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My Gritty, Grimy, Filthy To-Do List


It was my wife, Brandy, yelling from downstairs. As I hustled down the staircase, she ran past me, heading upstairs with our son Jackson in her arms. I felt like a firefighter charging into a burning building as the civilians ran for cover. Considering what was waiting for me, I may have preferred a cozy, three-alarm blaze.

I won’t go into detail about what I found, but let’s just say it was everywhere. The floor. The wall. The back of the sofa. After surveying the damage, I grabbed an entire roll of paper towels, created a couple of massive bouquets, and began to clean up. I knew exactly what I was doing. In my house, I am the hazmat crew.

I’ve handled number one and number two. (I’ve even handled number three, a rarity that happens when you mix pizza, a bounce house, and 100-degree weather.) Stomach bug? Please. At my house, it’s called every second Tuesday. Big, hairy bugs? Squished. Backed-up toilets? I keep a plunger under my pillow.

I’m the titan of tinkle, the prince of poo.

Turns out, I’m not so special. Dad often gets the dirty jobs Mom doesn’t want, according to a recent survey from MomConnection, Parenting’s online mom community. The three duties that Dad most often handles are home and yard repair (dirt and mud!), car maintenance (oil and grease!), and disciplining the kids (tears and snot!). Funny enough, these three jobs also happen to be the ones Mom is least interested in managing herself.

Even when the going gets messy, we dads should carry our Bounty bouquets like a beaming bride. Why? Because Mom has the dirtiest job of all: childbirth. If she’s lucky, she only has to separate her hipbones and pass an eggplant on steroids. But other issues could arise, including an episiotomy or a C-section, which requires ample bed rest. All Dad has to do is offer words of encouragement and cut the umbilical cord—and some guys can’t even handle that.

So I punch my gritty, grimy, filthy time card with a grin. If I’m lucky, maybe one day I’ll be honored with the Purple Lysol Wipe of Valor.

Shawn Bean's new book Show Dad How is now available. Buy it here.