A few months ago, I went out to eat with my then 16-month old son. It was just the two of us, and he was acting like a literal angel. He was adorable and charming to the diners on either side of us and he happily ate his dinner, including spinach. Yes, spinach. People actually stopped to compliment us, and I took a photo so I'd have proof that this one time when I seemed like a perfect mom actually happened. There are plenty of embarrassing mom moments you can't avoid, after all, so it helps to have concrete evidence of the times when you don't look like a total mess to comfort yourself in the moments when you do.
Becoming a mom has made me even more glad that I have the kind of lovely dark skin that doesn’t tell on me when I’m mortified. ‘Cause that happens pretty frequently now. Sure, I know intellectually that most of the embarrassing things I experience happen to every parent. I know that kids are totally separate beings from their parents, so we can't control everything they do and that it's not necessarily a direct reflection on us or an indictment of our worthiness if and when they screw up. However, knowing that in my brain does not make the rest of me cringe any less when these moments inevitably happen.
Cringe on, mamas. We can't avoid moments like the following, unless we were to just stop caring completely and that's not a terribly attractive option, either. Just always carry extra clothes, work on your graceful exits (or your best impersonation of such), and remember that you're still an amazing human being, even if you and the little humans in your life are a bit of a mess at times.
Going Somewhere With Spit Up Or Food On Your Clothes
What happens when you combine a baby or toddler who always wants to be near or on you, with a small stomach that constantly needs to be refilled? You get really good at strategically repositioning your baby carrier/scarf/purse strap until you can change your clothes.
Forgetting To Re-Clasp Your Nursing Bra (If You Breastfeed)
Once you get comfortable nursing every couple of hours, it's pretty much inevitable that you'll get so comfortable that, at some point, you won't notice you forgot to put your nursing gear back together when you're done. Oops.
The Blowout Diaper That Destroys All Outfits In Its Path
Bonus points if this happens in the middle of a stop at Waffle House you only just barely had time for during a long car trip, when you're due to attend a large family gathering as soon as you get to your destination. (Not that I've ever experienced this personally or anything.)
When They Totally Meltdown In Front Of People You’d Like To Impress
Otherwise known as “The Day You Learned To Always Pack Extra Snacks And Stop Scheduling These Kinds Of Occasions Within An Hour Of Naptime.”
When Your Baby Won’t Do A Thing You *Just* Told Someone They’re Capable Of Doing
Babies aren't trained seals, of course, so it's to be expected that they won't perform on cue. However, that doesn't make it any less frustrating or embarrassing when they do something twenty times in a row, only to not do it the first time you have another witness.
Now your friends probably think you're making it up, and you're already trying to convince them you're not totally weird now that you've had a kid.
When Your Baby/Toddler Won’t Get Dressed While You Have People Over
Or figures out how to take their clothes off in the middle of entertaining guests. Super glad you're so comfortable in your own skin, Little One, but if you could also get comfortable in those organic cotton tag-less clothes mama specifically picked out for times like this, that would be great.
When Your Kid Ruins Something You Don’t Own
These moments are almost physically painful. Hopefully, whatever they messed up isn't irreplaceable or horribly expensive. The only thing worse than feeling that level of embarrassed in public is feeling that embarrassed and guilty, and/or financially ruined in public.
When Your Kid Hurts Another Kid
Playground spats happen, especially when kids are really young and don't yet have the social skills or language needed for sharing and resolving conflict without hitting or biting. But until then, there's a lot of hitting and biting, and it feels almost as bad when your kid is the hitter as it does when your kid is the hittee.
When Your Kid Calls You Out In A Public Place
Nobody’s perfect, parents definitely included. But that doesn't make it any less embarrassing to be caught in the wrong, particularly if it's our kids who catch us and especially when other people are around. See? Those breathing techniques you learned in birthing class and/or yoga really are useful elsewhere, too.
When Your Kid Repeats Things You Wish They Wouldn’t, In Public
Whether it's the choice words you mutter when you stub your toe, or what you really think of that one co-worker you can't stand, at some totally inopportune time, your not-so-nice words are going to come out of your kid's mouth. It's cosmic payback for when we did the same thing to our parents.
When You Forget, Well, Everything
Names, appointments, events, treats for some party; at various points in your over-stretched, under-slept life, you're going to forget stuff, and feel totally awful as a result.
Just, you know, try not to forget anything major, like their birthday or allergies or anything like that. Everything else you can kinda fudge your way through. Kinda.