A Romantic Post About Mental Health and Diarrhea. Enjoy.

I don’t want to brag too, too much, but I cleaned my room (mostly) and my bathroom (the clutter and a quick wipe-down, not the layers of dust, lint, and shame that have accrued in the corners), so I celebrated by taking a bath and reading a book and not being mean to myself for 5 minutes. 

It was a great bath, too. Oh, the kids interrupted — and so did the dog — but that’s the Mommy Bathtime Standard in these parts, so no worries. Besides, who doesn’t love lying naked in the tub whilst arguing with a hormonally muddled and enraged child hovering above you?

“Mom, there is NO BREAD even though you PROMISED you’d BUY BREAD. ALL I ASK FOR IS BREAD. That’s all I want. ONE piece of toast. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? If I was old enough to drive to the store to buy the bread myself, I WOULD DO IT, but I CAN’T, so I rely on you. I RELY ON YOU FOR BREAD, MOM.”

“I did buy bread…”  “No, I’m not going to get out of the tub to show you where, specifically, I put it…” “Um… because THE BREAD IS IN THE PLACE BREAD USUALLY GOES and HAS GONE for the TWELVE YEARS you have been alive in this house…” “Well, contrary to your vehement opinion otherwise, it is not too much to expect you to USE THE EYEBALLS IN YOUR HEAD to locate it ALL BY YOURSELF even though there was no bread there when you looked three days ago.” 

It was bliss, I tell you. Bliss. But less because of the fun convos with my precious babies and more because I discovered a whole pile of fancy bath stuff under the sink. 

Friends, I used to save Fancy Things for a Special Occasion. Candles. Lotions. Perfume. Bath salts. Pretty soap. The Good Dishes. You name it, I saved it, hoarder style, until a day I reflected on the life and death of my friend Gloria and realized Life is the Special Occasion I’d been waiting for, and burning candles in celebration of breath makes more sense than hiding them in the cupboard like I’m not worthy of wax and string and fire. 

But I haven’t cleaned out the junk in my bathroom for years. YEARS. So I didn’t remember what I’d squirreled away in the cavern below the sink with the poorly painted drywall and the dust-coated pipes. Finally, after unearthing paint cans, and ant poison, and crumbling make-up — after finding inexplicably gummy bobby pins, three broken curling irons, a pregnancy test, two expired condoms I gave to my children to use as water balloons, and seven kinds of cleaner we’ve never used — I reached the far back corner. In that corner was a sturdy red gift box. And in that box were bath sachets. Bath “tea” to be exact. Like softball sized tea bags full of yummy, smelly bits. Lavender. Mint. Cloves. Tea leaves, obviously. And they were all tagged aspirationally with words like Pampering and Relaxing and Invigorating.

I don’t remember whether I received them as a gift or bought them intending them for someone else, but, either way, they were past their “use by” date, which was sometime around 2012, and my choices were toss them or use them. I mean, they had clearly lost some of their scent, but, in a Woolsey House Miracle, they’d stayed dry and clean, so I put them by the tub.

When I took my Victory Bath, I tossed in Pampering, and I was pleased when the lovely, mild scent of lavender wafted from the tea-infused warm water. Sure, it was a little Boston Tea Party-ish, soaking in a beverage. And yes, the adhesive that held the bag closed gave out after a few minutes, spreading potpourri into the tub with me so I had to fish out the bulk of it before it fully steeped. But it was also nice. And I did feel pampered. Despite the bread conversation. Which is the goal of, like, every mama I know. A minute of peace amidst the chaos. Treating ourselves like we deserve intentional care. Giving zero effs about bath product expiration dates.

I did feel pampered in my tea bath.

Until Gregory Woolsey came in.

And looked at me.

And looked at the bath.

And looked away.

And looked back in a rapid double take.

And said, “Beth?” He waited to get my attention. You know? He waited until we made Eye Contact like he was checking for pupil dilation. And then he asked, “Are you… sitting in diarrhea water?”

Which is when it occurred to me. 

I was bathing in tea. Which turned the water a sort of translucent brown. And bits had broken loose from the bag so there were floaties. 

It looked EXACTLY like I’d Soft Poopied in the tub. Where I’d remained. Casually reading a book. Up to my neck in my own filth.

