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August 18, 2011

The Dignity in Diapers and Spit Up

I'm going to tell you a story about an acquaintance who was/is a work-outside-the-home mom:

This woman at work was saying she was not Stay At Home Mom material.  She used some unfortunate language (something about how SAHM's don't do things as important as what she does at work...)

She told the story of her 8 months home with her baby (now in his 20's) and how unhappy she had been.  She told the story of how she had begged her husband to let her go back to work.  

And then she said, "I mean, all I did all day is change diapers and wipe spit up.  Where's the dignity in that?  I wanted to do more important things with my life!"


Vincent is 7 weeks old.  I have 5 weeks before I report back to work.  Besides recovering from childbirth and bonding with my new baby, I have been filling the role of Stay-At-Home-Mom these past weeks. 

On a typical day at home with Vincent, I change around 8-12 diapers (some poopy, some not) and I wipe spit up quite a bit (we are just now switching formula to a "gentle" formula because we have determined that Vincent's tummy must be sensitive to regular milk-based formula).  

Today, for some reason the story of this woman popped into my head as I wiped spit-up for what seemed like that gazillionth time.  I was frustrated wiping that spit up.  I think most of the frustration came about because it had gotten all over my shirt (really...it was a LOT of spit-up) and shoulder and face.  So, I was blotting my shirt and shoulder and face with the burp cloth and then wiping Vincent's mouth and trying to keep it from getting on his clothes...all the while bemoaning the smell of the spit-up.  

And I thought about whether it was important that I wipe the spit-up.

I think it's important to Vincent that I wipe the spit-up.  

I also think it's important to Vincent that I change his diaper.

Those things might even be...dignified.

40The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’--Matthew 25:40

I'm currently beginning my 8th week of a 12-week stint as a stay-at-home mom.  This is the longest I have taken for maternity leave since I had Sarah (most of the time I've taken 6 or 8 weeks) so I'm getting a little more of a taste of what life might be like if I were to be a stay-at-home mom.  

I've pondered the importance of doing laundry, mopping floors, washing dishes, changing diapers, wiping spit-up, potty-training toddlers, changing sheets, scrubbing toilets, giving baths, carpooling to various activities, making and keeping dentist and doctor appointments, etc, etc, etc (goodness, stay-at-home moms do A LOT of stuff!!!!!)  I haven't even listed all the different kid-specific stuff I've had to do!

I've come to realize that it's all really important.  As a matter of fact, I get exhausted knowing that soon I must start working 40-hour work weeks back into my schedule.  Yikes!

It's also comforting to remember that I'm here to serve my children and that's what I am doing.  I try to honor God by being a good wife and mother.

And that's all very dignified.


  1. I think what your aquaintence meant by "there's no dignity in that" was "there's no recognition in that" and therein lies the problem.

    We've been consistently told since childhood that only those things which bring recognition are worth doing, so now, lo and behold, no one wants to clean poop off of butts and wipe spit up anymore.

    But you and I both know what Jesus says about seeking recognition, and that's why we have the grace of being able to see dignity in changing diapers.

  2. From someone who longs to wipe spit up and change diapers - I love this!

    (And before you ask/apologize - not one word you said here hurt me in any way. Honesty, wrapped in love, never hurts.)

  3. Thank you for this beautiful post. And Sarah's follow-up on Virtuouspla.net was wonderful.


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