Supermom Vs The Brown Lantern by Leslie Marinelli In the Powder Room

Supermom vs. The Brown Lantern

Faster than a speeding fungus! More powerful than a toilet clog! Able to leap tall boo-boos in a single bound! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No—it’s SUPERMOM! 


If my life as a mother of three were chronicled in a comic book, the super villains wouldn’t be Magneto or Lex Luthor; they’d be: Molluscum Contagiosum, The Ingrown Toenail, and that dastardly duo Nocturnal Enuresis & Mega Colon.

Simply put: motherhood is not for the faint of heart . . . or stomach.

Here’s how the movie trailer would begin:

Like a flash flood of foulness, evil strikes without warning.

Right? One moment you’re huffing that intoxicating new-baby scent, and the next you’re blasting regurgitated cheeseburger off a textured ceiling.

Face it, there IS NO parenting book or class that prepares you for verifying that your child did indeed “pass” the magnet she swallowed during a magic trick gone very, very wrong.

But fortunately, motherhood helps us acquire new super powers and gadgets we never dreamed we would need. My Supermom tool belt holds:

  • a snot-slurping bulb syringe;
  • a LiceMeister® comb;
  • and a commercial grade, 36-inch, hand-powered, steel toilet auger I affectionately call The Turdinator.

(No, really . . . you should see my recent purchases on Amazon. It could be a teen abstinence campaign.)

But even all those tools were no match for the time my kindergartener and my dog got matching gang tattoos that read “Ringworm-4-Evah!”

There’s only one thing worse than a cross-species fungal epidemic in your home: ringworm with a side of Rotavirus.

Oh yes, we were ALL nibbling on Saltines and sipping Pedialyte mojitos that week.

As soon as the worst of it had passed, we noticed Ike the dog’s belly rash getting larger. The poor guy was miserable and clearly needed medical attention.

My husband and I flipped for it. I lost. But we both agreed our 5-year-old should come along just in case the vet wanted to see the two cases of ringworm side-by-side. (Jealous yet?)

Unfortunately for the good people of Forsyth County, she was also my child at that time voted Least Likely to Follow Directions.

Folks, I hadn’t even crossed the building’s threshold when every creature within a three-mile radius was assaulted by an indescribable cacophony coming from the retail corner of the waiting room.

There she was, my 5-year-old daughter, repeatedly squeezing THREE life-sized rubber chicken dog toys . . . IN EACH HAND.

Yes. Really. I’m telling you, a marching band of boozy bagpipers is lower on the decibel scale than my child’s impromptu poultry orchestra.

Instictively, my big Black Lab sprinted toward the noise, flying me behind him like a human kite to my child and her rhythmically squawking chicken-hands. I slammed on the breaks, growled “NO” to one, “SIT” to the other, and “DROP IT” to a frightened elderly woman extracting a taser from her purse.

Miraculously, they all complied.

But, wait . . . there’s more.

Cue the vet. Make that the very handsome vet.

He was tall, with sandy brown hair and dimples in both cheeks. We locked eyes for a fleeting moment over introductions and he smiled—at ME. Listen, for a woman who’s been called “Sir” by various retail clerks more times than I care to admit, it was pretty magical.

I was basking in the afterglow of his attention when he began to examine the circular rash on Ike’s belly.

“Any vomiting or diarrhea?” he asked.

And before I could even form the words, my daughter blurted, “YES! Both my baby brother AND MY MOMMY have diarrhea today.”

The last thing I remember before my head hit the floor . . . was the look on that poor man’s face. It is a sight I will never unsee.

A few months later, Dr. Stinkface and I were reluctantly reunited after Ike the dog swallowed the Christmas popcorn garland—threaded needle and all.

“Sir,” he began, cautiously averting his eyes, “ . . . you’ll need to keep a close eye on your dog’s backside for the next 48 hours. If you see any string emerge—whatever you do—DON’T pull it.”

Meh . . . another day, another doo-doo.

But such is the epic battle known as Motherhood.

And as absolutely disgusting as it can be at times . . . fine—most of the time . . . I actually wouldn’t trade it for all the Clorox Wipes in Costco.

You see, I’ve come to believe that with enough time (and anti-fungal ointment), it’s these moments of abject humiliation and repulsiveness that eventually become the much needed bloopers reel.

Some moments take our breath away, while others just make us want to hold our breath—but they’re ALL part of the motherhood package, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And just like the magnet that traveled through my daughter’s digestive track seven years ago . . .

 . . . this too shall pass.


Leslie Marinelli is a writer, wife, mother of three, toilet humor aficionada, and transplanted Pittsburgher trapped in the suburbs of Atlanta. She’s the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of In the Powder Room, the creative force behind the award-winning tell-all mom blog, The Bearded Iris, and the editor and co-author of In the Powder Room’s hilarious bestselling anthology, “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

Keep the conversation going...



