Welcome to the exciting new blog ‘Mum Life Stories’. I am so happy to have you join me and vice versa, here on this journey called Motherhood. I hope you find entertainment, comfort, encouragement, companionship and inspiration on this site. I can’t wait to hear from you as you adventure through the amazing stories that will be gracing the pages of this blog and hearing your own tales of adventures, misadventures, joys and perils. To get things started, here’s our first shared story ‘#MumLife’ by myself, Jo Stewart. Let the Story Begin.
~ Jo Stewart
I giggled to myself as I stared at the photo one more time before typing #mumlife in the description and hitting the ‘post’ button. As the page reloaded and my update became published for all my 343 “friends” to see, I was struck with an amalgam of contrary feelings. I loved sharing pics of my adorable offspring on social media, in their cutest outfits, with their messy, stickiest faces, their cheekiest, heart-melting expressions, in their beds asleep like little angels, but underneath the warm fuzzies I gained from projecting the best scenes of my life out into the world, lay an undefined sadness.
I had sensed this sadness before but chose to overlook it in favour of focusing instead on the superficial joy that came with pushing the perception of a perfect family. I wanted people to know me, to understand me, to journey with me, but fear of being seen as boring, as less than together, unbalanced, unstable, weak, a failure, made me selective in what I shared. I had convinced myself that what I chose to share was my attempt to be optimistic in a pessimistic world, to grab onto all the good things in life while letting go of the bad, but the fact that my joy was so short-lived, had finally convicted me that I was like countless others who were not being genuine about the realities of life.
I decided to write another post, this time attempting to be transparent and open. I’d typed a mere 2 words when a small voice declared “oh oh.” No matter how many times I’d heard this before, and anticipated it as part of my day, I was still taken aback by it. I knew it couldn’t be good, but nothing prepared me for the total shock and disgust that invaded my otherwise peaceful resolve as I peered over the edge of my phone at the scene before me. Yes, I said peaceful resolve which is most likely to every mother in the world (including myself) a somewhat foreign concept. Mind you it was 7.30am and the day had only just begun an hour previously.
I knew that most mothers where well-versed in the joys of the undignified poo explosion that comes with the territory of a new born and the perilous journey that is toilet training an active toddler, but there was one horror that came between these two points that was far less often talked about and that was the horrendous ordeal of managing the dreaded poo-eater. My 2-year-old blonde bombshell was a poo-eater and after being caught in the act a dozen times he had now worked out a pint-sized avoidance strategy that helped him evade parental interference long enough to get a few fingers full of the odious brown goo into his small mouth. Nothing irked me more than spending half an hour in a tactical clean up mission with a wriggly toddler, ending in 2 sets of smelly hands, a pile of poopy clothes, nappies and bum wipes and a further 5 minutes investigating the scene for stray bits of poop, but of course it had to be done. If only this had been one of his usual poo-eating incidents.
For some reason known only to the mysterious mind of my hyperactive toddler, he had chosen this morning to take his revolting pursuit to a whole new level. Several brown streaks had been painted on the white walls in little three fingered arches approximately one meter from the ground. If it hadn’t been for the revolting matter used in the creative expression, one might have been able to admire it as an aesthetically pleasing artwork. With this in mind, I snapped a quick photo on my phone before retrieving the spray and wipe from under the kitchen sink and getting to work. A hundred gags and several dry heaves later, I’d finally removed every trace of human waste from the walls of the family room, all whilst a very frustrated 8-month old sat on his mat complaining about his older brothers unwarranted attention.
I rescued the baby from his brother’s over-zealous affections and consoled him with a breast-feed. After placing him in the high chair with a rusk to gnaw on, I sat down to write a whole new post on my social media profile, making sure to keep a close eye on my poo-eater who was now running laps around the loungeroom. I wrote of the events of the morning, including all the emotions that threatened to overwhelm me and my narrow escape from a violent vomiting session, sparing no detail. I added the picture of the poo-mural for dramatic affect and hit the ‘post’ button. I felt satisfied that I’d painted a real and genuine portrait of the moment, in all it’s disgusting glory. I was confident it would be appreciated and met with comments of empathy and related tales of common accord, but my hopes were dashed as I read the responses an hour later.
Oh wow, you can’t take your eyes off them for a second, can you?
OMG Sara, my son would never get that far, I watch him like a hawk.
Looks like someone needs some discipline!
Oh that’s disgusting….gag
Could have done without the visual.
Maybe you should spend less time on social media and more time watching your son!
I felt sick to my stomach at the judgemental and tactless comments, the last one earning itself a very angry ‘unfriending’. I sat for a moment thinking about how deluded I was to assume that everyone would appreciate my candid re-telling of events, but then it dawned on me that most of my “friends” were childless acquaintances, befriended previous to our years of procreation. Why was I sharing a reality too real for the single and childless with that very audience? Only those who had been there could truly understand the nightmare I’d been through, but where could I share my story with an audience that could relate and empathise with me?
I scoured my social media pages to find a dozen mums groups, all filled with a plethora of stories similar and equally as disturbing as mine. Comments were mostly supportive and seemed genuine and heart-felt. I shared my story and felt comforted and understood. I was amazed at the vast amount of entertaining tales that covered the pages of these sites, tales that so many missed out on because they were not part of the Motherhood club. I began to think, ‘what if there was a site where these tales could be told in an entertaining way, a way that would appeal to everyone?’
I felt a rush of excitement as I jumped to my feet. My 8-month-old glared at me from his activity centre like I’d lost my mind, and I ran past my two-year old begging me for a bickie, into the study to grab my laptop. I tied my long unwashed Auburn hair up into a ponytail and sat down at the kitchen table to begin my blogging career.