Motherhood can be embarrassing. All shame goes out the window once you have a child. It usually starts in the delivery room, or at least it did for me. I went in with my hair and makeup done and thought that I was going to sneeze my baby out. At first I was so modest and tried to make sure that only medical staff could see what was happening ‘down there.’ After twelve hours of labour and 90 minutes of pushing, I wouldn’t have cared if Sidney Crosby was in the room, I just wanted the baby out! The makeup had melted off from sweating, my hair looked like a rat’s nest and 15 different people including my mother and maybe my best friend (though God love her, she’d never tell me otherwise) saw my hoo-hah and I didn’t give a shit.
And that’s where it all started. In the past year my daughter has exposed my breasts in the grocery store by pulling my shirt down as far as it could go, has lifted my dress up in line at the post office and has spit up on me in mysterious places. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I went out in public with spit-up down the back of my sweater or pants. Oh, not to mention I’ve leaked breast milk more times than I care to count.
But the ultimate embarrassment happened this past weekend. My daughter had these strange looking little marks on her arms and legs. At first I panicked and thought that they were tick bites. However, it turns out it was just ringworm. The name ringworm sounds disgusting because it implies you have worms, when in fact, you don’t at all. It’s just a skin condition caused by fungus that is particularly common in the summer as the weather tends to be humid and allows for the fungus to grow and spread at a quicker pace. So anyway, ringworm is not a big deal. I was told that I just needed to get an anti-fungal cream to put on the ringworm twice a day and it would heal within a week. I was also told that it is highly contagious and is passed through skin on skin contact and there was a pretty good chance I would get it too.
So, I set off to get the cream. Do you know what is recommended as an anti-fungal cream? Canesten or Vagisil. As in, the stuff you use for a yeast infection. Awesome. I joked to my friend over a facebook message before I headed out to buy it and said “I hope there aren’t any cute young guys on cash. It would suck to be checked out by a little hottie while I’m buying Canesten.”
I should also mention that it was hot as hell outside. Even though it was in the evening it was still around 28 degrees (Celsius). I was hot, sweaty and had on yoga pants and a t-shirt that had spit-up on it. My makeup had pretty much melted and smeared at that point and my hair was damp and frizzy from the sweat. I said out loud while I was driving “I cannot wait to get home and take a cold shower.” Suddenly I felt itchy and I looked at my arm. Oh for fuck sakes, now I have ringworm too. Fantastic.
Once I arrived at the store, it seemed pretty dead. The parking lot only had a few cars and I was able to get a front spot. I quickly checked the cashier situation once I got through the front doors and noticed it was all women working, which was a bonus.
I headed off to the pharmacy section and quickly looked for a tube of Canesten. It took me a few minutes to find it and as I was looking for it I noticed a sunglasses display that had a mirror on it. I caught a glimpse of myself and almost burst out laughing. I was an absolute mess. There were black rings under my eyes, my skin was blotchy, my hair was frizzed to the max and I had on sweaty clothes. I suddenly couldn’t wait to get out of there so I could get home and shower.
So, I head off with my tube of Canesten and start walking towards the cash. I noticed a guy out of the corner of my eye that looked familiar but I tried to avoid eye contact. I really didn’t want to be seen by anyone. Too late. “Katie??” a male voice said.
I paused. Do I answer or do I ignore? The store isn’t that big and if I ignore I will look like a huge bitch. I turned and looked, and there was my ex-boyfriend. He was standing there with a full shopping cart and of course he looked great.
“It’s been forever!” he exclaimed “how are you?”
Um, how am I? I’m hot, I’m sweaty and I’m standing in a store with a tube of Canesten in my hand. How do you think I’m doing right now???
“Oh, I’m great. Just out and about picking up a few things.”
Dumbass! You aren’t picking up a few things. You’re picking up one thing. And it’s the only goddamn thing you have in your hand. A tube of Canesten!
He smiled and said “So, how have you been? I heard you had a baby?” At this point I’m still not sure if he noticed the Canesten, so I just nod and said “Yup, a little girl, she just turned one.” I realized I hadn’t asked how he was so I said “how’s everything with you?”
Before he could answer an amazingly gorgeous brunette walked up next to him. He turned and looked at her and said “Well this is my wife.”
Of course it is. Of course the prettiest woman in here is your wife. With her manicured nails, flawless makeup and perfect hair. And I’m just standing here sweating my balls off with a tube of Canesten in my hand.
She was super sweet and said hello and that’s when I realized that my ex had noticed what was in my hand. He looked at it and his eyes lingered and then he looked away. I wanted to blurt out “It’s not a yeast infection!! It’s ringworm!!” Except I’m not exactly sure how much better ringworm sounds than a yeast infection. Especially if someone doesn`t know what ringworm is and thinks that I actually have worms.
I quickly ended the conversation. I had to get the fuck out of there. I paid for the Canesten and practically ran to my car. Once I got inside I turned it on, locked the doors and blasted the air conditioning and started to laugh.
Oh my God. Only me. Only my life. I looked at myself in the rear-view mirror and started to laugh even harder. I was a hot mess. I think I looked prettier after giving birth than I did in that moment.
Dear ex-byofriend; if you are reading this, you know who you are. I’m not sure if in that moment if you wondered if I had a yeast infection or ringworm? I don’t think one condition is more desirable than the other, but nonetheless, it was ringworm!
I hope I gave your evening a little bit of laughter and mystery. Despite all of the embarrassment, it’s the funniest thing that’s happened to me in months! Motherhood is full of surprises. Sometimes it’s good ones, like baby snuggles or your child saying ‘mama’ and sometimes it’s shitty surprises like leaky boobs and ringworm. And I can guarantee to anyone who is reading this that life will arrange for the good ones to happen when there isn’t another soul around and for the shitty ones to happen in the public eye.
After moments like that I am especially grateful for two things: chocolate and wine!