Filthy Is As Filthy Does
Before having children, I never realized how clean I was. I brushed my teeth each morning, I properly disposed of all bodily fluids (since I only had to worry about my own), and I had the luxury of showering at my leisure.
The day Marie first came home from the hospital, I tried to continue living out this fairy tale. I was a perfectionist-mommy. If she spit up, I immediately changed both of our clothes and threw the slightly spoiled wardrobes in the laundry. Then, each day when the hamper inevitably overflowed, I did what I had to do to make sure we didn’t go naked.
Within a week, I completely burned out.
I didn’t realize that when you’re surrounded by children – or even just one child – you must resign yourself to live in complete filth. It’s not necessarily a conscious decision, but one that is made out of necessity. Or laziness. Or both. Take, for example, this actual conversation between my husband and me. After several diaper changes during Marie’s nighttime routine, we had finally conquered our whiz monster, gotten her to sleep, and began crawling into bed ourselves:
Kyle: There’s an unknown substance on our sheets. It might be from when Marie peed in her hair and pushed herself off the changing pad and onto the bed.
Me: [looking at the stain at the foot of the bed] Ah, we’ll be fine.
Even after I readjusted and accidentally put my leg in the wet mess at the bottom of the bed, we both agreed the best option would simply be to avoid that spot. Which we did. For the next three nights we avoided that spot before we finally washed the sheets.
I suppose this would be a shock to my former self – the lady with clean linens – but the frazzled, droopy-eyed mother of a 10-week-old has learned that mess is part of the magic. Spit-up stains are war wounds and I wear them proudly. Well, perhaps not proudly, but I do wear them. It’s the mark of motherhood. And thanks to my precious, beloved, darling daughter, I am constantly caked in it.