Annie Wilmott asks, who has your back when your toddler poos through their clothes? The answer, she discovered, was her community. And that has a lot to teach us about being a family-friendly church.
If you’ve read my previous blog posts you’ll know that I’ve written about poo and vomit before. It’s the reality of being a parent. There will be poo, and there will be vomit. It will get everywhere. And, you will have to clean it up.
Yesterday was one of those kind of days.
The little guy had been sick once overnight in the week but we’d put it down to teeth as otherwise he’d seemed fine and projectile vomiting seems to be a feature of teething for him!
I arrived at church and went to lift the little guy out of his buggy and as I leant over him I smelt that smell. You know the one. The smell of a dirty nappy that is so much worse than normal. The smell that means you know the poo is no longer all contained inside the nappy. I picked him up, grabbed the changing bag, and power-walked (holding the little guy at arm’s length) to a little room at the back of church where I could change him.
As I was stripping away ALL his clothes and using a billion wipes I realised I didn’t have a spare change of clothes with me. Isn’t it always the way? You carry spare clothes nearly every day and the one day you don’t is the day you desperately need them.
So, I got on the phone (whilst holding down my wriggly, poo-covered toddler), I called my brother and sister-in-law who had been at my house and were meeting me at church but they’d already left. Then, I started calling other Mum friends I knew would be coming to church who might have clothes with them. But, to no avail.
Poo clothes bagged up, I set my toddler (clothed only in a nappy) loose and wondered what I would do. He would have had the time of his life if he could have done church nearly naked. He’d like to live his life that way I’m sure.
Fortunately, I spotted another Mum friend through and managed to scrounge some clothing. My brother and another friend also called back to offer to go buy clothing. The support to help cloth my naked little guy was actually a bit overwhelming.
Of course, then less than an hour later, in children’s church the little guy did another poo and soaked through the next set of clothes. (Thanks to another Mum for changing him – that’s real community!) This time we bought some as we were off out to lunch and didn’t much fancy the lingering poo smell whilst we ate! (Although obviously we did leave him asleep for an hour in them first. In the list of baby/toddler priorities sleep always trumps poo.)
As we’d walked back into church from collecting our kids a friend and I laughed and he said, “at least it gives you more material for your blog”, and I really do hope the awful poo stories help you in your inevitable messy motherhood moments. But, do you know what, more than that it was actually the way that the whole poo situation highlighted the wonderful community I’ve become part of that was a big deal for me.
We’ve only been in our current home and at our church for 6 months, having not known anyone before we moved in and I am overwhelmed by the fact that I have already got an incredible group of friends who feel like family. So, thank you to all of my wonderful friends. I am so incredibly grateful to you.
When the poo soaks through every layer of clothing, who’s got your back? Who are your community, your family, your gang? And, whose back have you got? Let’s have each other’s backs, let’s be community and always be there for each other in the most scummy of mothering moments! Because, do you know what, motherhood is so much easier when we do it together. Plus, it also means our toddlers aren’t just running round church naked!
This post is republished from Annie's blog on all things faith, parenting and church: Honest Conversation.