It’s said that the olfactory sense is the one most closely associated with memory recall. Even seventeen years into parenthood, I can still remember each of these smells distinctly. All I have to do is look at a photo of one of my kids as a baby or toddler, and these scents come wafting back.
Some of them, I wish I could smell every day. Some of them, well, not so much.
20 UNMISTAKABLE SMELLS OF MOTHERHOOD
1. Newborn Baby Head
The best, most solid proof that there’s a heaven.
2. Clean Diapers
Mmmmm…that fresh combination of optimism and denial.
3. Baby’s Breath
Actual breath of a baby, not the plant—but you see why the plant got its name. SO SWEET.
4. Spit-up “Cheese” in Baby Neck Creases
Or, in the case of our babies, Chunky Thigh Rolls. NOT SO SWEET.
5. Exclusively Breastfed Baby Poop
Why do I suddenly crave buttered popcorn?
6. The First Post-Solid-Food Poop
Making you wonder why you ever decided to start feeding them solid food.
7. Toddler Poop after a Blueberry Binge
Yes, I know. Poop three times in a row. Welcome to motherhood. But seriously, how does it still smell like blueberries coming out??
8. The Wet Diaper You Forgot Was in the Diaper Bag
ACK. GAH. For the love of all that is holy, do I have any nose hairs left?
9. Pumped Breastmilk that’s Gone Bad
WAAAAAAHHHHHHH! Smells like wasted time and energy.
10. Soggy Cheerios
Surprising, perhaps, but you can smell them right now, can’t you?
11. Milk + Carseat + Hot Summer Day
No dairy in the car—don’t learn this rule the hard way.
12. Your Kid’s First Bad Breath Morning
The antithesis of baby’s breath. Saddest. Day. Ever.
13. Sweaty Kid Head
The antithesis of Newborn Head Smell, and reason enough to postpone sports as long as possible.
14. Ripe Kid Butt
I assume this doesn’t need clarification.
15. The First Time You Pick Up a Kid’s Undies off the Floor and Smell Them to See if They’re Clean—and They’re Not
16. The Pediatrician’s Office
Well-child visits for three kids, plus sick visits? I know that sterile smell like the back of my hand.
17. Wet Snowboots
I suppose this is only for us northern parents. Sweaty, wet snowboots—especially if they’ve been handed down from one kid to another. Kinda like a wet dog, but smells like kids and winter nonetheless.
18. Tween B.O.
If you’re not there yet, oooooh it’s coming. And it’ll slap you square in the face when it arrives.
19. Freshly Bathed Child, Any Age
Ahhhh. All is right with the world again. Why can’t they just stay this way forever?
20. The Smell of Snuggles
Each kid has their own delicious scent when they’re clean and curled up in your lap, don’t they? Even when they have their sweaty heads and grody B.O., it still smells like motherhood.
What smells did I miss?