It does not matter if you read the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting or any other parenting book ever written. Nothing can prepare you for those unexpected moments of sheer embarrassment that come with being a parent. I’m convinced there are even stages of embarrassment between parent and child and I’ve even gone as far as to name them.

Stage 1: The “P” phase

You hold your sweet baby in your arms, watching them sleep, knowing that all you want is good things for this little peanut. They can’t yet talk but they still possess 3 powers of embarrassment: poop, puke, and putting on the weeps (or more commonly known as crying). You know what I’m talking about.

Exhibit A (Poop): It’s bad enough having to change a poopie diaper, but when it breaches the diaper it’s a whole different ball game. Picture this: you’re in church for your baby’s baptism and have almost made it through the entire service without a hitch….ALMOST. You think your husband is going to have a kanipshin when your angelic little baby in the white baptism gown explodes out of every opening of her diaper while sitting on his lap. True story.

Oh no! What's this!?? GROSS!!! (Photo Credit: J. Corrigan)

Oh no! What’s this!?? GROSS!!! (Photo Credit: J. Corrigan)

Exhibit B (Puke): You’re dropping your child off at day-care, trying desperately not to be late for work (again) and then it happens. You baby spits up on you and with no time to go home and change you do what you can with a wet paper towel, hoping that you are the one who can smell the stench of sour milk on your clothes.

Exhibit C (Putting on the Weeps): Babies have this extra sense and know when you are just trying to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly and inconspicuously as possible. Your little one is still sleeping and you think to yourself, “Well that wasn’t so bad!” And then comes the squirming, eye-fluttering, yawning, a little bit of whining and then BAM! Full fledged “you must be pinching your kid” whailing. Of course there’s only one checkout counter open and the line of people in front of you is about a mile long. No one offers to let you go in front of them. (ALWAYS LET THOSE WITH CRYING BABIES GO AHEAD OF YOU. ALWAYS.) You contemplate making a mad dash out of the store with your screaming baby along with the shopping cart full of unpaid groceries. Then you realize you haven’t slept or showered in 3 days and your mug shot would just be plain old embarrassing and by this point you have already paid your due in the embarrassment department.

Stage 2: The “I’m Not That Innocent” Phase

Don’t let the title fool you, folks! They sure look sweet but that innocence of theirs sure can create some embarrassing situations.

Plotting their next move! (Photo Credit: C. Corrigan)

Plotting their next move! (Photo Credit: C. Corrigan)

My mom remembers a particular instance as if it were yesterday. It was actually about 27 years ago so that should tell you something! We were shopping in Bradlees (remember Bradlees?) and she felt a tug on her shirt. “Yes, Carly?” she said. “Mommy, why does that lady have a moustache?” I asked while pointing to a woman standing within earshot. Mortified by my question, my mom tries simply to ignore me. HA! What did I do? Why, I repeat my question over and over, louder and louder, until my mom is so embarrassed she grabs me and we walk to another section of the store.

I refer to this stage as “limbo.” They are not quite old enough to understand why their questions and comments might embarrass you or hurt someone’s feelings, yet too old NOT TO TALK.

Stage 3: The “Oh How the Tables Have Turned” Phase

This stage usually takes place during the teenage years when, just as the name implies, the tables turn. Yes, you got it. The parents are now the ones inflicting embarrassment! Whether it is your outfit, hairstyle, saying “I love you” in public, or just plain being in the same place at the same time with them, you now possess the power of embarrassment. Try not to let it get you down. In fact, I recommend embracing your new role. Just think of it as payback for stages 1 and 2!

Do you have an embarrassing story of your own? I bet you do… Please add a comment and share it with us!