Today call me embarrassed, although my kids would argue embarrasSING is more accurate. Just because I like to croon at the top of my lungs and car-dance in the front seat to Pink when I’m dropping Jack and Karly off at school. Please. They don’t know what true humiliation is.
So for their sake (Kids? You’re welcome!) I’m devoting a post to moments from my past that were far worse than having your mom shout, “So raise your glass if you are wrong in all the right ways!” with the windows down. In her pajamas. And slippers. What.
As a teacher, I’ve endured every embarrassing cliché one might imagine befalling a human being who stands before one hundred-twenty high school students each day:
- Zipper down.
- Hair sticking up.
- Booger in nose.
- Shirt buttons undone.
- Pit stains on blouse.
- Chalk streaks across butt.
- Pen smears streaking face.
- Food between teeth (extra-credit for green).
- Fart sounds from chair. I swear. It was the chair.
And the final submission – in all caps –
- MOTHERHOOD MISHAPS.
Yes, to my mamas out there who have been or who are currently pregnant, trust me when I say having your water break in the frozen food section of the grocery store is small potatoes compared to the trials I suffered during the process of growing and feeding mini-people with my body.
So I’m going to share a few favorites and let you decide which situation wins (like Us Magazine’s Who Wore it Best, except not. Because when there are only two celebrity pictures to compare, the caption should read “better,” and also everything I wear generally looks Worse.)
Ready to cringe? Consider yourself warned.
Situation # 1:
I’m sitting in a circle with my American Lit class reading The Crucible out loud. My students are nailing the roles of John and Elizabeth Proctor. And oh, yeah. I have to pee. Urgently.
But we’re in the midst of an emotional, thematically relevant scene, I tell myself. You can wait five minutes for the bell.
Then suddenly? I can’t wait.
“Sorry! I’ve gotta go,” I say, a tiny bit embarrassed. When I stand, the full weight of the baby crushes my bladder and I feel a slow trickle of horror that’s unfortunately NOT my water breaking. I try to keep my legs crossed as I hobble out the door.
You’re in a maternity dress, I think. They probably don’t know. That you pretty much peed yourself in a room full of teenagers?
Oh, Julie. Believe me. They knew.
Situation # 2:
The Bladder Assaulter has been born (Hooray!) and I’ve returned to the classroom (or my bathroom, as I like to think of it). I’m a working mom who’s not only breastfeeding but also determined to prove the continued excellence of her teaching. So I work the whiteboard like nobody’s business. I explicate poems! Create Venn Diagrams! Outline expository essays!
I’m back in the saddle, don’t you see? (!) That’s when the rise and fall of my arms across my chest elicits a familiar tingle. Then a swelling. Then release. And my milk lets down in a room full of teenagers.
Maybe they don’t know, I think, rushing across the classroom to slip a blazer over my dripping, stained sweater.
Oh, Julie. Believe me. They knew.
Situation # 3: IwillnotleakIwillnotleakIwillnotleakIwillnotleak. To that end, I lug a heavy-duty Medela Double-Sided Breast Pump to school. It’s more expensive than my car but it milks me like a dairy cow on my lunch break so there’s that. I simply lock my classroom door, turn off the lights, attach myself to the suction cups and Go. To. Town.
Until the assistant principal assumes my class is empty (lights out, door locked, what could possibly go wrong?) and opts to use his Master Key to “leave this note on Julie’s desk.”
I couldn’t even pretend he didn’t see my nipples stretched into twelve-inch tubes. Or the ten ounce bottles of Jacks’ breakfast dangling down the front of me. At least the rhythmic grind of the pump drowned out his screams of terror. Or were those mine?
Either way, I ask you to be honest. Is singing “If you’re too school for cool” really that embarrassing?
And also, on behalf of Us Magazine:
Who Milked it Best?