This past Sunday, Hallie and I spent several hours at the mall running some errands. My husband and older daughter were out of town, so Hallie and I had a girls date, walking around the stores, making some returns and window shopping. At some point, I looked at the time and realized that Hallie needed to eat fairly imminently. But so did I. It was 2:00pm and all I had ingested for the day was coffee, so I needed to get some sustenance into myself as well as my baby before we both turned into cranky nightmares. So I grabbed some food to go and ran as fast as I could to the bathroom to change Hallie's diaper before feeding her.
Cut to five minutes later: I am in the nursing section of the women's bathroom at Nordstrom's, feeding my daughter, while eating a Chinese chicken salad. I had a bottle in one hand, and a fork full of lettuce in the other. In the bathroom.
When I realized what was happening in that moment, I actually had this out of body experience for a moment... "I'm in the bathroom eating salad. This is my life". And I laughed out loud to myself (and to Hallie who smiled at me because I'm clearly hilarious). The more I thought about it, I realized that yes, this gourmet lavatory-lunch situation was funny, but what was funnier to me about my circumstances was the fact that this was normal. This didn't seem weird. I had to eat, she had to eat. So I did what I had to do.
If I told this story to someone who wasn't a mother, they'd be grossed out, or weirded out, or find it strange. But when I promptly texted some mom friends to tell them about my current whereabouts, the general response I received was, "Yup. Seems about right". They weren't phased... they weren't shocked. Because finding yourself in the most obscure and bizarre situations that shouldn't feel normal is normal when you're part of the Mom Club.
LET'S TALK: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN THE MOM CLUB?
Being in the Mom Club is special. It's this exclusive circle of women who connect over the most unique set of experiences that no other human being can relate to. Yes, there's the love. And there's the sleepless nights. And there's the proud moments. But I think what makes this club so unparalleled to any other affiliation, is that within it, you will hear stories of the most ultimate self-sacrifice...stories that range from beautiful to side-splitting... yet all somehow "normal" when you're in the club. So I reached out to some fellow members to find out exactly who we are.
- We are the women who eat Chinese chicken salad in the bathroom of Nordstrom's so that our child doesn't starve.
- We are the women who scoop poop from the bottom of the bathtub water, but instead of getting angry, celebrate the fact that our child is no longer constipated.
- We are the women who catch vomit with their own shirts because better your shirt than theirs.
- We are the women who climb into their toddler's crib to help them fall back asleep - and then get stuck there for hours.
- We are the women who shove Q-tips up their infant's bums to help them poop, while simultaneously singing show tunes with our older child so they don't feel neglected.
- We are the women who rock baby all night just so that the rest of our family can sleep without a screaming infant in the house.
- We are the women who answer the door for the UPS guy with both breasts exposed while nursing, because we finally got a good latch.
- We are the women who haven't eaten a warm meal in years.
- We are the women who have held our children upright all night so they can breathe during a bad case of croup.
- We are the women who have made up songs about cutting toe nails so it doesn't seem so scary.
- We are the women who remove pieces their own clothes to wipe their toddler's pee off the floor of a department store dressing room.
- We are the women who have breastfed in a bathroom stall because there was no where else to go.
- We are the women who ate half a jar of baby food just to get their child to follow suit.
- We are the women who walk down the street in our pajamas trying to get their infant to finally nap in the stroller - only to suddenly realize we forgot underwear that day.
- We are the women who sit naked in a cool bath at 3am with their child hoping to help the fever break
- We are the women who understand that if the pasta or the broccoli or the sauce touch each other on the plate, the Earth will actually implode.
- We are the women who wake hourly to stare at their newborn to make sure they're still breathing.
- We are the women who understands that Kleenex is overrated and use our sleeves, because everything will end up on our clothes at some point anyways.
- We are the women who actually uttered phrases like "Please don't lick the floor. We're at the mall!" or "Where did you put your boogie??" or "No, my nipple doesn't squeak if you squeeze it".
If you are not a Mom, I can imagine that you're probably horrified after reading the above real-life examples that were provided to me. But if you are member of the mat(ernity) pack, I know you've nodded your way through this whole list, most likely spotting yourself in several of the scenarios.
It's ridiculous. It's exhausting. It's necessary. It's our normal. And it's a privilege.
So the next time you find yourself at the wrong end of an explosive poop, driving in circles for hours praying for the nap to set in, or eating salad in a bathroom at the mall, wear those experiences proudly like a badge - you just got your kid through another day, and all because you're part of the club. See you at the meetings. Don't forget the password.