The 8 Messiest Mom Duties (That No One Ever Warned You About)

by Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

Diaper explosions. Spit up stains. Cradle cap. No parent goes into this job without expecting some icky moments but there a few mom chores that are so frustrating, gross or bizarre that you want to look around for the hidden camera or yell "This is not in my contract!!" because you just can't believe that this is your life. And yet someone has to look for the shiny penny in the diaper and, let's face it, unless you have a full-time baby nanny, then you're it.

1. Changing the sheets on the top bunk bed. Oh sure that loft bed looks so adorable and functional in the Pottery Barn catalog... until the first time you spend 30 minutes with sweat rolling down your face trying to wrangle the fitted sheet over all four corners. Heaven help you if you put the bed in a corner. Tip: Take the vacuum up there - you might as well get all those cob webs out of the ceiling corners while you're up there.

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2. Flossing your child's braces. Orthodontics are expensive but they're also high maintenance. Not only do you have to sit on your kid to put the rubber bands on and become the chewy/sticky/crunchy foods police but you will be able to identify every food they've eaten in the past 24 hours by the large chunks that come flying out. Tip: Wear goggles.

3. Unclogging drains. Your college roommate's hair balls will look tame compared to the things that kids make you pull out of various drains. I've found Band-aids, Chuck E. Cheese tokens, a shoelace, floss, Legos and - once - an entire pair of underwear. Tip: Retch quietly if your kids are sympathetic pukers.

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4. Shots. I've never met a pediatric nurse that didn't make me the bad guy who has to pin my poor innocent infant to the table so my baby can learn to associate my face with getting stabbed in the thighs with needles. Four kids later and I still have to grit my teeth and blink back tears. Tip: Dress baby in a gown so you don't have to waste time wrestling their pants back on before you swoop them up and kiss them.

5. They say breastfed infants don't get constipated. Of course they also say that smiling infants just have gas and I don't buy that one either. Once you've exhausted the prune juice, applesauce and tummy massage options you'll discover there's a reason why enemas come in baby sizes. Tip: Stand to the side.

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6. Booger scraping. Of course you knew you'd signed up to be Official Nose Wiper but did you know you will have to spend more time scraping calcified boogers off of walls than you did scraping toe nail polish off last summer? Tip: Graffiti.

7. Bathtub sanitation. Everyone giggles about the first time their little sailor floats one in the bathtub but the laughter quickly stops when you remember what you had to do next. Tip: Stop feeding your kid fiber before bedtime.

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8. Candy stealer. Whoever said taking candy from a baby was easy was clearly not a parent. There will be plenty of occasions where well-meaning people will give your tiny tot things you don't want them to have - candy, balloons, peanuts and other choking hazards are perennial faves. Someone even gave my 2-year-old a lit sparkler once. Of course your child loves it. And of course you have to rip it cruelly out of their wee fingers. Tip: Learn to lasso.

What's the grossest thing you've done for your kids?

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