Do you have something you guard? Something, that you just can not let anyone infringe on. Think about it for a moment. What is that one thing?
I had one friend who always had a snack every afternoon at exactly the same time, and would not let her children have one. Her children would stand around her. “Oh mom.” they would whine. “Can’t we have just one bite?”
“No way!” This mom replied. Eventually the children stopped asking. Mom guarded her snack.
I had another friend who guarded her prayer time equally as diligently. Her children knew, every morning, mom would pray for two hours. You do not interrupt mom or you will suffer the wrath of a much greater power than she. One of her son’s was quoted as saying, “If mom doesn’t have two hours to pray, it is a rotten day.”
My special time that I guard isn’t food, or spiritual. It’s cleansing. I don’t get my special time everyday, but I do get it often enough. The only problem I have is the children haven’t figured it out yet. I just get nice a cozy, then there’s the knock. “Who is it?” Silence. Then another knock. “Who is it!” Silence. Another knock. “What do you want?”
“I’m bleeding.” The rule is, when mom is taking a bath, you may not disturb her unless you are BLEEDING! This child did not sound like she was BLEEDING! She was simply bleeding.
“What do you want me to do? I ask. “Do you want me to get out of the tub and hand you a band-aid under the door?”
“No, it’s not that bad.”
“Then why are you telling me?” I inquired.
“You told us to come when we are bleeding.” She ever-so-innocently replied.
I reiterated the rule. “You may NOT disturb mom, unless you are BLEEDING.” “Are you BLEEDING!?”
Another knock on the door. “Yeeessss.”
“What do you want?” O.K. I’ll shorten the dialogue for you. She requested to show me something that daddy had found outside while mowing. (This was obviously not last week.) I, being the wonderful life experiencing mom that I am, relented and granted her favor with the queen. I mean, allowed her to come in. She emerged with a very large TOAD. “I wonder what he would think of bubbles?” She playfully said. Suddenly there was a great multitude in the bathroom. They had all heard of the great discovery and had come to see the giant toad for themselves. There I was sitting in a bathtub, with wonderful, glorious bubbles, a room full of children, one dad, and a toad hopping all over my towel.
I looked at Steve with the look that says, “This would be a good time to read my mind.” They all leave. But my towel has been slimed.
There are other things that must be done in the bathroom that require some time and privacy. Both of those things which seem to run short in our house. One of those things is brushing hair. I decided that was a private matter the day the brush went through my hair and promptly hit David on the head.
Another private bathroom function is…reading. Most homes have the kitchen as the central meeting place. Ours is the bathroom. If I want to use the bathroom to…uh hum…read. I must dismiss the crowd that has followed me. Briana has recently thought it would be o.k. for her to stay if she simply says, “Close eyes.” She then places one had over her left eye and one hand sort of over her right eye. She is really peeking. It’s quite cute, but unacceptable.
True story…John was a very young baby, like three months. Now time to read in the bathroom has been virtually eliminated. If I can’t take care of business, it doesn’t get taken care of. This particular day, I had put John down for a nap and went into OUR bathroom. I locked our bedroom door and the bathroom door. I was just getting to the good part when I hear Ashley yell, “Mom, David’s BLEEDING!” He had fallen trying to climb on the step stool to go potty “all by himself”. I had to take him to the doctor to get stitches in his chin.
The next day I went to finish that article from the day before. I heard Ashley yell, “Mom, David cut himself. He’s bleeding all over the house.” David was standing in the living room dripping blood from his hand. From the looks of it, I thought he had cut off his finger. It’s amazing how much blood can come from a little two year-old’s finger. Back to the doctor for more stitches. While at the doctor’s off going through the “drill” of how this all happened. I finally broke down and cried, “I know I’m a rotten mother. And I will try never to go to the bathroom again.”
Now that we have moved to Iowa it is even harder to get quality bathroom time. I can no longer escape behind several sets of locked doors to use the bathroom, anyway, not in winter unless I want to brave the sub zero temperature of our master bathroom. It could just as well be an outside bathroom. It is so cold. I think Steve has opted not to better insulate so I don’t read too much.
Here is my real secret to quality bathroom time. When taking a bath. Turn the water on as hot as it will go. Pour in a generous amount of Bath and Body works bubbles bath. Then turn the water off when you have depleted your water heater and cold water is coming out. Approach the water cautiously as some child may have turned it cold while you were not looking. (Seriously, never leave a young child alone in a bathroom with the water running out hot.) Turn on a teaching tape of some kind. I personally like the McKim’s time and home management tapes. Sit back, put on a mask, then get out refreshed. When the baby screams at you, you will be calm and serene. (Until you notice you forgot to remove the purple mask.)
I just figured out why most moms take showers. It’s not because they waste less water, or because they feel cleaner. It’s so they don’t hear anything like, MOM, I’m bleeding.
Excerpted from my book, I’m Going to Be the Greatest Mom Ever, Even if it Kills Me! Multnomah Publishers Copyright 2006.
In addition to this article being one of the chapters in my book, I use it as a great illustration in my “POWER” mom talk. If you have a Moms group and need a dynamic speaker, I would love to come speak to your group.