By TMoM Team Member Laura Simon

They say laughter is the best medicine, so if the day all my quarantine “mommy-ing” caught up to me will help you feel better, then it’ll all be worth it.

It all started at swim team practice.

It’s not like the old days where I dropped two – or even three – kids off at swim team practice and went to the fitness center to workout. Those were glorious days. No, now all three kids swim at different times…and different locations. One swims from 9-10 am in north Winston, one swims from 11-12 am, also in north Winston, and the last one swims from 2:45-3:15 pm…in Yadkinville.

We live in Pfafftown. So yeah, it hasn’t been ideal.

Swim team was one of the things we most wanted back after quarantine, and I’m so grateful for it that I quit my crying and got the kids where they needed to be. Their coaches are working in an impossible situation, and I’m so, so appreciative.

So I sit in my air-conditioned car with the cheap gas and the free hotspot and I edit teacher training courses for this new reality while my super verbal 5-year-old talks right in my ear. I’m incredibly privileged to have this work and also incredibly overwhelmed.

But my biggest stressor right now isn’t work…it’s the lack of public bathrooms. Seriously, we can’t use the bathroom at the Y while my boys practice because it’s closed. In one incredible moment, my five-year-old daughter learned to pee behind the dumpster at the Y. Both boys have peed in too many water bottles to count. One of said children brought his bottle of pee inside and set it on my kitchen counter. Bless his heart.

My only bathroom option is Target. And let’s be honest, I couldn’t go to Target on this particular day for two reasons. First, even entering the Target bathroom costs at least a hundred bucks. And two, I couldn’t leave quarantine puppy in the car in 97-degree heat because he might be a toothy nightmare, but I still love him.

So I dropped kid #1 off at practice at 8:50 and my bladder whispered, “Help me out here,” and I whispered, “Shut up. I’m going through the drive through at Starbucks because I have a gift card.” And I did.

During the hour-long break, we had to pick up something for our quarantine puppy (yes, we were one of the million families who caved with a quarantine puppy). And during the second hour of practice, I had to drive from north Winston to Lewisville to get a form signed for my husband who apparently can’t handle these things himself.

Practice is 50 minutes long. Drive time was 21 minutes. As long as the tech only took eight minutes to handle the form, it was doable. I dropped off kid #2 and headed to Lewisville. I still had to pee. In fact, thanks to my buddy Starbucks, I really had to pee. I told myself I’d swing by the house if the tech took less than eight minutes. She didn’t.

I still had hope. So much hope that I missed the obvious route back and had to go the long way. And I had so much urine pressing on my bladder  – which is apparently connected to my brain -that I unwittingly turned onto a road behind…a tractor. Is that not the most North Carolinian excuse for being late? I was stuck behind a tractor.

This gentleman meandered along at somewhere around 25 miles per hour in a 55. Not only was I going to be late to pick up my 8-year-old, probably scarring him for life, but my bladder was going to explode. I had passed the mild discomfort stage and moved on to crying and pounding on the steering wheel.

Bless his heart. I mean that in the most Southern way possible.

And so, I peeled into the Y parking lot on two wheels, nearly ten minutes late, and tried hard to make small talk with a mom friend while my eight-year-old took his sweet time getting into the car and quarantine puppy started eating my favorite sunglasses. I was sure I was developing a UTI.

When we finally left, I was relying on the breathing exercises I learned in childbirth classes and never used because they don’t work. Frankly, they don’t help for full bladders, either. We made it less than a mile and I broke. On two wheels again, I peeled into an empty church parking lot and skidded to a stop under the crepe myrtles near the back. While my kids gasped and asked what on earth I was doing, I grabbed my only empty cup (the Starbucks cup, of course), climbed into the back of the minivan, shut the door (a terrible mistake), pulled down my pants and started peeing into the cup.

Unfortunately, Starbucks seems to multiply in the bladder, and the cup wasn’t enough. I didn’t have another cup, so I threw a swim team towel underneath me. I soaked my pants, my underwear, and the towel while my boys delightedly peed in water bottles up front, my daughter asked impossible questions about LOL dolls, and quarantine puppy no doubt wondered if someone else could adopt him.

That’s when I realized that I couldn’t open the rear hatch from inside. I was stuck in the back of my minivan with wet, urine-soaked pants and a cup full of pee. I had to ask one of my boys to let me out.

He will, no doubt, need therapy.

On the upside, once everyone was shell-shocked and settled back into their seats – mine lined with an extra swim towel, thank goodness – we drove back home in silence. SILENCE. Probably stunned silence. There were no more tractors, but I drove a little under the speed limit anyway. To atone for the rage-driving up to that point. And also because I could.

I took a shower when we got home, changed my clothes, sprayed the floor in the back of the van (which, frankly, has bigger problems), and the signs of my quaran-morning all but disappeared. I’m only telling you because, frankly, I can’t be the only mom showing signs of complete insanity at this point and I believe in using my pain for the greater good.

It’s possible to be super grateful for the things we get back, while also being pissed that they aren’t the way they used to be. You can be positive all you want, but this reality still sucks. It’s hard. It’s harder than peeing your pants in the back of the minivan, and often a lot less funny. It’s going to take a lot more than a shower and some laundry to fix it, too.

But if you can laugh at my embarrassment, I think there’s probably still hope for you. And for me. And hey, if you do have to pee in the back of your minivan, be sure not to shut the hatch.

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