My 8-year-old son had a mystery stomach ailment that had him unable to hold down food for the better part of eight weeks. The process of finding out what was wrong involved visits to the pediatrician, a radiologist, an allergist, two pediatric gastroenterologists and a nutritionist. And naturally, as you can imagine when dealing with stomach issues, stool samples were required.
If you've never been asked to collect a stool sample from your child, allow me to enlighten you. A doctor hands you a collection kit, which includes some version of gloves, collection containers meant to be brought back to the doctor post-collection, a toilet hat (or as I like to refer to it as a catcher's mitt for poop) and some form of a scooper.
It registers in your mind that collecting a stool sample means you are going to have to be on call and hope your kid poops at home, not at school. Then, you are going to have to handle your kid's offering and get it from that catcher's mitt on your toilet to the tiny little tubes your doctor has provided.
Motherhood is also a disgusting job that requires moms to be both exterminators and proctologists.
Oh and one more thing! If your kid poops in the evening, that sample is going to have to sit in your refrigerator overnight so you can drive it across town the next morning when the lab or doctor's office re-opens.
Through the course of finding out what was wrong with my son's stomach, we were asked to provide three different stool samples. And as luck would have it, my husband was not home to deal with any of them.
If you're like me, you knew having a baby meant signing up for sleepless nights and endless carpools. You just didn't know becoming a mom meant signing up for storing your kid's poop in your fridge and then driving it across town. Motherhood is inconvenient, exhausting, wonderful and exhilarating. It's also a disgusting job that requires moms to be both exterminators and proctologists.
So if you think having a baby means signing up to never sleep well again, it does. But did you also know becoming a mom means signing up to do and be these 20 things, too? Me neither.
1. Killing bugs
It doesn't matter how terrified you actually are of that tiny spider dangling above your kid's bed. You'll be called upon to remove it, and with your bare hands if needed.
2. Dealing with poop
That little baby of yours may be cute now, but he is going to do all sorts of crazy things with his poop. That kid will poop in your car and in your hand! That kid will have a mystery stomach ailment that will require you to collect a stool sample, or three! And no, the hubs will never be home when your kid has a poop emergency. Lucky.
3. Fart whisperer
Yes, moms are 2 a.m. fart whispers for gassy kids who just can't get that bubble out. You'll try chamomile tea, heating pads and bicycling your kid's legs until you are hit with a bomb of bad air that has your eyes tearing. Your kid will go right back to sleep. You, on the other hand, may not recover.
4. Collecting used Band-Aids
Anyone else find it totally gross to see a used Band-Aid pass you by in the pool or tub? Kids seem to love to remove Band-Aids at the most inopportune times, leaving mom as the go-to collector. Ew.
5. Answering uncomfortable questions
So far I've skirted the "Where do babies come from?" question that's nearly come up a few times in the car, but I know it's coming. My husband will boast car rides with the kids filled with silly games and family discussions. Me? I get all the "Why don't girls have penises?" and "Why do mom and dads share beds?" questions. Just my luck.
6. The security guard outside the restaurant
Every toddler has their "I don't want to sit when the food comes at the restaurant" phase. Parents expect it. You just don't realize that when your toddler is sprinting outside the restaurant, someone has to go with him. So while everyone else at your table enjoys your meal, you'll be trying to keep your kid from hurling himself into moving cars. It's fun, really!
7. Remembering everything!
Moms don't know that they are not only signing up to birth and care for the children, they are actually signing up to remember where the shoes are, where the homework folder went, and how to cut a sandwich without causing a family breakdown.
8. All that laundry
My husband is a totally involved and equal partner and parent, except with those 47,000 loads of laundry that need to get washed, dried, folded and put away each and every week. I never signed up to be the laundry person, but somehow I am. Can I switch jobs?
9. Meals, meals, and more meals
Sure every family has the "Dad's cooking tonight" night, but it's one night. The other six days a week everyone assumes mom is making dinner. Get ready new moms, you're going to be an expert at cooking chicken 100 different ways.
10. Separating dirty underwear from dirty pants
What do I want for my birthday, kids? I want you to take your underwear and pants off separately and put them in the hamper instead of on the floor as a unit! It's gross putting your hands in someone else's dirty undies.
11. Cleaning up puke from the carseat
It's inevitable. Every child will puke on his or her carseat at least once. All those corners, creases and crevices will need to be cleaned, by you!
Hey, here's a fun one. Some kid at school is going to give your kid lice and you're going to have to, one hair at a time, find the lice. And yes, you're going to feel invisible things crawling on you for days to come. It's delightful.
13. Allergy expert
If your kid gets a food or environmental allergy, you will have to become more of an expert on said allergy than your doctor. Because not only could your child's health be in jeopardy, you're also going to be the one on duty to help your lactose intolerant kid when he's up all night with a stomach ache because Grandma gave him ice cream.
14. Nose picker
That dangling booger in your kid's nose will gross you out more than just shoving your finger in there and getting it. And you will!
15. The pet caretaker
After the entire family wears you down, swearing they will take care of the family dog, bird, or hamster, you will find yourself walking that dog in the rain everyday. And you know who will come with you? Nobody!
16. The person who brought the lovey
If you have a kid who just has to have that dirty rag or filthy doll everywhere he or she goes, just know that you will be solely responsible for carting that lovey around. And you will want to because when your kid is lovey-less, a colossal tantrum will ensue.
17. Class Projects!
Even if you have no idea how to make a California mission out of clay or a periodical chart out of dominoes, you will be required to figure it out. Because every mom quickly learns that homework and projects aren't for the kids, they're for the moms. Because kids can't do them without your help, so you have to quickly become an expert.
18. Splinter removal
Kids get splinters all the time. Someone's got to remove them. That person will always be you.
19. Bunkbed sheet changer
If you want a good workout, skip the gym and try to change your kid's peed-on-bunk-bed sheets at 3 a.m. You'll find muscles you never felt before.
20. Rash Googler
Your kid is going to get weird rashes in weird places on his or her body. Lucky you, you're going to have to decipher how serious the rash is and what caused it. The real rash to Google image rash comparison is always alarming, but you'll still do it each and every time.