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My Messy “Dad Fail”

Fatherhood is full of good intentions and major fails, and is often about learning…the hard way. Here, a Denver dad shares his memorable (and relatable) dad fail story.

I thought I was helping…I really did.

My wife Nicole had been swamped at work and the mundane chores around the house were starting to pile up. So, while she was out running errands one afternoon I thought I’d be a good little hubby and help her catch up on the mountain of weekly laundry that somehow never dissipates.

I wandered into my six-year-old son’s room and gathered all of the clothes scattered around—because as we all know they never put them in the hamper that’s three feet away—and took this big pile down to our basement laundry room. I kicked on the washer, crammed everything in, and then proceeded to hop on the treadmill to knock out 30 minutes of love handle jiggling. When the washer wrapped up, into the dryer the clothes went.

Basic laundry 101. I got this. No problem. Nicole is going to be so happy!

Later that night, Nicole went down to the basement to start another load when I heard her mumbling rather loudly, almost yelling. I couldn’t quite make out what she was saying. I quietly tiptoed over to the top of the basement stairs so I could get a better listen.

“Oh no, oh no,” is what I heard. “This is not good, oh no.” And then I got it… “Jeeeerrrreeeemmmmyyyyy!”

What in the world was going on? I ran downstairs prepared to confront an intruder, or maybe a dead pet, or to heroically assist my injured wife. Instead, I found her standing in front of our dryer holding up a pair of our son’s jeans that were smeared with every color of the rainbow. She reached in the dryer again and pulled out a couple more shirts, also splattered with blues, yellows, and reds. More pants, more shirts, socks, and some underpants. The entire load of clothes was a splattered tie-dye mess.

Staying somewhat calm but ready to explode at any second, Nicole thanked me for trying to help. Then she made some fierce Beyoncé-style eye contact with me. Very slowly she said, “Always…check…the pockets. You must always check the pockets!”

Apparently our son had taken a handful of crayons, which I’m guessing were from some lame kids’ menu at a restaurant, and shoved them in one of his pants pockets for safe keeping. Of course, those same pants and crayons ended up in the wash and then in a hot dryer.

The crayons had melted everywhere, completely ruining an entire load of clothes. I would have never thought to do a crayon check.

With my head held low I apologized for messing things up. I was fully expecting an “atta-boy” for helping around the house, but that didn’t come, instead I had visions of higher credit card bills for the month. We were now going shopping that weekend for a new wardrobe.

After the initial shock of what had happened wore off, Nicole and I ended up having a good laugh over our son’s now colorful clothes. We were able to salvage a couple things thanks to a few wax-removal tricks we found on the internet. I also took some time to have a good father-son talk with my boy about proper crayon storage. I still feel like a little of this was his fault, too!

Fatherhood is full of good intentions, major fails, and a collection of apologies rendered along the way, but Dads, I guarantee when you look back at your life, raising kids, even with all its melty, expensive messes, will be one of the best experiences you have.

In the meantime, I encourage you to take my wife’s advice: before you help with your kid’s laundry—always check the pockets!

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