If you’re looking for a great parenting advice from someone who has it all figured out, I am not your girl. However, if you feel like a bit of a mess as a parent and want to commiserate with someone over embarrassing stories, welcome!
This Sunday morning was going pretty good. We’d had a few bumps trying to get ready for church and leaving on time. We had missed the window of time to leave early enough to stop at the donut shop before service. The kids (and parents) were bummed, but we had time for bathroom breaks and hot chocolate and getting to our seats before service started, so all was not lost.
The kids were not bothering each other or fighting over toys and Oliver was so happy with his hot chocolate and granola bar that he wasn’t even trying to pull at my shirt to nurse; something that is impossible in public anymore without a complete spectacle of his demanding toddler ways.
He stood in front of my chair with a distinct look on his face and I knew we’d be heading to the bathroom for a diaper change. I whispered to Bryan and carried Oliver and the diaper bag out of the large sanctuary.
Oliver lay on the changing table, all ready for his new diaper, but when I reached in my bag it was nowhere to be found. I dug a bit but quickly gave up hope of finding one. The cloth diapers I had packed were bulky. They had been right on top of the bag. How could they not be here now?
I panicked and fastened the diaper back up and went to the car for a spare diaper where I would be able to change this poor little kid whose mom obviously knocked the diapers out of her bag while digging her phone out on the way to church.
The car was a mess, we’d just been out for Halloween fun and I’d had cloth and disposable diapers scattered all over the car yesterday, but had carried much of the mess into the house yesterday evening. And had not one diaper stashed anywhere. I eyeballed the spare clothes bundle and grabbed the smallest boy sized underwear we had and hurried back inside.
Oliver was excited to be wearing big-kid undies, with the waist band rolled over twice to keep them up. I dressed him again but skipped the boots because I couldn’t risk him peeing down his leg into his only shoes I had with me on this cold morning. I texted Bryan that we would spend the last 15 minutes of church in the bathroom.
Oliver played in the sink and seemed to be doing fine. He had nooded his blond, non-potty-trained, little toddler head yes that he would tell mommy when he had to go pee and not go in his pants. I was hopeful.
After a while, I decided to make a run for the car before service let out because I envisioned myself stopping to talk and getting my side soaked while my little guy nonchalantly peed on me. I messaged Bryan that we’d be in the car. I dried Oliver’s hands and picked him up to feel wet jeans.
I groaned and started pulling the wet things off of him at the sink. He had one last outfit and that was it. We needed to get groceries after church and going back home for more clothes and then back to town would be so unnecessary. I changed him quickly, using his last dry pants, thinking this looks like the most awful parenting. Please don’t let another mother walk in and judge me in the middle of this motherhood mishap.
We made it out and sat in the car for a minute before the rest of the family met up with us. I buckled him in thinking the few miles to the store would be quick and I’d buy diapers first thing and rush to the bathroom to put one on him.
In the store parking lot, I picked up a soaking wet kid. I just wanted to cry. I pleaded with Bryan to quickly get the diapers and come back before Oliver gets too cold. I dug through the clothes stash one more time, which was still shorts and t-shirts because we’ve just had 80 degree days before our plummet to the 30s. I grab a second pair of undies, even bigger than the last, and a pair of shorts long enough to be culottes on this little man. With his boots, they would almost cover his legs. He had a new t-shirt and thankfully a little hoodie in the stash.
Bryan came out with the diapers and I put one on as soon as I could rip open the pack. I hadn’t felt such relief in a long time.
As we walked in the store together, with my coat wrapped around our ill-dressed toddler, Bryan and I talked about how hard this morning has been. We just needed a reset button I said. A few steps later I realized it was probably just another lesson in parenting and patience and loving each other in the difficult times. Not letting the stress of a bad situation ruin relationships, and instead strengthening them and providing our kids with a safe place to make mistakes and learn from them, by being a daily example of someone who makes mistakes.
All of the things I probably would have heard in Sunday service if I hadn’t been in the bathroom the whole time!
P.S. I walked in the house later that morning to diapers laying on the kitchen table. I still don’t remember taking them out of my bag!
I hope this story makes you feel better about your parenting, and if you ever find yourself without a diaper someday, I hope you get to one quickly, and then laugh about it later!