(This post originally appeared here on 5.21.2013).
My family knows that my shower- and getting ready time is “my” time. They know that, unless I am absolutely forced to, I will not open the bathroom door during the entire 45-60 minutes it takes me to shower and apply makeup, which is something I do every single day, unless I am so sick I can barely stand. Like the Fly Lady needs her shoes, I need my shower and eyeliner.
This doesn’t mean that in particular life seasons I don’t have someone either in the bathroom with me or banging on the door, screaming, from the outside. In fact, with a teen, toddler, and infant in the house, this happens more often than not. And my husband and I are often forced to plan an entire day’s schedule by shouting through the bathroom door. Nonetheless, the fundamental rule remains the same: if mama is in the bathroom getting ready, you better leave her alone or be prepared to face the consequences.
Sometimes I hear major chaos going on beyond the locked door of my sanctuary. Loud thumps and bumps followed by cries, phones ringing, dogs barking, teen requests intermingled with toddler tantrums and an infant’s demand to be feed. In these moments, I sigh, hastily apply 8-minutes worth of make-up in two, and head out the door to sort it all out.
The other day I heard all those things at once. My husband and mom were surviving, but they certainly could have used more (wo)manpower to ease the hurt.
As I listened to my husband try to make a phone call for our sixteen-year-old while the little ones’ battles raged around him and my mom pleaded with Rachel to stop poking her in the eye, I sighed a sigh of resignation and started to go into getting-ready overdrive.
But then… I didn’t.
I thought, “I am not coming out of here and you can’t make me.” If I could have locked the door even tighter, I would have.
No one knows what’s going on behind the bathroom door, and they aren’t going to ask. And if they do, I’ll tell them that mama’s getting-ready bathroom time is like Vegas—what goes on in there stays in there.
This was a particularly empowering moment, but don’t worry. I have no intention of abusing my loved ones by hiding out in the bathroom during the morning crazies. But you know what? Despite the cries and chaos coming from beyond the door, despite the stress and frustration I heard in the outnumbered grown-up voices, everything turned out just fine. My oldest son’s car got to the shop, the phone call was made, the baby was fed, and my mom’s eye remained in tact. And all of this was done just fine without me. Can you believe it?
(Stuff in the third person: Jamie is going on her 4th year of membership in Mothers’ Council. She blogs at http://jamiecallowayhanauer.com)