It was eight years ago, back when I only had one kid, and I was still learning this whole motherhood gig with every turn, every change of the so-called routine, every new trick learned by my growing daughter.

It was December, and I had traveled alone with my four-month-old girl across an ocean from South Africa to Michigan, to stand up in my sister’s wedding and introduce the newest member of our family to my relatives.

On our short visit, I had an opportunity to catch up with some friends from high school for breakfast.  The venue chosen was several steps up from McDonald’s, to say the least.  About seven or eight of us circled around an elegant table, chattering over our mini-reunion.  Only one other friend had a baby at that time, and her daughter was older than mine, sitting nicely in a high chair at the end of the table.

About halfway through breakfast, I had that sinking feeling that my sweet cherub had already disposed of her latest milk meal and left me a nice deposit in her pants.  Excusing myself from the table and the conversation, I carried her to the bathroom, already aware from the smell and feeling of her behind that our visit to the restroom might be a less than pleasant experience.

That level of enjoyment plummeted further when I entered the ladies’ room and discovered that it was not the type of establishment that catered for mothers with small children.

No changing table.


I surveyed my options, which were basically:

– the sink; or

– the floor.

Opting for a little more space, I entered a stall and laid my poor, unsuspecting girlie onto the cold tiles.

Ew.  I know.

Attempting to get this over and done with as quickly as possible, I unsnapped her onesie, and whipped open her Pampers, only to realize that this was no ordinary dirty diaper.

This was an all-out blow-out, the kind that went all the way up her back.

Yep.  Mothers, you know the ones.

There I was, in this fancy-schmancy restaurant, wiping sludge off my daughter’s back while she laid on a cold tile floor.

And then I ran out of wipes.


Could it get any worse?

Spoiler alert: The answer is yes.  Yes, it could.  And it did.

I scooped up as much as I could, including the diaper, opened the stall door and went for the paper towel dispenser, my only viable option at that point.

Walking back to the stall, I was greeted by the answer to my question of whether it could get any worse.

Not just a puddle, but a lake of pee, streamed out from the stall, covering the expensive tiles, seeping into the grout.

At that point, I just burst out laughing.  What else could I do?

The rest of the story is a blur.  I don’t actually remember what happened after that, except that my breakfast was ice cold and my friends had all paid their bills by the time we made it out of the bathroom.

And I remember that I definitely made sure I had *more* than enough wipes in my bag every time I went *anywhere* after that.

I always packed enough wipes, but inevitably I would be short on diapers, or burp clothes, or extra clothes.

Looking back, this story broadcasts the fact that I am completely incompetent on my own.  My own stash of baby wipes runs out far sooner than I can clean up my own mess.

Not only as a mother, but in life in general, I fall short.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

I need divine help.  Help that is far greater than a supply of paper towels hanging over a restaurant sink.

Help that comes and not only wipes away the mess but disposes of it “as far as the east is from the west.”

“Nothing in my hands I bring; simply to the cross I cling.”

To God be the glory, great things He has done.

Lisa-Jo Baker has a new book page on her blog for her book, Surprised by Motherhood.  She has invited mothers to link up what has surprised them most about motherhood.  To link up, click here.

This post is part of a series called Memoir Monday.  For more posts in this series, like the day I almost died, click here.

Photo credit: Bev Sykes