Most new parents start off with high hygiene standards. When I was heavily pregnant and nearing my due date, my nesting instinct went into overdrive. Only the best for my precious baby!
For the first few weeks after our daughter arrived, I was barely seen without a disinfecting wipe. I took sterilising very, very seriously. But one night, I realised that my newborn didn't have the same attitude towards cleanliness as Mummy.
I was changing her nappy at 3am when she grimaced and produced an explosive mustard poonami, which squirted right across the bedroom, splattering the freshly cleaned carpet, rug and walls.
We had to bin the rug and the carpets never fully recovered.
It was a wake-up call.
I realised that I was living with a tiny, destructive whirlwind who couldn't care less how often I hoovered or polished. I decided to chill out and give the mop bucket a bit of a rest.
Fast forward two-and-a-half years and housekeeping standards have slipped further. Well, toddlers don't do clean and tidy, do they?
With one eye on Cbeebies, they'll smear snot across the curtains and piddle over your sofa cushions, before moving on to some casual crayoning of the walls.
And their lack of care over hygiene gradually rubs off on you too (literally).
I've lost track of the times I've used my skirt as a hankie for my daughter's runny nose, when we're out and I can't find a tissue. The other day, she beckoned me close with a beaming smile, before waving a sticky finger right in my face, shouting: "Mummy, look at my bogey!" I barely even blinked.
One morning, during the summer, I found a half-eaten, unpeeled banana shoved into her new sandals. It was hilarious until I noticed banana gloop congealing on the expensive leather straps.
But the really shocking thing was my subconscious reaction. I didn't retrieve that piece of sweat-laced fruit and chuck it in the bin. I popped it, unthinking, into my mouth.
I'm minging, me.
But at least I'm not the only human hoover masquerading as a parent. "I was about to say 'Eeuw, I can't believe that you ate that shoe banana,'" says my friend, mum-of-two, Clare. "But that's when I remembered those dusty Haribos that 'accidentally' ended up in my mouth while I was cleaning out the car."
Frankly, I hold my daughter solely responsible for my own lapse in standards. She chucks so much food about, I can eat a square meal crouching by her high chair and sweeping the discarded morsels into my mouth.
To be fair, I'm not risking anything yukky. The patch of floor under her high chair is the cleanest spot in the house, being disinfected three times a day (OK, so I still have some standards).
I also have no qualms about giving her food that she's dropped on the floor. Ten second rule, yeah?
And it seems that I'm not the only skanky parent around. Far from it, in fact, according to recent research, which found that 49 per cent of parents would feed their kids food that's been dropped on the floor.
Sometimes, I think that my daughter prefers her snacks slightly soiled, anyway.
"Mmm, dusty," she beamed the other day, retrieving a week-old Smartie from under the sofa and popping it straight in her mouth.
But, let's face it, most grim moments with kids are toilet related...
"Nothing could have prepared me for holding my own child's giant poo in my bare hands, after he did a floater in the bath and I had to scoop it out," says mum-of-two, Lorraine. "The worst thing was seeing my toddler laughing his head off as Mummy struggled to lift the loo lid whilst simultaneously trying not to drop a watery turd on the bathroom lino."
And pity sleep-deprived new dad Ian who accidentally ate poo, mid-nappy change.
Yes, you read that right. He ate poo.
"I couldn't get the plastic nappy bag open," he says. "So I thought that I'd lick my fingers to make it easier. It was only afterwards that I realised my fingers were covered in brown stuff. It was a very dark day."
Kids. They're snot smearing, poo wiping, food chucking little monsters. And we parents aren't much better, either.
For an easier life, I reckon that we might as well just join them.
Embrace a lack of hygiene.
Revel in those dusty bookshelves.
Eat Smarties from under the sofa.
But, please, do try not to wipe your nose on my skirt.
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