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It Ain’t a Shame

Mothers have a bond like no other. For some of us, it might have started with the act of childbirth, which is beautiful and magical but essentially redefines our sense of dignity and modesty for the rest of our lives. For others it may stem simply from the task of raising children, from the early days of projectile vomiting to the later days of living with teenagers who think we’re complete morons.

Whatever the reason, mothers have a bond.

Don’t get me wrong; fathers are cool, too. You know you are. There are more than a few who are quite comfortable buying tampons or whatnot; I’ve just always gotten the sense that they are as not as interested in talking about these tasks as they may be about performing them. So when it comes down to the real nitty-gritty, I’ve found that moms have a connection like no other.

This became abundantly clear to me after my recent back surgery. Little did I know that the back pain itself and the embarrassment associated with my 7-year-old tying my shoes would not be the only issues; evidently the pain medicine that gets you moving in some areas also stops you moving in others, if you catch my drift. I was at a loss as to where to turn. Then a friend came over, a mom.

“Well, if the fruits and veggies and stool softeners aren’t working,” she said without batting an eye, “you may need laxatives--or you might want to try suppositories. I had to use them on my son when he was younger and they worked great. Just make sure you’re married to a bathroom!”

And this from another friend, a mom who’s also caring for an elderly parent: “I just picked up some fiber powder for my father-in-law. He swears by it--if you can get past the smell!”

Do you see the trend here? We have no secrets. Mothers share shamelessly, because we know there is no shame. Embarrassment, maybe. Shame, no.

And it’s a good thing, too, because otherwise we’d all be suffering in silence, wondering if anyone else has ever gone through what we’re going through or if we’re just really the worst parents that ever lived. Do other people’s kids get molluscum? How about lice, or plantar warts? And the answer is yes, yes and yes. Of course it is. They get those things and more.

Once we start sharing this kind of thing, it’s amazing what comes out. The floodgates are opened over a night of bunko or purse parties or even walking the dog. One woman’s eyebrow is higher than the other. Another’s left foot is a half-size bigger than the right. Another’s afraid that pretty soon her beard is going match her husband’s. No, wait, sorry. That one’s me.

And then there are the all-time favorites, the pee-your-pants stories. I would argue that a mother has not lived until she has peed her pants in public at least once. To those of you who think you’re alone in this one, I would suggest getting together with some girlfriends and opening this particular Pandora’s box. I would not suggest, however, doing so on a trampoline.

So many of these issues can be sources of shame, if left alone. When shared, however, they return to what they were in the first place--stories of humanness. I’ve decided that it’s not necessarily misery that loves company; it’s simply the fact of our being that loves it. Company validates us, and helps us to remember--or maybe even realize for the first time--that we’re not alone in our experiences, good or bad. Many others have been there and done that and lived to tell.

So when you need help with something personal or private or just plain embarrassing, find a mom. More often than not, she’ll be willing and able to give you the straight, uh, poop.

Maggie Lamond Simone is a book author, award-winning writer and mother of two living in Baldwinsville. Reach her at maggiesimone@verizon.net.

© Family Times: The Parenting Guide of Central New York