She bends down, so her nose is practically at toilet seat level, with a quizzical, bemused look on her face. I sigh. Here we go. Again.
“But WHERE does it go? Mummy! I DON’T think you should er.. do that. But WHY have you put THAT in your ‘gina? What is it? Why does it go in there? What does it DO? Is it a plug? It looks like a mouse, doesn’t it, Mummy. Eurgh. That’s weird. Your periods are weird. REALLY, weallly, weaaaly WEIRD.”
From her reaction, you wouldn’t know that we pretty much go through this same rigmarole every bloody time I have my period. B, aged 4, is completely and utterly obsessed with my ‘time of the month’, while being equally weirded out by it. I don’t believe in closed doors in our home, and I think that the naked body should be totally normal to them. Not in a naturist, let’s-get-it-all-out-on-the-beach way, but you know a woman’s home is her castle and all that; strutting around in the buff is one of life’s greatest pleasures about being a grown up and having your own house, right?
However, liberalism can bite you on the arse when you have kids. Literally. There are no holds barred. They want to know about every orifice; and at some point, you can pretty much guarantee that something will get shoved into it – grubby fingers in your ears, Barbie’s foot up your nose, or spiky toenails in your bum-crack during a typical bed-invasion; yep – there are NO holds barred when you have kids.
My youngest daughter is obsessed with my boobs, and regularly talks to them as if they are her dearest friends. “Mummy!” she’ll exclaim with mock surprise each time, “Mummy, LOOK! Your boobies!” This is fine of course, totally natural, completely normal-body-normal blah blah blah until you are buying your brand new car, in the Evans Halshaw dealership, in a tense moment of signing papers for the finance with Darren the Slicky Salesman, when a little voice speaking louder and with more lucidity than she has ever spoken in her life yelps out: “MUMMY! Your BOOBIES are in there!” while shoving her hand down my top and grabbing onto my breast for dear life. Fabulous darling. Reassuring. Great conversation starter for many; not for Darren the Slicky Salesman who didn’t know where to put himself.
Pooing is an audience participation event nowadays, with four beady little eyes staring down, poised ready to say ‘goodbye to Mr Poo’ after I’m done, and if I’m lucky, the offer of a helping hand with the wiping. I know what you are saying, childless person reading this: CLOSE THE FUCKING DOOR, LOVE. Mwahahahaahahahhahaha. Hahahahaha! You NEVER GET TO CLOSE THE DOOR as a Mum. They scream, hammer, kick, tantrum, trash that door unless you let it open a crack, for fear those beady eyes are going to be coming at you mid-door instead a la ‘Here’s JOHNNY’ in the Shining. And have you tried to poo with that racket going on? All I’m going to say is: good luck, my friend.
If you are lucky enough to grab a bath, never plan to do it while the kids are still awake. Because you can bet your post-partum posterior that those tinkers will be stripped down to their knackers before you can shout “I just want some bloody PEACE and a bath on my own… please!” and have hopped into your bath, shoving you up to the tap end, toes in your hoo-ha, before you notice that all your luxury bath bubbles have dissipated because one of the little squirts have peed.
All mums (unless they are that mythical beast of the Well Groomed Mum) have a lot of body hair. Quite frankly, we don’t a time for shaving, depilating, threading or waxing unless there is a Legitimate Reason. Legitimate reasons for body hair removal include the monthly conjugal gathering, or needing to wear shorts/ skirt in summer outside of your own garden, swimming, or…well, that’s about it. So the frantic, 30 minute panic all-body-shave won’t be unusual to most mums when the kids beg to go swimming. The picture above, is the moment the bloody cavalry arrived in my bathroom, during one such session, and as you can see, they made their feelings as to scene that they witnessed Very Clear.
However, the lovely thing about being under this high level of intense scrutiny over your body and it’s functions is that you help to develop their own sense of normal body image. In a world where we are bombarded with fake images of the perfect form, and blue water is poured on period pads in ads, allowing them to see our bodies in all their bumpy, lumpy, cellulite-marked, hairy and bloody glory goes a long way to addressing the balance. It enables them to understand that the pictures are, well, just pictures, whereas a body comes in all shapes, sizes and with varying degrees of er…hair.
And this was proven, when just the other day, as I was talking with my husband about wanting to join the gym to lose weight, B looked up at with me with such horror on her face, and implored “but why Mummy? You aren’t fat. You are just perfect. You’re Mummy!”
About Kate Dyson
Founder of The Motherload®. Wife, mum to two girls, two cats and shit loads of washing in baskets that sit around the house waiting to be ironed. It never happens.
Hater of exercise, denier of weight gain, lover of wine.