A few conversations this week have awoken me to the sad realisation that I’ve gone back on my word and am now as guilty as the next mum of Oversharing.
Oversharing usually occurs when the filter between the mind and the mouth takes a holiday. Many mothers and some world leaders (*cough* Lee Kuan Yew *cough* Paul Keating *cough*) suffer from this fate. By-products of oversharing include the deterioration of the Shame Membrane and Care Factor, and usually results in many grossed-out listeners who are not either mommies or world leaders.
For mommies, oversharing is almost always about bodily functions.
I went to my first mother’s group this week, and the first formal thing we ended up doing was going around in a circle and talking about our labour stories. Which basically got distilled into
- number of hours
- episiotomy or tearing
- c-section or au naturale
- epidural use
- aches and pains of recovery.
Each detail was outlined in loving, tender detail as if it were yesterday, each fanny scar a badge of honour. And it is, you know. At least for the first year, I reckon.
But it’s not exactly dinner conversation, is it. I hardly know these women – we hardly know each other – but here we were, trading stories about our lady bits as if we were discussing Julia Gillard’s latest hair-do.
It doesn’t stop there. TheOneWithFour recently came back from the Netherlands for a month-long whirlwind tour de friends. We met up for a super time over cakes and bikkies (I came with Sara Lee) but the only conversation that sticks in my mind about the day is The One about The Booger.
So here we were, two mothers, waxing lyrical about the crazy sense of achievement and satisfaction when you finally get that ball of gooey mucus out of your baby’s nostril.
You might know the one. Your baby’s been coughing and spluttering the whole morning and you can just hear it in her nose. But you just can’t get to it, and your baby can’t get to it, and it’s driving both of you absolutely nuts because she can’t breathe, and you can’t stand that she can’t breathe. Finally, you decide to grit your teeth and get that globule out even if it means two excruciating minutes of screaming baby.
Well. We talked about technique – baby cotton buds, screwed corners of tissue paper. We talked about the art of imitation – pretending to give your nose a blow so your baby might try to do the same. And then we talked about that golden moment – that carpe diem moment, where you manage to grab hold of the tiniest end of that glob of Disgusting, and very slowly puuuuuuuull the darn thing out like the longest thread of blu tack known to man, until the rest follows in a gooey ball and your baby’s nose is glob-free.
Two minutes of my life I’ll never get back, but it felt SO GOOD to talk about it with another mother.
But the most criminal thing I’ve done recently is to overshare with a non-mother.
Actually, I’m possibly doing it now, aren’t it. But there’s a difference. I’ve flagged it beforehand, so you know what you’re in for. This article – neon signposted, baby. So you’re getting what you came for. But it’s a completely different kettle of fish when you’re on Facebook and chatting to an Innocent.
One moment, I was typing happily about maternity clothes, the next I was detailing the trials of breastfeeding and how it gives you constipation. How I managed to segue from fashion to bowel movement (or lack thereof) is beyond me, but there you have it. Overshare. Wasn’t even gradual – it just happened. Like verbal diarrhea. Oops. Did it again.
And that’s when I knew I had crossed over and become One of Them. And I’m so, so sorry. I’ll try not to let it happen again but I know better now than to make promises.