Photo: Keiko Zoll

Most people laugh when they see me come to the door wearing bright yellow (or sometimes purple) rubber gloves. I walk around the house wearing them too. I don them for obvious things like washing dishes—but if they only knew the half of it. My need for clean changed after becoming a parent, but rubber gloves have helped me keep my sanity and given me the courage to touch the untouchable. I live with four boys, a husband and a beagle who likes to partake in eating her own poop; no further explanation needed.

When you first become a parent, you know things will change but the things you are forced to clean is a rude awakening. It’s not just the fact that you must vacuum multiple times a day because your new crawler will consume anything in her path including dust bunnies, it’s all the other things, such as the more disgusting unmentionables like the sheer amount of poop you will encounter that, quite shockingly, doesn’t always end with babyhood.

Therefore, I keep my trusty yellow rubber gloves not just under the kitchen sink but stashed in every bathroom—and especially the laundry room—because I never know what I will be forced to touch or clean at any given moment.

This has what my BFF (the rubber glove) has given to me:

The Courage to Touch Anything! 

I consider myself a new type of parental superhero whose special power is the rubber glove. A headless mouse in the basement brought in as a present from kitty? Gloves! Your kid barfs all over his comforter at 3 a.m.? Gloves. Dog barf on the floor? Gloves please! Rectal suppository? Those require medical disposable gloves which I have too, but I digress. Parenthood brings many new and totally gross experiences.

Handle Poop Crime Scenes with Aplomb

Any parent will not need an explanation for this. We had one particularly memorable (and bad) one just steps away from an elegant wine and cheese party we were hosting in our dining room when my twins were newly toilet trained. It was so bad that I had to put a hastily written sign on the door “Out of Order” and direct guests to our upstairs bathroom because my son managed to get poop on every surface of the entire room. “Oh yes, please go ahead and have more Brie and that smell? I think it’s the Gorgonzola!”

Laundry Horrors No More

No one can fathom the central place laundry will hold in your life when your kids arrive on the scene. It’s like a rapidly reproducing beast. Gone are the days of doing one or two loads a week. Ha! My preemie twins had terrible reflux that no medication helped so for the first year of their lives, they wore bibs 24/7 which were always soaked with barf. Gloves please! I also once found a dead snake in the pile of dirty laundry on the floor and I have no idea where it came from, (most likely our cats?). After kids, laundry is never safe to touch without gloves.

Face the Netherworld Under Furniture

Before kids, I would pull out the couches and chairs and give a good vacuum maybe a couple of times a year max and that was just dust bunnies or an occasional tissue or coin. After kids? All the time. I’ve found moldy apple cores, petrified Cheerios, errant jelly beans from Easter 10 months ago and more. And if you don’t get to it first, your little ones will and try to shove it into their mouths. I refuse to even look under any furniture without donning my gloves first.

Look Closely Inside the Car

Another breeding ground of disgustingness thanks to the kids. A place I normally cleaned and vacuumed maybe with the change of seasons before I had kids. Old French fries, used tissues, party favor bags with melted candy and more—gloves go with me there too. You might as well keep a pair in your glove box!

Parenting is messy work, but someone’s gotta do it… and thank God for rubber gloves. What else do you use your trusty rubber gloves for?

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