Got Pride? Embrace Motherhood.

Motherhood is a perpetual walk in the valley of humility. And no, I'm not being dramatic. If a woman becomes a mother and has the good fortune of having multiple children, she will eventually have all kinds of totally embarrassing things happen to her. It's really a good thing, I think. I have definitely learned to laugh at myself and do not suffer nearly as much as I used to under humiliating circumstances.

When Cookie was younger she danced ballet. Every week I would drag the other children with me to sit for an hour in a tiny little room with other mothers and siblings where we would patiently wait. There happened to be one week when I had only my baby and one other mother in that room. As we sat, my charming infant proceeded to loudly pass a tremendous amount of gas and fill her diaper. I laid out a mat on a nearby table to change the child (there really was nowhere else to do it) and the other woman continued to read her magazine. As I began the diaper changing operation, I heard an exclamation of surprise and relief come from the woman across the room. Our eyes met and she said with great sincerity, "Oh my goodness, I'm so glad to see that it was the baby. Really, I thought it was YOU! It does happen, you know. All the same, it's nice that it wasn't you after all." She picked up her magazine again and that was that.

There was the time that Crash got carsick and threw up all over himself (far away from home) as we arrived at his sister's club volleyball try-out. I couldn't go home... and he smelled so bad in a very crowded place in spite of our efforts to wash his clothes in the bathroom sink and dry him underneath the hand dryer.

Or the time when Jellybean wet her pants while we were visiting at someone's home and I had forgotten a change for her.

I recall a Sunday when Button stuffed her mouth full of cookies at a parish function and then coughed, sending mushy, saliva-laden baked goods all over someone's dress shoes.

Then there was the time my firstborn asked an overweight family friend why his belly was so much bigger than other people's bellies... is there a baby in there?

Or the things that kids will say about their parents. To their pastor. And the grocery store cashier.

And the crazy things that they will do in restaurants with ketchup, sugar packets and straw wrappers right after the waitress compliments us for having well-behaved children.

These kinds of incidents have afflicted me by the thousands in the last 14 years. I am largely immune to the emotional trauma by now. I experience an initial (extremely brief) pinch to my pride and sharp intake of breath... and then breathe it all out with my profuse apologies to the offended. I have also noticed that I am no longer totally grossed out when other people's kids pick their noses in my presence... although I do enjoy a private giggle at their expense.

I can tell that I have changed for the better as a mother because I used to suffer greatly under the memory of kid-induced humiliations... and now... I just put them on my blog. And then there are the ones that can't be repeated in public. I share those privately with my husband so that he can participate in the humiliation... and a hearty laugh. Remember when your kid did such-and-such? {cue hysterical laughter}

Note to new mothers: I highly recommend packing the following items into your car/diaper bag (in addition to the regular contents) until your children are at least 12 years old. And don't ask questions... just trust me...

~ Lots of plastic grocery bags (preferably without holes)
~ Roll of paper towels
~ Extra package of wet wipes
~ Hand sanitizer
~ A bucket (or two, depending on your numbers)
~ Pair of scissors
~ Extra clothes for all (including yourself)
~ Air freshener
~ All-purpose cleaner
~ Tissues
~ Anti-nausea medication
~ Super secret stash of really yummy, colorful candy (just trust me)
~ Super secret stash of emergency distracting fun things (like the Game Boy you saved from your childhood that your kids have never seen before.)
~ Snacks
~ Gallon Ziploc bags
~ A warm blanket
~ Bottled water (a multitude of uses)
~ Masking tape
~ Rosary
~ First Aid kit (including antibiotic ointment)
~ Benadryl
~ Ibuprofin (this is for your headache)
~ Quarters and singles
~ Forgiving arms
~ A smile
~ A ready apology
~ A heart full of gratitude

I've missed some things. It's the unspoken law of parental humility that you will have left the scorpion anti-venom serum on the bathroom counter when you most need it. Experienced moms... feel free to add to the list!

Here is the list for things to leave at home:

~ Your pride

This will do you no good when your newly walking angel baby puts a death grip onto someone's (maybe yours) elastic-waisted skirt... and falls. Or when your newborn spits up over your shoulder into someone's purse. Yes, these things have happened to me. They will probably happen to you. When they do, feel free to blog about it so that I can laugh with you and offer thanks to God for the opportunity for you grow in humility. :)

Posted on February 9, 2012 and filed under "motherhood".