There are certain things that go out the door when you become a mom:
- Your threshold for grossness and subsequently, your ability to determine what is TMI when sharing with others
The walls begin to crumble during pregnancy. Doctors are wrist deep in your cervix with the nonchalance of someone reaching into a bag of potato chips while you make small talk about the weather. At first you nervously ask questions about your nether regions and ever-changing body, but by the third trimester you are ripping ass in the doctor’s office unabashedly inquiring about things oozing out of places you didn’t even know you had.
Then there is ever humbling act of labor. My kneecaps were touching my eye sockets while I brought my children into the world, giving an explicit view to 3-5 people I never met before as I looked sheepishly at my husband and whispered “I think I just pooped” after a particularly strenuous push.
Women trade birth stories over wine and cheese with absolutely ZERO loss of appetite. “Oh, you 2nd degree tearing? Let me tell you about how I was ripped virtually in half by my baby who had the head circumference of an 8th grader. OMG, where did you get this brie? It’s amazing!” (side note, this did NOT happen to me). Words like : peri bottle, episiotomy, Sitz bath, witch hazel pads, mesh underwear, stool softeners, etc. are now a part of your unflinching new vocabulary.
Childbirth is a miracle, but it is also a really really disgusting process. From humbling beginnings, motherhood by its very nature is designed to quickly increase your threshold for grossness. As a kid, I often wondered how my mom was able to rub mine and my sister’s back while holding our hair as we hurled with the force of a thousand suns into the toilet. I now know. Recently my 15-month old was gagging like she was going to puke and with zero hesitation I instinctively cupped my hands to make a nest in which to catch upchuck like some sort of maternal Macguyver.
I fish dried boogs from my kids’ nostrils with my bare hands and a determined efficiency that no amount of screaming can deter. I provide Bob Costas-like commentary on my 3-year old’s poop and express genuine admiration when the occasion warrants it. I’ve spent an entire day in spit-up covered clothing because it’s not worth the extra laundry and the stench no longer bothers me. I will face plant into my kids’ butts to smell for poop.
This is not a phenomenon unique to me. Gross ceases to exist when you are a mom because you cannot afford to be grossed out. 85% of your day is spent doing triage of bodily fluids/functions/messes so naturally you have to adapt in order to survive.
Not only does the once repulsive become your new normal, you also lose the TMI filter that screams loudly this is not appropriate conversation with other human beings. Hence why I feel totally at ease writing these words to you. Moms night out pretty much always includes a “weird things my kid did or weird things that came out of my kid” panel discussion wherein each mom recounts cringe-worthy tales over a shared spinach dip. Despite the fact that TMI is a thing of a past, moms are still courteous about it before going into gory detail. Each story begins similarly with an “Okay, this is TMI but..” which is basically the mom version of “with all due respect…” The story is going to be told regardless, but at least I am doing you the solid of letting you know that this is probably going to be about something that isn’t exactly solid.
Mom 1: “This is TMI, but yesterday Skylar had explosive diarrhea. It was totally liquified and seeped out of his diaper leaving a trail as he walked around the living room.”
Mom 2: “Oh poor thing! How is he today? I have some of those dissolvable probiotic packets if you want them. They helped Sara awhile ago when we went through the same thing. I had to throw out the area rug! Just let me know.”
While this is a hypothetical conversation but I could just as easily inserted any conversation I’ve ever had regarding potty training in which things are shared in such excruciating detail with zero gagging that it would boggle the minds of any non-mom listening in (cough – dads – cough).
So hit me with your grossest story and watch as I stare back at you waiting for the part where I’m supposed to be shocked. However, I do draw the line at pictures. It’s one thing for me to tell you about how your kid went all Poop-lo Picasso with his diaper and his bedroom walls, but it’s another to see it. Save those for the baby book.