Chicago mom: Why I keep an emergency pair of scissors near the nursery changing table

New parents make mistakes. That’s just the way it is. We’re tired rookies still trying to figure out what we’re doing. My biggest mistake: spending way too much time and stress on trying to save poop-stained onesies.

Some babies have crazy blowouts. You know the kind that go up to their necks and down in between the toes of their footed jammies? My first and third children were these types of babies. I always kept a onesie on them to protect their clothing; sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

With both of them I dealt with multiple blowouts, endless outfit changes and laundry soaking next to the washing machine, every day.

I developed a level of comfort with poop that I truly never thought to be possible. I’ve had it under my nails, in my hair and on my shirt. I have distinct memories of spending a lot of time at the changing table stressing over how the heck I would manage to change yet another messy diaper.

I would stand over my son in my sleep-deprived haze, overwhelmed by new motherhood. After giving myself the pep talk: “Just take it one step at a time,” I’d start cleaning him off, then flip him over, before slowly rolling the onesie up his back. He’d squirm, scream, cry and wiggle as I’d struggle to pull it over his head – no doubt getting poop on the back of his neck and under his arms. Then I’d soak the onesie for a week and wash and rewash it to get out a stain that would never go away. All of that work for a onesie that costs so little and would end up sitting at the bottom of his drawer, never to be worn again.

When he was around two years old and those blowout days were behind us, a friend mentioned that her son had the kind of diaper messes that “just makes you pull out the scissors.” Huh? Scissors? I asked what she meant. “You know, the scissors . . . So you can just cut off the onesie instead of trying to get it over their head.”

Wait. A. Second. How, in my haze of having a first baby, didn’t I think of this? How did my mommy brain lead me to put all of that stress, time and effort into saving a little piece of fabric?

I realize I’m a lucky person. I can afford to dispose of a few onesies. I realize that encouraging people to throw away onesies is wasteful to a certain degree, but my time and stress level are precious (as are yours) and they’ve been wasted on a few too many stained onesies. When Poop Machines #2 and #3 came around I had already strategically placed the emergency scissors near the changing table . . . High enough to be out of reach, of course. We don’t need to make another mistake.

So, new moms or even not-so-new moms, I give you permission to pull out a pair of scissors when the blowout is too intense and carefully cut off that onesie. And, I promise you, the first time will be liberating.

 Take a deep breath, pull it away from their body and slowly cut and then throw it in the garbage. You'll probably feel a pang of guilt, but get past it. Trust me, you'll feel relief soon.
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