I get the impression a lot that many of you think you don’t know what you’re doing with this mothering gig. I also often hear that many people think that I’m some kind of expert, judged solely on the basis that I have six kids. I thought it might be beneficial if you could hear my confessions, some of my most embarrassing parenting moments so you could know that either way, whether we do or don’t know what we’re doing, we’re all in this together!
Be forewarned that many of these stories have to do with bodily functions, so if that grosses you out, you may want to quit reading. Likely however, you’re a mom, so even though it grosses you out, you’ve also dealt abundantly with bodily functions.
I used to make baby food because I wanted the best for my children. I quickly gave up on that effort and called it baby led weaning. While they got good at eating whatever table food the family was eating, they also made unsavory choices. All of my children have eaten cat food. Sticks. Rocks. Mulch. Mud. It was almost as if when they were toddlers, they would look for any non breast milk substance, pop it in their mouths as quickly as possible and stare at me, just to show me they were their own person and could eat what they want.
We co-slept with our babies and I would nurse them to sleep for their naps and somewhere in there, no matter how carefully I lined the edges of the bed with pillows or listened in the monitor, they decided they would test gravity and scare me to death. All of my children have rolled off a bed.
I used to try really hard to keep a well stocked diaper bag, so we would have whatever we needed when we were out of the house, but apparently my brain just doesn’t work like that. I had to stop cloth diapering out of the house because I would completely forget about a soiled diaper in the wet bag for so long the ammonia in the baby pee would eat through the cloth. I never seemed to have what I needed anyway. I have had a toddler have to attend music class in February in a tee shirt, diaper and one sock because after she pooped out the clothes she had on, that’s all I could find. I have had to change a baby on top of the diaper bag on a gas station floor, using paper towels as wipes, and buying diapers off the shelf while holding my naked child. I would stuff diapers and wipes in every cubby hole in the van and still end up not having extras when I needed them. The best solution I came up with for this problem is to have responsible friends.
One time I was heading into the chiropractor’s office at Palmer with my almost one year old. She had just been changed so I bravely decided to leave the diaper bag in the car, since the parking lot at the time was quite a ways from the door. As we’re standing in line to check in, she pooped out of her diaper, and down her leg and down my arm and down my skirt. And then she threw up over my shoulder, and that dripped down my back onto the floor. So that was fun.
There was the time when I was giving a presentation to a group of business people and it went very well. Just after it was over, I looked down and noticed the two perfect breastmilk circles which had leaked through my breast pads, bra, and light blue shirt. I just blithely acted like I knew nothing about it, and vacated the premises as quickly as I could.
Another time I was in Aldi with a newborn, who was in a sling. She started screaming in the check out line to make sure everyone was watching us. Then she peed. OUT OF HER DIAPER and onto the floor. To this day, I still don’t know how that happened, probably just to show me that I need to practice humility.
Once, I was at the library in the outdoor reading garden with a preschooler, potty training toddler, and a newborn. I was nursing the newborn and talking with a friend when my preschooler informed me the toddler had pooped. She was wearing a diaper, so I said, “Ok, I’ll change her when the newborn is done eating.” Then, they helped me understand that the toddler had taken off her diaper and pooped in the grass. Outside the library.
Probably my top embarrassing mothering moment-which no one even knows about until now- is when I was deep in a swanky Bettendorf neighborhood attending garage sales, when my potty trained preschooler had to poop, and she refused to go in the baby’s diaper. So I let her poop behind a bush in somebody’s yard and picked it up with a plastic baggy like you do with dog poop, and took it home with me! The entire way home I was fretting, sweating as if I had done something scandalous, and hoping no one saw her poop in someone’s yard.
Now I’ve learned to keep a potty chair in the van.
I’ve also learned to not feel embarrassed about stuff because stuff happens, and we’re all in this together.