Having worked in the publishing industry for years, reading manuscript upon manuscript, I used to joke with colleagues after the birth of my children that the book someone really needs to write is the Joys of Parenting – the shit nobody tells you. And I mean, literally. The shit.
To this day, I think potty-training is a grueling and cruel experiment created to test the sanity of every parent. Mindfulness in the madness.
This begins a series we shall call “The Poop Chronicles” because really, once a parent, your life is consumed by it for years. Yes, years!
I was sitting among a group of ladies I had just met. Being new to Nashville and having just had a baby, I figured I better try to make an effort to get plugged into a network of other moms. I quickly realized these were not my people when I mentioned I would be returning to work after my maternity leave was up. You would have thought I had just told them I planned to sacrifice my child. The reaction was so visceral. I had no clue there was this division between moms. I didn’t care if someone worked or didn’t or if the little one arrived by traveling through lady bits, abdomen, or someone else. I thought we were all in the trenches together. I was wrong. I had managed to find my way into a group that thought a woman working was pure evil. Fish out of water doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling in that moment.
There I sat in the midst of what felt like a firing squad. Our son must have known I needed an exit. I thought the heat I was feeling was from all of the eyes of disgust that were staring in my direction. When I moved ever so slightly, I realized that underneath this beautiful child sitting on my lap was a load of poop that had managed to seep out of his diaper, through his clothes, and onto me. All over.
I quickly excused myself from the already awkward situation and made a beeline straight to the bathroom. I stripped him down. I stripped myself down. Nothing says, “welcome to my glamorous life” like wiping poop off a small human, all while standing in your own naked glory with your clothes soaking in the private bathroom sink of a house full of women you just met who think you are a spawn of the devil. I used the hand towels to ring the water out of my dress and put it back on, put an extra set of clothing on my son, and took the rest of my soaked items, tossed them in the diaper bag, and left.
This was the first of many days where poop played a pivotal role in our lives.
Our daughter was born a year later.
Twice the poop. Double the fun.
I don’t know if there has been anything in my 40 years of life that has tested my sanity more than potty-training.
We all have something that can test us. Perhaps it isn’t potty-training, but a difficult person in your life – a family member, a coworker, your boss. This week, let’s challenge ourselves to laugh when life seems to be getting in the way. After all, laughter is the best medicine. Just like choosing to have a positive attitude, allowing yourself to laugh is a choice.
And guess what – it is okay to do so!!! Don’t take yourself so seriously that you forget to laugh.
Cheers to a great, laughter-filled week.