Y’all, I was offended for 3 seconds. This is how far I got, “How could Greg even THINK I would POOP in my own bath wat….” 

And then I remembered I don’t have the best track record RE: sitting in my own soft poopies. And I also am not, technically, the very most sane human, and we’ve missed a few, teeny, tiny mental illness relapse indicators in the past

All things considered, it’s probably best he checked. 

After all, nothing says I Love You like making sure your partner’s not soaking in her own diarrhea. 

Waving in the dark,





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14 responses to “A Romantic Post About Mental Health and Diarrhea. Enjoy.”

  1. My husband and I are preparing to move cross country. On mother’s day my husband moved out, leaving me alone with 2 kids for 6 weeks (until the end of our excruciatingly long school year). My son keeps crying at school. I needed a laugh. Thank you!! Waving in the dark.

  2. I HAVE been in a diarrhoea bath before. We all got vomiting diarrhoea, and after sitting on the toilet with the microwave rice cooker in my lap (every available container was in use) I thought maybe a nice bath might help me feel a bit better. Of course my daughter, then about 5, insisted she had to have a bath with me, and I was too weak to argue. Laying in the bath, I felt the lurching that made me grab the rice cooker, but the spasms made the other end start back up too, so I’m in the bath, trying to say ‘get out! POO!!!’ In between violently vomiting. It was too late, we were both covered in it, and this is the kid who will NOT have a shower, so I had to make her stand, naked and cold, while I scrubbed and disinfected the bath so she could clean up. There’s nothing relaxing about diarrhoea water,

  3. Oh my gosh, you are so funny =) AND good for you, taking time to pamper yourself… and bread buying…plus cleaning!

  4. Bless you my friend—we all needed your take on life today. I read after cleaning up the dog poop in my living room.

  5. I went to bed with a sore throat and ear ache and woke up this morning feeling, well, let’s just say ‘depleted.’ So to get to laugh, out loud, on a morning where I’m wondering how I’m going to get through an afternoon of work, is a true gift. Thanks, Beth. (sorry for all the commas)

  6. Oh my, Oh MY! I’m sitting in a cafe avoiding working on my book and giggling away at your post! It’s just too real. As real as it gets. From a mom seeking peace while cleaning out the long built up under sink crud, (Were did you find the courage to go there! It’s scary “down there!”) to the ranting tweener who can’t find what’s under their nose, to the confused hubby watching his wife bliss out in diarrhea water! Sigh :). You are not alone in your wacko world. I can relate. Totally!

    PS. Have you read: “How to Blog a Book,” by Nina Amir? I would read your book and I would gift it too! You write wonderfully and from the heart.

  7. You are so awesome. YES, you are special and should use your special treats. I can relate. And Greg is awesome for checking on you in such a manner. Kudos for you getting a bath for a moment’s peace and here’s hoping you got a few pages of the book read!
    My eldest gave me a virus for mother’s day so I slept most of the day away, but I’m doing better, and it’s only a flesh wound, I ain’t dead yet. 😉 Virus sucks, but sleep was nice, and hey, they let me do dishes and cook when I WAS awake, so I wouldn’t get all high-and-mighty. I take the calm among the chaos and work with it. Everyone is just doing the best they can with what they have, right? Right. ♥

  8. Yea, definitely laughing out loud at that image. And now your family knows what to get you for a late Mothers’ Day treat! Who know, maybe you will get to use bath treats before their expiry date. I certainly live in hope that, as my children get older, I will magically have a more peaceful life…

  9. I actually laughed out loud, for real, not the “slight smirk” that LOL seems to denote these days. My depression really needed that**, so thanks for sharing. Yep, Greg looooves you, for sure!

    (**My post-3-babies-in-4-years bladder did NOT so much need that. And of course the toilet was already occupied, by a preschooler who’d sworn she didn’t have to go and then wouldn’t get OFF because she WASN’T DONE, MOMMMMM. The mental calculations of “What will the baby get into if I make a break for the other bathroom?” were too strenuous before finishing the coffee. Yeah. You understand…)

  10. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is True Love, right there!

    (Dyyyying of laughter over here! Like, latte-out-the-nose laughter, which turns out is as painful as they all say — whoever They are — but also entirely worth it to read this first thing in the morning! You’re the best!!!)

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