Skip to main content

Four minutes

The most time consuming job of an at-home dad is cleaning up the messes their kids make.
The most time consuming job of an at-home dad is cleaning up the messes their kids make.
Matthew Cross

My youngest son is 15-months old, and he might be the most destructive kid on the planet. It is important to note that I think he is adorable, because that is his guise. He woos me with his eyes, and he destroys my mood with his actions.

These photos are a prime example of what at-home dads will encounter on a daily basis. There is no way to prepare, fellas. You just have to roll with it and try to think ahead whenever possible.

Sam was out of my sight for approximately four minutes, and he managed to raid the pantry area and create a pool of Alfredo sauce on the floor. Note the lid to the jar in his hands, and the look of complete satisfaction on his face.

Pay homage to his work. He's not even two years old, and he's already a fifth-degree black belt in creating havoc.

Let’s analyze his effort for a minute. This is an untouched and unused jar of Alfredo sauce. My son - about 12-months-old at the time - not only got into the pantry, but also managed to loosen the lid by himself and pour it on the kitchen floor. Sometimes my wife has trouble opening these lids, so you can imagine my surprise to see Sam enjoying the fruits of his labor in this situation.

If any lesson can be gleaned here, it’s that at-home dads need to be constantly aware of what is baby-proofed in the house, and what isn’t. There is actually a latch on our pantry, but it wasn’t tightened. And this was my reward.

I spend about 50 percent of my days trying to keep things out of Sam’s reach, and/or taking things away when he gets them. You can imagine what it was like with the Christmas tree ornaments, but I’m talking about a child who takes plastic outlet covers off and chews on them. I guess that’s his way of giving me the finger.

By the way, Sham-Wow ( didn’t do much for this mess. I used some paper towels and a dirty t-shirt. Worked like a charm.


  • Vince 5 years ago

    The Shamwow might not have worked as well as dirty t-shirt, but it is cheaper than buying shirts to use as towels. If you're not into the shamwow, maybe you'll be interested in the SlapChop. If not, at least the infomercials are funny...

  • Workin' Woman 5 years ago

    Sam's cute-meter is off-the-charts! Too bad he is so good at wreaking havoc... And good that he has YOU to follow him around all day... good luck, DAD.

  • Michael 5 years ago

    I'm 36 now (years, not months), yet I still remember the wonderful taste of the plastic wrappings...

  • Ohmygosh 5 years ago

    My husband is a stay-at-home dad too ... I am printing this and giving it to him. Maybe he will see he has an ally in you and it will give him a spark of hope. :) Keep up the good work and enlighten those men out there!

  • Jerry 5 years ago

    My kids once took an entire box of cereal and trickled the flakes in a circle on the floor around the dining room table. They then walked on the trail several times to grind it into powder. Explanation: They wanted to leave a trail like Hansel and Gretel. Point of story: Get used to this messy business, DAD. They don't grow out of this stage. It just progresses into more elaborate pranks!

  • DAD 5 years ago

    Good call, Jerry. I once found both my sons huddled in the dining room giggling, only to find an entire box of cereal in the floor vent. Neither has grasped the concept of explanations yet, so I'm looking forward to that. I'm sure they'll be creative.