A while back one of the women on my team walked into my office with that look on her face, that look that told me she had a story to tell. And it was going to be good. “You’ll never believe what happened last night…” she started in. And then proceeded to tell me about catching her daughter’s poop in her hand to protect the carpet. Ah yes, something only a fellow mom would appreciate.
Poop – it’s one of the “joys” of motherhood. One of those things you know you’re going to have to deal with, but can never be totally prepared for. Sure, you anticipate it’s going to be gross: you see the pictures of meconium covered babies in birth class; you changed a diaper or two when you babysat; you know your own poop can be pretty gross, but nothing quite prepares you for the poop adventures of motherhood. Nothing.
I’m so far beyond those days now, but I’ve been there, we all have! Every mom has a story or two of their little angel’s nastiness. Unbelievably disgusting stories that make us laugh in hindsight. In the moment it’s absolutely horrifying, but somehow we all survive. And looking back, I realize, believe it or not, there are life lessons to be learned through that nastiness.
So let’s put aside the disgustingness, have ourselves a few laughs, and recognize a few of the life lessons learned at, or near, the changing table…
Life Lesson 1: Done is better than perfect
One of my boys specialized in pooping in the bathtub-is there anything more horrifying? (Ummm…there might be, but those are stories for another time.) I can’t count how many times I cleaned up little brown floaties from the tub. Of course, it was always after we’d finished soaping up, making bath time pretty pointless. Truth be told, I may have on occasion just scooped him (and the poop) out of the tub and called it good….he didn’t touch it, and really how quickly can those poop particles spread? Don’t judge- he was clean-ish and done IS better than perfect.
Life Lesson 2: You are stronger than your gag reflex
One afternoon a childless friend of my hubby’s was over. We were outside and he noticed one of our boys rubbing his hands together, smearing something between them. Yep – you guessed it, poop. OMG, what the what was happening??!? That little cherub of mine had used it like lotion; I’m talking all over his little hands, up his arms….GAG! You can imagine the stench. I’m telling you, it’s a miracle I didn’t vomit all over him cleaning up that mess. But apparently I am stronger than my gag reflex!
Life Lesson 3: Moms unite in crisis
There was another gag worthy event; I was at a formal party when one of my boys was about 18 months old. He was dressed smartly in a preppy tennis sweater and navy dress pants only to have a blowout. Not just a minor blowout but the kind that exploded every which way – out the bottom, up his back, all over my arm…everywhere. So there we are, both of us covered in poo, and I had naively thought we could make it through a two hour dinner without requiring a change of clothes. Enter the moms. Thankfully another had a spare set of clothes, so he wasn’t naked for the rest of party. Me, I didn’t fare quite as well, I cleaned up okay, but emitted a vague odor for the next few hours. Thank God for the extended mom village.
Life Lesson 4: Moms truly can survive everything
But the village can’t be everywhere. I’ll never forget the time I took our newly potty trained little guy to the bathroom at a restaurant to pee. We headed to the women’s restroom and into the stall. He was so cute with his pants around his ankles, when suddenly diarrhea was pouring from his rear end, all over his legs, his pants and the floor. And me…you’d think I would have learned by then. NOPE! There I was with no change of clothes, no cell phone – nothing, nada, just me, the poop, a tiny roll of paper towels. and a family who wanted to know what took us so long?!?! In true mom form, I got the bathroom and him cleaned up, but every time we eat at that restaurant the feeling of horror comes flooding back.
I’m telling you, this Mom thing – it’s not for the faint of heart!! But I know you’re laughing – because you’ve been there. It’s in those moments, those hard, nasty, disgusting moments that you discover what it really means to be a mom. Those moments when you do those things you never thought you were capable of, all because of your love for your kids. Okay, and maybe necessity. Either way, you get through it and forge on learning a life lesson or two along the way. And who knew there were so many life lessons to be found in poop?
I bet you have a poop story too – share it with us!