Dressing for the Part of…Janitor?

18 Jan

Ugh. Snail trail. My 2 year old daughter is crying her eyes out because of something I did that offended her (really, because it’s 5pm and she hasn’t napped all day). I look down where her face is buried into my shoulder and I see that shiny mix of tears and boogers imprinted on my brand new sweater. After a moment of panic, I recover my wits and toss the sweater into the next room, and ponder the paradox of dressing for mommyhood while I sit on the closed toilet lid in the bathroom and try to calm my daughter down.

Just earlier today, I trudged through the same bathroom only to step in something wet – which is never good when you’re walking by a toilet in a kids’ bathroom. Bending down to examine the material, my fears were confirmed – pee pee puddle, which my daughter had just pushed her new baby stroller into, and her footprints were following her into the next room.  After giving my 5 year old son the third degree about his toileting accuracy, I brought out the cleaning spray and paper towels and went to work. A few minutes later, even though the bathroom smelled like bleach, and my wet socks were in the hamper, I still couldn’t shake the memory of pee on the bottom of my feet.

Now, seeing my new sweater discarded in a heap, I had to ask myself – whom am I kidding, trying to make a fashion statement  in this profession of motherhood- those with similar jobs, janitors and hospital orderlies, simply choose to wear scrubs.

With my daughter calm, but still wet and naked in my arms, I take a deep breath, and I do my best to put the hopelessness aside.  I pick up the sweater off the floor, wipe off the visible boogers with a washcloth, and put it back on. I’m going to get through the day without looking like I’ve been run over by a truck, I tell myself. I just have to stay calm and keep my wits about me.

Soon thereafter, my daughter announces that she has to go “poo poo” and I follow her back into the bathroom. Turns out the poo poo boat has sailed already and what she really needs is a change of diapers.  Now, we’re new to pull-up diapers and I guess my removal technique needs improvement because in an instant, a large turd that has bounced off my wrist and onto the bathroom floor, leaving a light impression of poop on my skin.  I read in a potty training book that parents are not supposed to show disgust in the presence of poop, so, trying to look encouraging for my daughter’s sake, I do my best to contain the hazardous material while keeping my daughter from stepping in it. Meanwhile, I can feel the poop stain burning its impression on my skin. At least the sweater has short sleeves… after the poop on the floor is contained, I leap up to wash my hands, lathering and scrubbing harder than Lady Macbeth. Finally, I clean up my daughter, draw a deep breath, and we all continue with our day.

Now it’s nearing bedtime, and my kids are in the bath. Just when I thought that my janitorial duties were complete for the day, I hear my son calling out, “Poop! Poop!” Yes indeed, little sister had planted a floater in the bathtub.  When it rains, it really pours. My son is old enough to know he needs to get out of the bathtub ASAP. Of course. this is not my first run-in with a waterborne turd – which my husband likes to call Defcon because of the dead-serious look I get on my face. Children are evacuated, toys are discarded, everything and everyone is sanitized. A good while and a half bottle of cleaning solution later, I restore hygienic order for the third time.

Am I crazy to wear a cushy, cashmere blend sweater while swatting poop around on the bathroom floor? Perhaps. But I don’t like the alternative.  If my clothes only serve the purpose of utility, I end up with the mommy version of scrubs – clothes that are stain resistant, effortless, and uninspiring. So I guess I wear the pretty sweater despite my better judgement, for the simple reason that it upgrades my job description. I am more than a janitor, waitress, and chauffeur.  In motherhood, I get to write my own job title – and I prefer teacher, artist, and life coach — who just happens to put on rubber gloves every now and then.

The first time my son pooped in the bathtub as a toddler, I was so overtaken with the ick factor that I forgot to laugh. Luckily my husband was there to remind me that it’s actually funny.  Funny for you, I grumbled to myself, because you’re not the one with your face in a bathtub full of hot bleach.  Now, a few years later, we can all laugh about it. After all, my son is the one sharing the bathtub with the floating turd – if he can laugh about it, then I should too.  We’ll be teaching my daughter the lesson of lightness; everyone steps in a puddle of pee every now and then, but it’s less about cleaning up the bathroom floor, and more about what you do afterwards.

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2 Responses to “Dressing for the Part of…Janitor?”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Why raising toddlers is like living in an insane asylum « What to Wear After Kids - March 11, 2011

    […] would call for dressing in scrubs like a hospital orderly, which is a topic that I explored in a recent blog post.  By the end of that post, I conclude I am simply not willing to live my life in anticipation of […]

  2. I Am Sparkle Princess « What to Wear After Kids - March 3, 2012

    […] Watching her shamelessly pointing out her beautiful shoes to strangers, it became clear to me that even though I don’t plan to wear a tutu skirt in public anytime soon, her attitude is a path to freedom for me and moms everywhere.  I realized that dressing up for her and for adults is not that different. She is channeling her inner fairy princess, and I am channeling my inner carefree bohemian urbanite, even though my real life bears very little resemblance to the person I dress up as on some days. (Case in point: sometimes my day includes chasing a runaway turd escaping from a diaper.) […]

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