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Judgey Mom Karma

Pre-mommy judgment: we’re all guilty of it. Those notions we have of what a good mother "should be" doing, long before we are ever actually mothers ourselves, is rampant.

For me it was snotty noses. Every time I spied a kid at the grocery story with snot all over his or her little face, I blamed the mommy. After all, how hard could it possibly be to keep those little noses clean? What else could she possibly be so busy doing? Poor little ragamuffins! They just needed a mommy willing to go in for a swipe with the baby wipe. My kid would never suffer a snotty nose in public. This much I was sure of.

Little did I know.

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Now I have a toddler in daycare. And for the last four months, as winter has slowly shifted to spring in Alaska, her nose has been a non-stop faucet of snot. When it isn’t leaking without warning, it is taken over by the kind of crusties that cause my little girl to wail over any attempts at removal.

I wipe at that thing. I suction it out. I use my hands and washcloths and boogie wipes—pretty much anything within reach. I even invested in a NoseFrida, using the power of my own mouth to evacuate her boogies.

Oh yeah, you should definitely look that thing up. Dis-gusting.

But it doesn’t matter. At least a few times a day I look over and realize that my daughter is a snotty mess, often in public. My very own little ragamuffin.

Apparently it’s not that easy to keep kids from looking like little hot messes all the time.

That’s not all, though. Because it turns out, snotty noses are just the beginning. It starts there, but it evolves into red cheeks from a face that has been wiped raw. Then, the next thing you know, their clothes are filthy—covered in food and boogers and who knows what else. The next peek I take, I realize she has yogurt in her hair and only one pigtail in place.

And just like that, all the visions I had of a perfectly put-together toddler are completely destroyed. Apparently it’s not that easy to keep kids from looking like little hot messes all the time.

But it starts with the nose. Every time. I wipe, it comes back. I wipe again, she sneezes half her brain out. I wipe once more, her entire face turns red from over-wiping. And then the running continues.

People inevitably ask me why her cheeks are so rosy. Is it an allergy? Are you using the wrong lotion? Could your detergent be bothering her? Well… I suppose all of the above are possible, but I actually think it’s just the fact that I have wiped her face with baby wipes at least 200 times. In the last hour. Mommy's a little OCD like that.

I swear, I don’t know how one little body can produce so much snot. Or why it is that we seem to only get a day or two of reprieve from the running before that little face faucet starts up again.

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So for real, I take back all my pre-mommy judgment. I had no idea how hard it was to keep these tiny little people from forever looking like they belong on a street corner. It’s a sad day when I look at my toddler and realize I was more put together in my 22-year-old cocktail waitressing days, back when I was known for carrying peppermint schnapps in my purse and taking my clothes off at totally inappropriate times.

I mean, at least then my nose was clean.

You certainly can’t say the same for my little hot mess.

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