How Diaper Changes are Shaping Me into the Woman God wants me to Be
By Abby Watson
It’s Monday afternoon and I just noticed my two year old smells like pee. He should, I mean it has been (several) hours since I changed his diaper and it’s practically hanging down to his ankles. It isn’t a case of being too busy or distracted, or even neglect. It’s simply this: I don’t have the courage to do it. When he was a baby diaper changes were so easy! He just laid there sweetly and let me go through the motions. Today, diaper changes are like a wrestling match with The Hulk: kicking, screaming, and smashing included.
I try the ‘leg over the body’ maneuver, but it doesn’t work. Then I yell at him. Yell. Of course that doesn’t work either. Now I’m frustrated, and ashamed, and my heart is beating fast. Somehow I manage to secure the last latch on the diaper. Finally! He immediately stands up and rips it off with a single swoop of the hand. I pin him down for match number two. Then I try the pants. Each time I get a leg through he kicks it out again. I’ve reached my max. I’m certain there is actual steam coming from my ears. I throw the pants on the ground, slam the door, and shut myself in a different room. I lay down on the floor and cry. Like, ugly, angry sobs of shame and self-pity.
“I’m so tired of this!” I scream to no one: maybe God. I’m better than this! How has my life been reduced to yelling at and fighting with a two year old over Every. Single. Diaper change? I have serious skills that served me so well in the office all those years ago. Now, I can’t even change a diaper.
I let myself think these experiences are degrading – slowly destroying the woman I once was. You know those people who say motherhood is divine? A holy calling?
Did they even have children?
Interestingly, three minutes after our fiasco my two year old is no longer crying. He walks out of his room saying, “pants” and lays quietly on the floor while I finish what I started. He continues on totally un-phased by what happened, while I feel exhausted, sick, and angry the rest of the day. It’s like he says “Mom. That’s just a thing I do because I’m two. It’s no big deal and it’s over now so I’m happy.”
He forgets about it, but I make the diaper change, and my reaction, mean motherhood sucks. I’m a bad mom. My child is difficult and I should go back to work where I’m actually good for something.
But it doesn’t mean any of that.
It means that it’s hard to change my two year olds diaper and sometimes I get angry. It’s just a thing I do because I’m a mom and raising humans is not an easy task. It’s no big deal and I can move on now. Tomorrow I’ll bribe him with chocolate chips and diaper changes will be easier. See? I’m so creative and good at problem solving, and anyone who can get a diaper on The Hulk has some serious skills.
At the end of the day, a diaper change does not define me. It’s just something I do not who I am. I still have those same skills I used in the office. I still have my hobbies and interests and things that bring me joy. I’m a stronger woman because I have to figure out how to manage difficult mom things, and perhaps that is what makes motherhood divine. Every challenge as a mother is refining me into the woman God wants me to be. No more mom-guilt and poor-me attitude. I choose to let myself struggle and make mistakes, and then move ontrusting that it’s all part of my classroom experience called Life.