Yes, you become a mom when you have a baby. But I'm not so sure that automatically qualifies you as a real mom. I've known all to many who never really have much success past that point in raising well-adjusted children.
However, as I was standing in the Target parking lot starring at my 9 month old son, I came to realize that I was a real mom. Why? You ask. Because I didn't turn and run.
It all started innocently enough. BOTH kids slept during the hour ride to the store and once we finished up at Target, we were going to enjoy a beautiful, sunny day at the pool. Pulling into the store parking lot, my daughter made an interesting statement.
"Mom, it's all over his hands," she said.
"What is?" I asked.
"Dirty hands, dirty hands!" She shrieked.
Okay, so I wasn't going to get too much information out of the 2 year old, and then it hit me. No, not an idea or clue as to the mysterious dirty hands. But a smell. A smell that all moms know. The messy diaper.
Being a mathematical genius I put 2 and 2 together, and then screamed. I knew exactly what was all over his hands.
I dashed to his door and sure enough he and his car seat were covered in baby poop. I tried to wipe as much away as I could with the last few diaper wipes in the diaper bag (I never remember to refill it!) and ended up wrapping him in a pool towel and dashing into the store.
I cleaned him up, apologized to the lady giving me the stink-eye, and tossed out the towel. Wasteful? Sure, but I couldn't fathom carrying that thing around with me (Just don't tell my husband.) And then it was time to clean the car seat. I busied the kids with a box of tissues that they immediately began to dismantle and I started to clean. Why is it that certain baby items have more nooks and crannies than could possibly be needed? My high chair, something that by nature is going to get covered in food, has bits and bobbles, and holes, and hooks that all attract food. Yuck!
Apparently an infant carrier is no different. And did you know that a substance spilled into an infant seat easily meanders its way down through the strap slots and all over the base? That was not a pleasant surprise.
I panicked. I called my mom, who wasn't close enough to bring help. I called my husband who works 10 minutes away, but he was in a meeting. My sister (who works with my husband-- but that's a whole other story. Suffice it to say, my dad works there too.) was also in a meeting but said she could be there in an hour.
I moaned, I tried not to cry, I wiped at the poop with the one single solitary sanitizing wipe I found stashed somewhere, and realized that I was a real mom. It was just something that real moms have to do. My mom has done it, you've probably done it. Cleaning out poop is just part of the job. And in the end, the poop got cleaned up, we had a great day at the pool, and everyone now gets a great laugh at my expense, and moms get to breathe a sigh of relief that this time, it wasn't them.