Being a mom of 5 children can be hectic at times,well let me be honest it is always hectic in my house. Wall to wall children, toys scattered about, laundry piled high, and dishes overflowing. I feel like I am on a merry go round jumping from one child to the next trying to accommodate each one of their needs while maintaining a somewhat tidy home. I am largely out numbered.
Friends often ask ”how are you so patient?” Truly I think I am too exhausted to exert the energy that is necessary to blow my stack, which is mistaken for patience. All moms whether you have one child or many are faced with the daily chores of keeping house, feeding your family, entertaining your children, running errands all the while keeping your composure. It is a delicate balancing act. One that we often feel we have failed at.
Finding time for yourself is advice often dispensed to mothers. Great advice if it came with a babysitter willing to watch your tribe while you indulge in solace. I have put myself in “Time Out” in the hopes of getting a few minutes of peace. My children would come to me and ask me what I was doing. My response, “I am in time out and need to sit here alone and think.” Their response, “Mommy what did you do wrong?” This technique to obtain quiet time didn’t hold up too well.
My private sanctuary has now become my bathroom. I hide out there. Sometimes I will read a magazine or pluck my eyebrows. Sometimes I check emails or floss my teeth. Sometimes I just sit quietly hoping they don’t find me. Because I seek refuge in the bathroom I simply had to explain to my children that I had “potty issues.” Slightly embarrassing and dishonest, but worth it if I can squeeze in 12 minutes of alone time.
Unfortunately for me, my private time became a public discussion in my daughter’s kindergarten class. She openly shared with her classmates that her mommy had been spending a lot of time in the “potty” lately and that her stomach issues had returned. During conferences when her teacher revealed this to me, I was compelled to confess the truth. I left that conference with flushed cheeks and a guilty conscience. On my walk through the school halls and into the parking lot I pondered my secret hiding place. Was it fair to hide from my children? Was it wrong that my children thought I had to potty so much? Are there other mommies in the world that hide in the bathroom too? Or was hiding in the bathroom and stealing a few minutes each day the reason that I was able to remain patient and calm for my children.
I concluded that every mom deserves time to herself. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you choose to do. We have earned this right. We should not feel shame for stealing some alone time. We are only human and we must care for ourselves…even if it is hiding in our bathrooms.