For the better part of seven years, since my oldest child was born, I have been a mother. I know that seems totally obvious, right?
You are like, “Of course you have been a mother since you had your first child, you idiot! That’s how that works.”
But my point is that once you are a mother you are never truly alone unless you have a deadbolt and for the better part of seven years, I have not been alone. Someone is constantly touching me, talking to me or wanting something from me. I realize this is all part of the deal but sometimes Mommy has to have a little break.
I like to call that little break bath time. There have been plenty of times over the last seven years that I’ve bathed my infant/toddler/child in the tub with me then passed her off to my husband for pajamas. But one of my favorite hobbies is lolling. I learned the art from The Sweet Potato Queen, Jill Conner Browne and I’ve taken the art form very seriously. There is nothing I like better than to sit in water so hot it scalds my skin and read.
But here’s the thing none of the parenting books tell you about having kids: bathing is now a spectator sport. Last week my husband was out of town for three nights which meant I had to manage homework, dinner, baths and bedtime for all three kids by myself. (Hats off to single parents everywhere. Seriously, y’all are heroes and deserve medals.) By Friday when he came home from work I was exhausted.
My disposal broke while he was gone. It hates me and breaks every time he leaves the city limits. My two-year-old had diarrhea in my best friend’s lap and filled my shoe. (Sorry if you were eating.) I completely forgot about preschool orientation until it was too late to get a sitter. None of these things were the end of the world and I realize they are “first world” problems, but nonetheless I was tired.
Directly after dinner I headed to the tub and made a huge mistake. I forgot to deadbolt the door. Which meant that approximately 60 seconds after I got in the bath, all four members of my family assembled beside the tub to gawk and stare and throw peanuts at me.
“Get out,” I said.
“But Momma…” my three daughters said in unison like something out of a creepy horror film.
“I just…” my husband said.
My husband and two of my daughters left the room while the third, who shall remain nameless, stripped to her birthday suit and stood staring at me.
“Honey,” I explained with patience I didn’t feel, “sometimes Mommy just needs some privacy. Like right now. I want to take a bath by myself. What are you doing? Why did you take your clothes off?”
“I want to take a bath.” She explained calmly. The “Duh!” was implied.
“You can’t take a bath right now. I’m taking a bath.”
“I’ll just wait. I want to take one by myself anyway.”
“Really? Me too,” I said. The “Duh” was implied. “Go play. You can come back when I’m done.”
Here’s my best advice for new parents: put a deadbolt on every door in your house and then use them liberally.