The scent of a stay-at-home woman


A woman fancies an afternoon out with her toddler girl. Rather than weigh herself down with the shabby diaper bag and bulky stroller, she opts for a stylish shoulder bag big enough for her things and a few toddler essentials. She imagines a stroll in the park, a visit to the library, a quick swing through the nearby shopping district before picking up a bottle of wine on the way home.

 “Mommy, loook!” cries a pigtailed 5-year-old tugging her mother’s shirt and pointing at us. “She’s not wearing pants!”

I force a closed-lip smile at pigtail’s mother, whose gaze follows her daughter’s extended finger directly down to my baby girl’s bare legs, and then slowly shifts up to me. We are waiting for the elevator by the children’s section of the neighborhood library. It can’t come fast enough. Behind us, the wheels of a custodian’s cart screech the arrival of the clean-up crew at the women’s bathroom.

I hoist a clear plastic bag in my right hand up to the mother’s eye level, revealing the missing pants and underwear, both splattered with fresh diarrhea. I hope she got a good whiff. I hope it answers her unasked question about why my child is at the public library in a shirt, pull-up and shoes. Because, you know, I’m not trying to start a new fashion trend.

After a silent elevator ride up to the main floor, pigtails and mother cut a hasty retreat lest any germs latch onto them. I grab Girl from the East’s hand, shift the pile of picture books, above-mentioned bag of defiled clothing and my purse and head for the door.
We both move quickly on our walk of shame down a brick-paved path past gardens and park benches populated with lunchtimers, readers and gawkers.
In the punishing light of high noon all I can think is: I hope I don’t have crap on my clothes.

There is nothing “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” about realizing that you have only two tissues in your stylish shoulder bag, not nearly enough to combat the very unstylish diarrhea running down your toddler’s leg.
There is nothing glamorous about an unexpected, explosive illness in a bathroom that is a paper-free operation (hand-dryers only).
There is a high level of “Desperate Housewives” in realizing you sacrificed practicality for style by leaving the diaper bag at home, which contained wet wipes, spare clothes, diapers, hand sanitizer and plastic bags. Even more desperate, having to ‘fess up to the library staff and beg for paper towels and a plastic bag.
In the end, you realize there is no sexy way to walk out of a building with a half-naked child and a see-through bag of poopy clothes, both leaving a scent in their wake …
… the scent of a stay-at-home woman.

CONCLUDING REMARKS: Thanks for visiting and reading my 100th post. This has been part of a larger celebration, Girls In Real Life, or G.I.R.L., put together by Marcy at The Glamorous Life. Join the party.

15 thoughts on “The scent of a stay-at-home woman

  1. been there, sista! I might have messed around with the elevator buttons a little so Mom and Pigtails could enjoy the scent a little longer. Sounds like an interesting day….

  2. omg, so sorry this happened to you. soooo sucks.

    FWIW, both of my children have let loose on me. the first, when babygirl sat on my lap, age 18 months or so, in the middle of the mall. she was having a drink. i was wearing white pants. someone’s diaper apparently decided to leak. pee on white pants. sounds like a painting, doesn’t it?

    worse than that: i was in the ER after midnight with baby hellboy, who sported 105 and dehydration. the dumbass nurse insisted on putting apple juice in his bottle, which he gulped with a vengeance. a little while later, dumbass nurse decided to check his diaper. as she pulled it off to take a peek (while baby was on my lap), he had massive diarhea on my jeans. we were in the ER until 4 am, and i had to walk around smelling like a rose. my favorite moment: a doctor came in and announced: what smells like shit in here?

    uh, that would be me, i replied, waving.

  3. Not only is this truely a Glamorous in Real Life moment…but it is insanely well written. You told it in the past tense essentially…it is writting like this that stirs me from my sleep at 2am and inspires me to try try again. It is posts like these that make me want to be a better blogger. A better writer. Oh, and a better mother. 🙂

  4. Oh, nice job!

    1. Who doesn’t love a fresh story regarding inappropriate placement of loose stools!

    2. Nothing says “I am a mother” like a tale of projectile diarrhea in a public place!

    3. You know you can bring along an additional change of clothing for your children from now until high school graduation and they will never need it (until the one day you don’t have it)!

    4. Wait until they are older and get their period and they weren’t expecting it, a little more obvious to the other parents when your child is walking around pantless.

  5. Oh, I have SO been there, too, except that my small-type girl was barfy. At a high school wrestling match – so instant audience! We had to stop at a trash can before we could get to the bathroom. Even so, it got all over her clothes, so all I could do was remove all but the underwear and wrap her up in my black leather coat, and pray the heaves were all over with as we made our way to the car. Poor thing!

  6. This was so well written, Miss Zombie. Loved it. And it makes me nervous that I can’t think of one such incident in my life, because that would mean that situations like yours were commonplace for me? Dunno. Maybe I blocked them out.

    Here’s to potty trained kidlets and fashionable handbags just around the corner!

    — Laurie @ Foolery

  7. oh my. I learned that lesson the hard way, too. I carried a diaper bag or a VERY large purse for a couple of years after my last ‘baby’ was out of diapers. I always had a spare EVERYTHING, and if it wasn’t in the bag, it was likely in the trunk of the car. After one serious stomach bug ruined both my clothes and the baby’s (tops and bottoms, going at both ends!) while we were at Costco 45 minutes from home, I never wanted to be without the essentials again!

  8. OMG…LOVE it! (Not that it happened to you…) just that I am not alone…. my son managed to do that a couple of times… once while he was in a baby carrier… & it ended up all down the front of me… & on my legs…. S E X Y!

  9. Seems as though I’ve touched a common nerve here. I guess I was lucky with Girl No. 1 or my memory has faded. As an “experienced mother” I felt so humiliated after this incident.

  10. Lordy lordy.

    You mentioned this today–I’m glad I got to read your full rendition!

    (At least you had some pullups with you–it would have been even more interesting if that walk of shame would have been with her butt-nekkid!)

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