I’ve always been a believer in over-sharing, because I think that in general, we don’t share enough. Okay, sure – we share a lot of the superficial good stuff: the Pinterest-y holiday cupcakes we made on the weekend, or the Instagram-filtered blissful moment of our children napping in the afternoon sun, but a lot of the time, we don’t share the nitty-gritty “good stuff”.
I’m talking about the photos of our instant oatmeal that exploded all over the microwave because we were in a rush to feed the toddler (and the dog, and ourselves) before we rushed out to work in the morning. Where are the sepia-filtered photos of the dust bunnies that have been looming the corner of the dining room for three weeks? #WeHaveANewPet #VaccumingIsOverrated.
Maybe it’s just me, but these are the honest stories that I enjoy hearing, and they’re the type of stories I enjoy sharing through my blog and on stage. I believe that by exposing myself, and my own (often embarrassing) stories, I will make other people feel less alone in this crazy world of parenting. For example, let me tell you about the time I accidentally flashed a woman right after I gave birth to my son.
We were sitting in the breastfeeding class at the hospital, six hours after my all-natural, 10-hour posterior labour. I was momentarily proud of myself for not having accepted any drugs, until I looked around the room at the nine other women who said “yes” to the epidural. Their skin was glowing, and they looked rested. I, on the other hand, looked like I had been hit by a train. And then run over by a tractor-trailer. Across from me sat a radiant young woman who I could only assume had stolen someone else’s newborn to gain access to the class. There was no way this woman who was wearing pearl earrings and stylish yoga gear had just given birth! I glared at her with exhausted eyes of envy. What did I do wrong? Why wasn’t I glowing? Why hadn’t I brushed my teeth?
And why was Pearl-Earring-Girl staring at me? All of a sudden her pretty little face scrunched into a tortured little ball of confusion. She wouldn’t stop staring as her expression slowly morphed into one of pure horror. What was she looking at?
And then I realized. My crotch. She was looking straight at my crotch. In my exhausted and frazzled state I hadn’t realized that my nightgown had ridden up past my knees and I was now flashing this woman my oh-so-stylish, white-mesh underwear and hospital-grade mattress-sized pad. I quickly covered my knees with my sweater and instantly felt a need to pay for this woman’s PTSD therapy. It probably would have been awkward for me to console her, so I did what any new mom of six hours would do: I instantly forgot about it the moment I looked down at my wiggling pink newborn who was desperately trying to find his food-source.
Since this experience, there have been many more embarrassing situations as a result of motherhood: I’ve had strangers gawk at me as I awkwardly breastfed my son in the car while he’s strapped into his car-seat. I’ve had farts that surprised me. I’ve peed my pants. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade these moments for picture-perfect fairytale stories, because fairytales are overrated and real life is much more amusing!
So the next time you look at someone’s Facebook page that is filled with perfectly filtered photos of them laughing and blowing bubbles with their kids, just remember; they likely wore mesh-underwear at one point too, or have had sneezes that result in surprise urination. The only unfortunate thing is, most people won’t share this information in a status update. Unless you’re me, and you’ll take it a step further and publish it in a national magazine. I do this for you folks. So you feel less alone. Here I am, completely exposed. I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours. #ThisIsRealLife #LetsShareTheGoodStuff.
Mom of two Jen Warman is a TV writer by day, and blogger and stand-up comic by night. She also loves cereal.