Just Five Minutes of Privacy, Please…

Braden and Amber

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.”

Okay, then…

What goes around comes around…

I always get such a kick out of practical jokes played on my kids, and there’s nothing better than when you can actually catch it on tape!

A couple of summers ago, my husband got into the habit of playing practical jokes on our daughter. She might be doing dishes and looking out the window above the sink and my husband would pop up in front of the window – seemingly out of nowhere – and surprise her. It was always funny and always gave us a giggle to watch her reaction. One day, she thought she’d get him back.

On this particular day, my husband was in the basement of our house in the room we call the “Man Cave.” My children thought it’d be funny to tap on the window from the outside, and then run away and hide. They did this several times until my husband finally decided to give them a reaction.

I had seen the kids tapping on the outside window and knew retribution was coming, but it wasn’t until I saw my husband filling a bucket of water in the kitchen sink that I realized what was to come.

“Nooooo,” I said to Troy. “You wouldn’t!”

“Yes,” he said with an evil grin.

“Oh my gosh! Okay. Wait! Let me get the video camera!” I said and then ran for the camera. The rest is history and you can see the results in the video link below. Let’s just assume they won’t try that again!

Teenagers: What not to say to win that battle against Mom!

I love kids – all kids.  I’ve been know to post the bizarre daily antics of my children on Facebook, but I have to say that we all have funny kids if we’d just take a step back from their sometimes irritating behavior and realize that some of what they’re doing is actually pretty danged funny!

Even teenagers can be rather funny, when you can get past some of their smart mouths and the arrogant attitudes they frequently sport around their parents and sometimes society in general.  Take, for example, my daughter.  She’s almost 16 now and she thinks she knows everything.  She has the whole world in front of her and plenty of time to go out and explore it entirely without “parental guidance” (as she likes to call it).  She just can’t wait to be set free.  Unfortunately for her, I’ve got about two more years of hands-on parenting and I’m going to take advantage of every minute of those remaining years.

A couple of years ago, Amber and her friends wanted to go to this city-wide dance sponsored by some out-of-town traveling entertainment company.  This company rents out a venue, sells tickets at some exorbitant price and invites kids from the ages of 14-19 to attend. Hundreds of kids from our town and the surrounding communities attend these dances and, for the most part, I think they’re probably okay.  But I have one problem with them:  there’s no real adult presence.  With the exception of the local police department, who has been contracted to patrol the perimeters of the event and “bounce” those who either don’t belong or who are participating in illegal or harmful behavior, there is really no one there watching out for the kids.  The entire thing – in my opinion – is for profit only and there’s no consideration for the age difference between the 14 and 19 year olds.  For the parent of a 14-year old girl just entering her first year of high school, the whole situation feels like a nightmare waiting to happen.  After all, there really is a huge difference between a 14 year old girl and a 19 year old boy, both in terms of life experiences and in expectations.  To mix the two with no “parents on patrol” seems to me to be a bad situation in the making.  Maybe I’m wrong – and that’s perfectly fine if you disagree with me – but I’m the parent and I get to decide on this one.

To make a long story short, Amber wanted badly to attend one of these functions and she tried every possible tactic to convince me to allow her to attend.  She started off with the “Please, Mommy?” and the “I love you, Mommy” tactic.  When that didn’t work, she tried the tactic of shaming me.  “But (insert name of pretty much every friend she has) is going.  Their moms are so much cooler than you are!  It’s not fair that they get to go and I can’t!”  Actually, while there were a several kids her age going, there were an equal number of her friends not going, and several parents of other friends just waiting for someone else to put a foot down and say “No” so that they could do the same without feeling like the only bad guy.

When all other tactics had failed her and she could see that her campaign was coming to an end, she quickly moved to the tactic of pleading, alternated with bouts of nastiness.  “But why not?” she’d cry.  “Please, Mom??  I’ll do anything you want!”  And then, “If you won’t let me go, then I shouldn’t have to do anything for you!”  Ish!  I keep wondering if raising a child will ever get any easier?!

Finally it all came to a head one night at dinner.  I had said “no” so many times that I was sick of hearing myself say it.  I was feeling like the bad guy and was actually beginning to second-guess myself, when the following conversation took place.

“But whhhhyyyy?” Amber cried.  “Why can’t I go?  I’m 14!  It’s open to kids 14-19!  That means I should be able to go!”

“No, Amber” I said.

“But why not??  You’re being so unfair!”

“Amber,” I said, “I’m your mother.  I know you think I’m stupid and that I’m really old and that I don’t know anything at all, but I was a kid once, too.  As your mother, and being 25 years older than you are, I’ve had a lot of life experiences that you haven’t had the opportunity to have yet. Those life experiences tell me that this really isn’t a good idea and that you would benefit from waiting a couple or three years before attending.”

Her response sealed her doom.  With an attitude that only a teenager who feels wronged could pull off, she replied, “Yeah.  Right.  Whatever.  Thanks Mom!  Remind me:  which dinosaur was it you wrestled for food?”

Ahhh..and so it goes!  A lesser woman would’ve been upset at the age gibe.  Nah, I didn’t get upset.  Actually, I think I had to work hard to stifle the giggle that was pressing hard to be released from inside of me.  Nah…no point in getting angry on that one.  But she also didn’t get to go to the dance.  Mom 1, Teenager 0.

Hello and Welcome to Chatty Cathie’s Endless Chatter!

Hello Friends and welcome to my new blog!  This is my little corner of the world where I will rant and rave about topics that interest me, and will likely be inclined to tell goofy “Braden and Amber stories” as well as leave book reviews and recommendations.  Pop in from time to time to see what’s going on.  For now, I’ll leave you with a little about me…

My name is Cathie and, as the title implies, I’m endlessly chattering about something.  I’m 41, married and the mother of two children, ages 7 and (almost) 16.  My favorite things in the world are my goofy family, reading and writing.  It therefore makes sense that this blog will include a little of each of those things.

Leave me a comment from time to time if you like what you read.  It’s okay to disagree with my viewpoints, but be respectful.  That is to say, speak your mind but do so in a way that leaves off foul language and name-calling.  If you can’t support your argument with anything besides those two, then you probably don’t have a valid argument anyway.  🙂

I’ll see you soon!

Chatty Cathie

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