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One thing I know I never really knew to prepare for coming into motherhood was the new ways in which I would use my sense of smell.

No longer just to smell lovely roses and jasmine on a spring walk, a new perfume from my darling husband, or perhaps the smell of a delicious dinner almost ready……….

No No, because you see….

Spring walks are less about taking in the atmosphere and more about keeping my 3 yr old safely on the path, reminding him to stay away from the road on one side of the path and telling him to stop picking the neighbours roses on the other side.

Perfume is now reserved for special occasions as opposed to daily use… and while I could probably resume my regular sprits of luxurious fragrance, the years of pregnancy induced nausea and vomiting, followed by babywearing and breastfeeding- where I didn’t want to leave my baby smelling like Britney spears Fantasy (oh so delicious is Britney spears fantasy), have trained me to omit this part of my ‘grooming for the day’ routine… of many grooming aspects omitted I will admit.

And well, delicious dinner cooking- is often replaced with overcooked or undercooked dinner– not quite prepared properly in the midst of the ‘witching hour’, and even if it did smell delicious- having a moment to pause in the delight of my success is inevitably lost within the distraction of mess and tantrums before my husband arrives to provide reinforcements.

But the lack of beautiful things to indulge the senses in, is somewhat replaced with other, well, not so delightful things we soon become very accustomed to…

Like not only knowing that there is a soiled nappy present in your midst, but even being able to recognize amoung other children, if your child is the offender. Because our nostrils have become tuned in to know our own childs scent… and even then, upon a closer smell, what kind of stool you will be presented with. And while for some it may present an ewww factor that I may know before looking whether this stool is going to be sloppy or formed, for some of us the accuracy of this skill- we feel deserves a medal. Move over Nobel prize.

The vomit smell, has to be the worst for me. I have been a nurse for many years now, im not unaccustomed to people vomiting, but the smell always churns my stomach, even when it comes from a sweet adorable little person. The worst though is when you can smell it, but cannot see it. This gorgeous baby has obviously silently regurgitated some milk, and unaware we carry on with life, but of course that distinct smell wafts past and now I am in hot persuit of its whereabouts. Is there a wet offensive patch on my childs clothes (3rd outfit for the day already mind you), or perhaps myself…my shirt, my bra, my breastpad, my pants, my shoes….yep gotta be thorough in this search. I was once cleaning a small toy area in our loungeroom and came across a little white splatter on my floorboards…. I reluctantly lent in and smelt it- yep vomit…. How long had it been there? I cannot honestly say… had I even cleaned that little corner this week…this month…. I cannot actually recall. Oh Florence Nightingale you would be ashamed of this little nurse.

Then there is the urine smell… when I walk into a room and the smell hits my nostrils. I first stand and assess the smell… is it a ‘baby with a wet nappy urine smell’, potentially more potent due to teething? A ‘My dog may have peed on the carpet somewhere kind of smell’? A ‘my child didn’t quite make it to the toilet kind of smell’? A ‘urine on the carpet, partially cleaned yesterday but clearly not quite conquered smell’?

These tools of assessment will help narrow my search, As I again grab out the carpet cleaner, and glance at the calender as to when it will be in the budget to get the carpets cleaned again. I feel like a sniffer dog on my hands and knees following the scent trail until I find the evidence, but worse than what I currently smell is the reality of my not finding it and then tomorrow the smell gets stale or even worse the smell is not dealt with promptly enough before a friend drop by which leads me to overcompensating for this smell with an overload of airfreshener that will 1/ appear suspiciously like I am concealing something from my dear friend (ummm correct) and 2/ hide the trail and set me back in my hunt for the puddle.

The clear winner for me though is when I found myself out at the shop, doing a must needed pick up of milk, bread and bananas (priority groceries to get me through to a big shop- hehe), I am standing in the que and I think to myself… ‘what is that smell?’ I subtly look around at my immediate environment- nothing is a miss, the person in front of me is dressed well and appears clean… I then sink in shame at the realization that that smell….. well…. That would be me! The smell of a mummy who hasn’t showered in 2 days and really should find the time to fit that in… oh the shame. Sigh. I promptly got myself home and into the shower- kids in tow.  oh the joys- hehe.

But you see…. I would still trade in my Dior for that vomit in the corner of my lounge room. It’s a hard season, it costs in unforeseen ways, but my children truly add more to my life than they take and I would never change the life I have because of them…. Smells and all!


Author Rachel

I am Mum to 3 little ones, aged 6,3 and almost 1, Wife to my high school crush, Midwife at our local hospital and Creator of 'Out of the Nest'. I hope more than anything to do all these things well and maybe empower and encourage others along the way. Though its quite the juggling act, and balls do drop ALOT, so I am happy to talk about that too. xx

More posts by Rachel

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Hannah Payne says:

    Really great piece, Rachel! Love to smell the tops of my toddlers’ heads. Probably my favourite smell of motherhood…. that and a home-cooked meal by hubby.

    • Rachel says:

      Oh yes the beautiful baby head smell… oh if I could bottle that up!!!!! Nothing more devine!

  • Debbie Knight says:

    Love it Rach!

  • Rosie Robilliard says:

    Absolute gold Rachel! Oh the adventures of sniffing out smells this piece brought to my mind: opening the car door to a faintly sweet baby poo smell, knowing full well there is a full nappy to attend to asap; wondering why my baby smells like curdled cheese, only to discover dried vomit in his hair ( where the rest was I have not yet discovered) and thinking that brown blob on the carpet might have been a child’s mislaid cake, only to discover it was a different brown substance, which upon closer inspection had been trekked the entire length of the house. Oh the books I could write about smelly adventures!

    • Rachel says:

      Oh maybe you should do a feature blog for me then.. 🙂 Good thing you found the ‘brown cake’ before someone else did though- hehe.