Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

What moms really think when cleaning up kid messes

Real life isn’t like those commercials where the kid spills his cereal everywhere and the mother acts briefly exasperated and then reaches for the paper towels with a big smile on her face. Real mom responses to kid messes go a little something like this.

Messy child's bedroom |

Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/360/Getty Images

Hello children, meet the closet

Kid phenomenon No. 12: No matter how close the closet is to the entry way or garage, kids will leave their junk scattered all over the floor. Raise your hand if you’re a mom and you’ve spent about 20 percent of your life putting shoes in a closet that is inches from where your kids removed said shoes. It doesn’t matter how many closets, hooks or expensive pieces of Pier 1 furniture you put in your entry way, your kids are convinced the floor is the best receptacle for shoes, coats, hats, mittens, boots, socks and backpacks. Here is what mothers really think when they are picking up these messes — “Surely God has a higher purpose for my life.”

Really? Just, really?

There are messes that make sense, and then there are just mindless messes that convince all mothers that their children think they are hired help. These are the squirrels’ nests that kids leave in their wake because they can’t be bothered to pick up one thing before they move to the next. These types of messes include discarded chip bags, empty soda cans, craft supplies scattered hither and yon and Legos piled in an indiscriminate fashion (that we typically discover after we’ve stepped on one, causing the nerve endings in our feet to scream out in pain).

These types of thoughtless messes are responsible for making grown, mature, rational women mutter under their breath, to no one in particular, “Really? Just really? Oh, OK. I guess the maid will pick it up. I guess you were too busy to pick up your own messes. Your time is more valuable than mine. You couldn’t be bothered picking up this mess because you had to move on to the next dirt bomb. Thanks. Thanks a lot. Where’s my corkscrew?”

“Do you have a piano tied to your butt?”

This is what moms think — and what many moms say — when they have spent the day picking up aforementioned messes and their little lamb makes a request. “I’m hungry. I’m thirsty.” Moms start to feel like they’re watching What About Bob? when Bill Murray starts fussing, “Gimme, gimme, gimme, I need, I need, I need.” It is at these moments that most mothers use “mom speak” to get their point across instead of lashing out at their kids, which is what they really want to do. A well-placed, “Do you have a piano tied to your butt?” or “Are your legs broken?” tells kids, “I know you think I’m here to play an elaborate game of fetch and see to your tireless needs, but you’re wrong. Get it yourself.” It’s far better than, “You are the laziest, most ungrateful piece of dookey ever, and if I have to pick up one more of your messes I’m going to jump in front of the FedEx truck and end it all.”

Where’s your father?

This is a mother’s go-to statement when she’s had all the mess-fun she can handle. This usually comes from a mom who has been picking up puke piles all day/. Her maternal sympathy got her to 5 p.m., but if she doesn’t get some relief, things are going to get real. Never ignore a woman who says, “Where’s your father?” It’s a cry for help and a thinly veiled way of saying, “I’m covered in vomit and my gag reflex is exhausted. I’m losing it and for the safety of all involved, someone else needs to take over.”

More on kids’ messes

Should parents clean up after their kids in restaurants?
Why messy kids are smarter
What a mess: Teach your preschooler to pick up

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.