All mothers have found themselves in the middle of a predicament with their kid(s) and thought, "Is this really happening?" I've only been at this mothering business for four years, but I've already found myself in some highly uncomfortable situations. Here are my top six most awkward moments of motherhood to date:
1. Stroller Mishap
With four children ages two and under, a quad stroller was a necessity. I was very nervous about using the mammoth quad stroller in public. After using it for neighborhood walks, I finally got the courage to take the kids out to the recreation center. I practiced opening, pushing, folding, and lifting the 84 pound beast into the van. Then I collapsed the stroller, lifted it out of the van, and opened it again. I repeated the process over and over until I was comfortable.
The whole time I was practicing with the stroller, I had (unknowingly) never opened it fully until it clicked. I had pushed the seats back as far as I thought they could go and assumed it was open all the way. It strolled fine in the driveway.
Once we arrived at our destination, I lifted the stroller out and unfolded it just as I had practiced. I buckled the babies in their seats. As soon as my two year old sat down the whole damn thing collapsed and folded up...with all four kids inside! I immediately unfolded the stroller and was relieved to find everyone unscathed. I glanced around, grateful to confirm there were no witnesses.
2. Nip Slip at School
After an extended maternity leave with Jackson, I returned to my teaching career at a new school. Since I was still nursing, I had discussed with my administration my need to pump at school. The plan was to pump right before the first bell, at lunch, and immediately after dismissal. At the conclusion of the second day of school, I escorted my students to the bus lot, then returned to my classroom to begin pumping. At the exact same time that I pulled my bra down, an administrator unlocked my exterior door. Apparently my classroom was used as a holding cell for students on late buses. In walked twenty or more bright-eyed children. They received an impromptu anatomy lesson while I struggled to cover up!
3. A Black and White Lie
We unofficially adopted a black and white stray cat. We named her Cowbell. Though she was an indoor cat, she liked to sneak into our garage, vehicles, and in the back yard.
One afternoon I picked up Jackson, age 2, from preschool. I immediately knew something wasn't right when I saw his face. He asked me to hold him and was unusually whiny. As soon as I picked him up, a poop stench filled the air. I sat him down in his carseat so I could grab the diaper bag. The most vile liquid seeped up his back and down his legs. At this point, both my son and I were smeared in poop. While ushering him back into the school building, another teacher shrieked "Oh my God. A cat just came out of your van!" I glanced back to see Cowbell running through the parking lot, and impulsively exclaimed, "Nope. That's not mine." I stripped my son down and used half a pack of wipes to scrub him clean. A teacher found a 4T shirt and pants to drape over my son. We left the school with one more outfit and one less cat.
4. Driving in the Buff
It was Halloween, which meant "Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character Day" at work. My teammates and I dressed as the three little pigs. We each wore solid pink footed pajamas, along with a DIY tail, headband with ears, and snout.
It hadn't even been an hour into the school day when I received the dreaded phone call from daycare. "Your son has thrown up twice. You'll need to pick him up." I rushed to get my emergency sub plans in order and headed towards his daycare. I stopped at a grocery store along the way to pick up Pedialyte and Lysol. Several customers and employees stopped to stare as a large blur of pink rushed past them at 8:45 a.m.
I traipsed through the daycare entryway, weary of what scene I might come across. My heart sunk once my eyes met my pitiful 18 month old son laying on his little cot. As I cradled him through the parking lot, he began projectile vomiting all over me in the parking lot. Once his little body had stopped convulsing, I buckled him into his car seat, saying a prayer that he wouldn't throw up in the car. Vomit trickled down my pink onesie, into my bra, and down my legs. I stripped in my car and drove home in just underwear, crying the entire way.
5. Shit: It's What's For Dinner
We had just arrived at the park on a gorgeous fall day. I unloaded the kids, then spread a blanket out on the ground for our picnic lunch. I had packed a Tupperware container full of sweet potato, turkey breast, and green beans. As I was distributing sippy cups, my 3 year old son declared with urgency, "I have to poop!" This particular park had no available restrooms. I scanned our surroundings to determine where my son might be able to relieve himself. He shouted, "I need to poop RIGHT NOW!" With the van close by, I rushed him inside and gave him the only container I had. He pooped directly on top of our sweet potatoes, turkey, and green beans.
6. Edible Fashion Trends
The triplets were taking a late morning nap. Before I knew it, it was time to pick up Jackson, age 3, from preschool. We had afternoon plans immediately after school, so I hurriedly made pimento cheese sandwiches for the toddlers to eat in the van. I knelt down on the van floorboard to put my daughters' shoes on.
I pulled into the preschool parking lot and rushed inside. Several parents stopped and smiled as I passed them in the hallway. My son's teacher handed me his folder and made the usual small talk. The preschool director stared at me on the way out, along with several more parents. When I returned to the van, my son innocently asked, "Mommy, what's on your leg? Are you wearing a sandwich?" Sure enough, I looked down to discover an entire piece of bread cemented to my jeans by pimento cheese.
I can only imagine the stories I'll be able to share in another four years. There's never a dull moment with our kids!