me as mom

When I had my babies and I was thrust into this strange world of breastfeeding and losing sleep and diapering, I was hyper-aware I was a parent. Why is she crying? Should a belly button look like that? How do I get her to be less jaundiced? There were other signs along the way that pointed to parenthood like my 2 year old daughter throwing such an epic tantrum in a bookstore that my husband had to carry her out. While all eyes were on this screaming, writhing child, a small alligator in his arms, I was suddenly very busy paying for my books, not paying attention to that poor man with the crazy child. So, I knew I was a mom. It just took me a while to feel like a mom. And enjoy being a mom.

This past summer I entered another level of parenthood, where I was caught in the middle of Supermom and One Of The Most Disgusting People On The Planet. My kids and I were in a dressing room where I was trying on a bunch of clothes. There was a sale and a long line up of people outside the changing area. I had 2 tops to go. Ben is squirming on the bench. “Mommy, I have to pee.”

I sigh, “Of course you do.” Ben had just downed his lemonade from Starbucks. Nobody can drink sugar like he can. “Can you wait? Or do you have to go, like, now?”

“I can’t wait. I have to peeee.” He’s hopping. This is serious. There isn’t a public bathroom in the store and the nearest bathroom is a few stores down. I can’t go back to that line-up, and these tops are so cute and cheap! What do I do?

Now he’s hopping with his legs crossed. He’s not going to make it. Out of the corner of my eye I spy the empty Starbucks cup. I pop off the lid. “Ben, look at me.”

Annie breathes, “Nooo.”

“Oh yes. Okay, Ben, you’re going to pee in this cup. Annie, turn around.”

I tell Ben to be careful and be quiet. No one needs to know we have just turned this dressing room into a bathroom stall. Ben doesn’t bat an eye, like peeing in a cup in a dressing room happens all the time. He was about to burst. It was the cup or the floor. He didn’t care. Annie is in the corner muttering, “I can’t believe this is happening.”

I stifle a giggle and keep calm. “Sometimes you just have to make do. We made do.” Am I really trying to make this a teachable moment? About what, exactly? “Don’t tell anyone.”

I cautiously put the lid back on the cup, and heads held high, we make our way outside to a garbage can. But, before we step outside I place those cute tops on the counter (priorities!) and tell the cashier I will be right back to pay for them. That was a huge mom moment for me, mortified and proud of myself all at once. A mom thinking fast. A mom holding a cup of pee.

I used to feel as though I was wearing motherhood or maybe it was that it was wearing me, and it didn’t quite fit. Someone else could do this better. Someone was doing this better. With each year motherhood went deeper, settling into my bones. This year I’ve given the changing body talk, talked about winning and losing with grace, and shared moments with my kids that I can’t measure, can’t sum up in a facebook status. I get frustrated and shrill and annoyed, but right alongside that are pride and surprise and joy. I’ve decided Motherhood is all mixed up, not easily defined, and I’m just happy to be here right in the middle of it all.

swept up

in Reese Eggs
I love this time of year where chocolate bars are turned into eggs and everything is so much cuter to eat.

17 thoughts on “me as mom

  1. tara pohlkotte

    hahaha. fantastic! i hope i can be the kinda mom you are some day 🙂 i love this, and totally would have done it myself. i bet this story is one your daughter owns and stretches as one of her key points to how her childhood was sooooo weird. Good! Give ’em something to talk about! it’s amazing.

    1. heidi

      I worried about posting this because maybe it was too gross, but stories like this are good blog fodder. Thank you for making me feel better about it! My kids were sort-of in awe all the way home that afternoon, like did that really just happen? Oh, the legacy I’ll leave…

  2. christy

    You rock! This made me laugh and smile and grimace. So glad to see you blogging often again! xoxo

    1. heidi

      Christy, this made me grimace too! I love seeing your lovely face here and I’m so glad you’re feeling better and recovering well. 🙂

  3. Robyn Hawthorne

    I’d so do that! And why not? 🙂 I still feel like I’m not quite cutting it as a mom half the time; especially because I work and the kids go to daycare. It’s nice they are only there 4 out of 5 days – Chris has them on Monday. There’s something nice about the fact they spend >50% of their time with us. I saw the Bateman’s on Tuesday this week and was amazed at how old the kids are getting! I can just imagine Annie muttering to herself in the dressing room. I love reading your blog. I can’t wait for your book.

    1. heidi

      Hi Robyn! You’re a working mom and there is nothing wrong with that. At all. Give yourself much, much grace. You are taking care of your family. You’re a loving, caring mother. I think most of us feel as though we’re not cutting it half the time. This parenting gig can be tough. 🙂
      Thank you for your kind words. It’s so good to see you here!

  4. Katie

    I love what you said about motherhood settling into your bones. I feel the same way; this is a real work in progress. More of a cross that I pick up each day if you know what I mean. But I love it and it’s amazing and we are being transformed by it. I’m with Annie though, that’s disgusting!!!!

    1. heidi

      It is disgusting, but he was already beginning to wet his pants. It was happening, so it was the cup or the floor. 😉
      It is such a work in progress. I keep telling Scott how I’ve been parenting my ass off lately…that’s how it feels to me. Just when you think you have it figured out, something else comes up. But, I’m realizing that this is how it will be. So, I’ll keep doing the best I can. And for the days I’m not, I’ll pick myself up and keep going.
      By the way, Scott and I were discussing your awesomeness yesterday. I hope you know how awesome you are.

    1. heidi

      Hi Stacie! I’ve had to pull over many times for this near-accidents. This one in the dressing room was going to be epic and there was no way he would have made it to a bathroom. Oh, the things that we mothers do. 😉

  5. Emily

    thank you so much for this post! I laughed so hard. Loved it! As a mom to a boy who sometimes just grabs random household objects and pees in them I didn’t find this post all that disgusting! I would have done the exact same thing. But ugh…. carrying out a hot cup of pee!!!! lol. You are a rock star mom!

  6. stephanie

    I don’t find it in the least disgusting. I would have done the same thing. I’ve taught my niece how to pee outside, behind a bush or a tree, if the need is too great to try and hold it. She gets a kick out of it. Probably it will be my legacy – my aunt taught me how to pee anywhere, anytime. Oh well, my claim to fame. Better than having a bladder infection. I’ve got to put some sort of positive spin on it. And you must take advantage of sale prices! That’s the lesson you taught them, and it’s a good one!

  7. karent

    Annnnnnd so it begins… just think.. on your next road trip you’ll get there super fast with no delays…. who woulda thought it’d be his mom who taught him to pee in a cup… 😉

    scott must have been so proud of you!!!


    love this post!!!
    love you!!!!!!!!

  8. julie gardner

    And THIS is why I don’t like shopping – ha!

    I love your honesty here. And you are FAR from the most disgusting person on the planet.
    You were a mom who met a need of your child.

    I’m sure that ALL store owners would appreciate your solution over having to clean up their floors.
    (And your son will be forever grateful you didn’t humiliate him publicly. Just in front of his sister – 🙂

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