Private moments… what are they anymore? After having a child, I think all women understand that the luxury of being “alone” in the bathroom has gone out the window. You situate yourself in the tub or on the throne and you hear an all too familiar light tap on the wood frame below the door knob. You think to yourself “I could just disappear right now” or “WTF” or “I was just in front of you and you didn’t even care I was there”.
I’ve given up hope that there may ever be an opportunity for me to ever relish in any form of relief in the bathroom. I figured my bathroom visits would be as efficient as a fast food drive-thru during a busy lunch rush. In and out, nothing personal, nothing memorable. A once begrudging and woeful feeling faded into normalcy until this particular morning. I woke up at 5:30am. I laid listening to the birds singing the sun up from the east. I thought about the day, my meetings, writings that needed to occur and the laundry and other chores that I needed to accomplish that day. I also looked around me and as usual my kids had found me like zombies in the night looking for brains. Their little bodies strewn about my feet and torso as they presumably collapsed before me at an hour I could not recall happened. So I thought, 'This is your moment. This is your chance. Go take a long hot shower. It’ll be a great way to start the day.' Awesome! The kids wouldn’t be up for another hour… I was ready.
Weirdly, the water was the perfect temperature, the aroma of the soap filled the bathroom in layered odors of pleasant floral and spices. I was actually enjoying my bath. I was conscious of the water hitting my flesh. I wasn’t rushing. I wasn’t frantically scrubbing while yelling orders of “not to kill someone” out the door. I forgot I had children. It was just me and my moment of clarity until the cold rush of wind blew in behind the shower curtain. Someone had opened the door...
Child: Mommy I feel weird
Me: Ok… how are you going to ensure that you feel better?
Yeh, I felt a bit snarky... Why? Because she was so super vague. What the heck does “weird” mean. I felt “weird” after having a baby. I felt “weird” when I decided to move forward with moving out of my house. I felt “weird” when I started my period. So what does she mean “weird”?
Child: I don’t know, maybe use the potty?
Me: Ok lady, just hurry up and go get dressed.
I proceed to indulge in my awesome smelling shower and the perfectly hot temperature of the water (which never happens). I hear a loud gush of water and in that instance I was sickened by the odor of the bathroom.
Child: Mommy I peed from my butt
Me: I think that's diarrhea baby
Me: Nevermind... you peed from your butt baby.
Right at the moment when I processed the sound of water hitting water, it smelled like the rotting insides of the dying. I was confused and disoriented. I threw up in my mouth.
Me: Are you ok?
Child: I feel weird mommy.
Me: Ok…(heaviest sigh you could ever imagine) um… just sit there
I was covered in soap. I have severe allergies to even the mildest soaps so I had to complete my shower but everything in me wanted to vacate the premises and chance flaking red peeling flesh.
These are the moments that rise up to test our mothering ability… how squeamish are you? how irritated are you? how embarrassed can you possibly get in this particular situation? These are the moments we live for. The moments where we tap out of our normal selves and put on our capes rushing blindly into the fire to our children’s rescue.
So it was this moment that I put on my shield and blocked out reality to pull my child out of the toilet, yes she pushed half of herself into the toilet so that she was in the water- and clean her up.
Child: I love you mommy
Me: I love you to baby
I think to myself, 'I don’t think I’ll ever have a moment alone in the bathroom for another decade or two'. After bleaching everything off and lighting some nag champa to fill the air, I dressed her and laid her back in the bed.
Child: Thanks mommy
Me: My pleasure baby
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working to make life more equitable for all people. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.