeared it all over himself and the carpet when I went downstairs to throw the laundry in." Susan B.


Airline Facial

"I spent many flights letting my son cover my face with painters tape. I thought he’d like to stick it on the tray table or arm rests or something, but no, my face was the target and I willingly participated for hours of a happy quiet baby on a plane." Christina P.


Seriously, What's With Kids And Tissues?

"My oldest emptied an entire box of tissues while I was taking in groceries from the garage... then shoved them all back into the box again" Mara H.


Early Driving Lessons

"In the warmer months, I've put my (now) 2-year-old twins [safely] in the front seat of my parked car... with water bottles, a bag of Goldfish, the windows down, and me sitting outside the car with music playing on my phone. They love pushing all of the buttons and hollering out the window at dogs and cyclists. Nothing a vacuum and button reset can't fix later." Kristina S.