As any mom knows, moments of privacy are few and far between. For most moms, there’s just no such thing as being able to go to the bathroom by yourself, or take a relaxing shower without interruption. Mom is always needed most urgently when she’s taking that “me time.”
In my case, I’d love to blame this completely on my children for refusing to observe boundaries, but I think it’s my own fault as their mother. When my children were babies, I learned to leave the door open so that I could watch their every move. This not only ensured their safety, but kept me from losing my sanity when they’d take advantage of my absence to, say, spread flour all over the kitchen floor or free the bird just to watch the cat chase him. Okay…so we never had a bird or a cat, but you get the idea.
As my children got older, I’d spent so much time with the door open that – at some point – I had forgotten that the bathroom door was there because one was supposed to close it. And then, once I finally got to the point of closing the door, it never occurred to me to lock it. After all, a closed door means “In Use” or “Stay Out” or “Do Not Disturb.” Not in my house, I guess. In my house, a door is simply a suggestion…at least when Mom is in the bathroom.
Finally one day I thought I was getting smart and I began locking the door. “Finally I’m going to get some time to myself!” I thought. But that brief thought was quickly crowded out by the real commotion that was just beginning.
“Mom! Mom! Whatcha doing in there?” my youngest would ask.
“Mom! Where are you? Why’d you lock the door? Can you open the door so I can get my brush?” my daughter would call out, all the while jiggling the door handle.
Just when I thought I finally got them settled down and had them completely assured that I’d be out in only a moment, a piece of paper would come sailing under the door. “Honey,” my husband would say, “could you please sign this check so I can cash it?”
Seriously? Five minutes, People! Just five short minutes of privacy…that’s all I need. I promise I’ll come out if you just let me be!
These days, I’ve learned to give the kids (and the husband!) fair warning. “Okay, people! I’m going into the bathroom! I’ll be closing and locking the door! If you need anything, ask me right the second so that I can have a few moments to myself!” This doesn’t always work, but it does tend to help a little bit since they’re no longer taken off guard by my absence.
Yesterday afternoon was one of those days when I just needed a few minutes to myself. My 16-year old daughter was planning to have a house-full of people over as the kids prepared to leave for the high school’s sweetheart dance. I’d awakened at 8:00 in the morning and been power cleaning for a straight five hours, with errands in between. It was finally time for my shower. I was exhausted and just needed the time to myself.
“Okay, people! I’m going upstairs to my bathroom for a shower! I’ll be locking my bedroom door and will expect no interruptions. Please don’t come knocking on the door or asking for anything. Just give me fifteen minutes to take a shower and, when I’m out, I can address any needs you might have. Okay?” I said. They all assured me that they didn’t need anything and I felt optimistic that the coast was clear.
Wow! What a great shower that was! Those fifteen minutes probably became thirty, and not a single voice or knock on the door disturbed me! It was wonderful! I was so happy that I was mentally ticking off all the wonderful things I was going to say to them to let them know how much I appreciated their giving me that time to myself. I grabbed a towel and began to dry off, while walking from my bathroom into the bedroom. A movement in the corner of my eye caught my attention and I almost had a stroke! Sitting in the middle of my bed was my 7-year old son, looking so proud of himself for having succeeded in some mission known only to himself.
“AAAAACCCKKKK!” I screamed! “What are you doing in here??”
“Hey Mom!” Braden responded. “I sneaked into your bedroom and hid under the covers until you got in the shower. You said you wanted some privacy, but I knew you wouldn’t mind me bothering you.”
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