In the past it has seemed to me that as a mother of small children it is somehow demeaning how often I find myself talking about, cleaning up, cleaning after, and defining words for all the waste products that come out of or off of our bodies. This sense of subjugation goes back to our culture’s deep-rooted prejudice that Mama work = shit work. Well, I’m trying to change that view and think of myself as being a custodian to and friend of our bodies. I’m trying to ask myself why I should agree with the thought process that the concepts, duties, and self-care of our bodies’ digestive and reproductive systems are demeaned or joked about in our culture. Eating when hungry? Fine. Showering when dirty? Absolutely OK. Shitting and wiping your ass? Silly, funny, or disgusting.
At least we moms have one another. In a gathering of Mamas no one is likely to publicly shame you by crowing “TMI!” when you talk about your child shitting her pants while putting a shift in at the naturopathic pharmacy (real example courtesy of the lovely Sara) or a lengthy discussion regarding the words one’s family uses to discuss our elminiations. See, if we Mamas don’t actually have similar stories to tell we know that we someday will and can listen intently to our provided peer-education. These are issues that, as it turns out, matter a lot in our lives and are going to inform our children on just how much pride, shame, joy, or disgust to feel about self-care.
So with that prelude (and warning those who are less enlightened than I in sharing these stories with one another), here’s my Mama BM story o’ the day. Today while at my farm workshare my 4-year-old daughter asks me for assistance to use the facilities (our composting toilet that on warm muggy days like today has a ripeness to it). First, she asks me to hold her nose for her while she pees (I decline). Then she sits on the pee side to do her thing and suddenly panics because “Poop is coming out!” (again, for those who don’t know, composting toilets have two chambers – one for pee and one for poo with corresponding treatment of plants / dirt). So we halt and move her over to the poo side. She settles in and then in a few seconds panics again and urges, “Mama, hold my punani!” * I’m thinking, What the … ? It takes me a while to realize that with the bodily cooperation to make poo she is also peeing, and she is concerned she’s not supposed to urinate on that side of the toilet. I laugh and tell her it’s OK to pee AND poo on the poo side. A bathroom-elimination logic that never would have occurred to me; as the mother of young children I find myself often going back to Square One on these issues.
* This word is parlance for “vagina” in Casa Del Hogaboom.