  1. says

    So funny! God, motherhood can be so gross. I like the idea of the icky stuff being the “bloopers” – what a positive way to think about it. 😉

    PS: I find it hard to believe that your beautiful self has been called “sir!”

    • says

      Oh honey – so many times it has become a running joke in my family. You’ve only seen me all spruced up at a conference. My normal everyday look is mostly unshaven Ice Road Trucker with a side of 1980’s bag lady chic.

      • Steph says

        I’m sooo glad you’re back! I’ve missed your posts!

        Your Ice Road Trucker comment made me think of the time our family stopped for a potty break at a truck stop on a long road trip from Memphis, TN to Columbus, OH. While my husband put gas in the car and bought nutritious truck stop snacks, I took our then 4 year old daughter to the restroom. As we were walking in, a very robust, trucker-type woman walked out. My sweet daughter said over her shoulder, “This is the LADIES room!”


  2. Cassidy says

    I’m a new mother to be, and my aunt seems to randomly find THE funniest sh.t ever! Yours, just made the top of my list with ‘the turdinator!’ Basically, that’s something that would come out of my mouth, so in other words … you’re my hero. Outspoken kids, pop corn threaded butt dogs, and all. I applaud you and your awesome sense of humor.

    • says

      Thanks Gina! Definitely not just your house. (Unless it’s just your house and my house…in which case, we should probably keep the fungal infestations on the DL.)

  3. says

    Good Lord. Sounds like you had a pooper reel in addition to your blooper reel.
    Hilarious. I hope your dog is ok now. Oh and your family of course.

  4. says

    It’s like we’re sisters. The piece I read for LTYM Denver is titled ” Ringworm and other circles of life”. I’m willing to bet that we were the only two women talking about fungus on stage. In other news, I was probably the only bride in history to worry that I had contracted ring worm from the barn cat 5 days before my wedding. Because that is my life. And also, I too have been mistaken for a male many times- always when I fail to apply makeup.

  5. says


    Oh, sweet Jesus…what a look on your face that must’ve been!!!

    You and that family of yours is awesome! Between this and Bucket Head and the poop story I remember from a while back…y’all could be a Thursday night sitcom!!

    • says

      Yes, she truly did, and I died a thousand deaths that day. Which poop story? (Because there are so many, I get confused.) And yeah…that Bucket Head. I’m amazed he doesn’t already have his own show! Thanks for being here Carrie. I always look forward to your comments!

  6. Erin says

    Wow, that’s some poop going on…! Our house (thankfully pet-free) usually only has puking.. my son can puke at will (when he’s mad, sad, coughing or laughing) The worst is when he pukes up his lunch at school because he’s laughing to hard. The nurse doesn’t send him home anymore, she knows he’s not sick… but he pukes into his thermos, seals it and brings it home. Doesn’t say a word, just puts it in the sink for me to open… oh God the smell of stale, warm vomit… you can’t even imagine!

    • says

      HOLY CRAP, ERIN. You just won the Mom Prize! NONE of my stories can compare with this. One of my kids has a super sensitive gag reflex. His dentist makes us bring him first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. He used to barf in the cafeteria once in a while, but always on the floor…never in a thermos. I’m now imagining your kitchen to be like the pie eating contest scene in Stand By Me. My sympathies!

    • Tina says

      I just died laughing! Omg, that tops everything I’ve heard yet and I have 3 kids of my own.

  7. says


    You have such a way with words! Being a dog lover, I do know all the strange and crazy stuff that happens with them. One of our pups loves to eat pine combs in the backyard. Talk about getting a nasty infection that is nasty! Whewww!

    Funny thing is, most of this stuff, which you eloquently described, will be funny memories sometime in the future. :)

    Thanks for helping us to not be so serious in life and have more fun!!


  8. Kimberlee says

    I no longer feel so bad about the time I asked a friend of mine to watch my children (for the first time) and while watching a movie my youngest girl pokes her and says, “Here, take this.” My friend of course takes the small item while saying, “Sure honey, what is it?” The reply….” A booger.” Thank you so very much for making us feel less alone!!!

  9. says

    HOLY BALLS! You, “Sir”, are hilarity personified. I guffawed *at least* three times. MAN I wish I could have made it to The Strand to see you read this. Thanks for putting onto the interwebs what the rest of us are thinking. My hat’s off to ya!

  10. says

    Oh my goodness I’m laughing so hard I can hardly type! “NO, Sit and Drop It” had me laughing at the thought of the look on their collective faces. They probably all three obeyed all three commands without even thinking about it. I can just hear all the assistants laughing after you left, and probably before! Thanks for sharing.