I just want to take a shower.
“So, go take a shower.” You say.
Easier said, than done. I used to cherish the minutes I would spend under the stream of hot water. I thought nothing of the daily stress I placed on our water heater as I bled it dry of its steamy liquid relaxation. Now I’m lucky if both legs get shaved.
I’ve tried waking up early to take a shower. The first problem with this strategy is, well, waking up early. That’s an easy struggle to overcome once you realize that your hair has begun to form it’s own natural version of baby oil and starts adhering to your scalp. The second problem is much more difficult to remedy. What I am referring to here is, of course, “the Mom alarm.” You know, when your child(ren) is(are) in a deep sleep and the second your feet hit the floor, they sky rocket out of their beds and immediately require that all their basic needs be met…by you…and your hair…that will now be stuck to your head for at least another few hours.
I’ve tried taking a shower during the brief overlapping period while all my children are napping. Those precious minutes, those sweet quiet seconds, two tiny hours on the best day, are completely necessary if my family wants dinner on the table and clean clothes. If I skip dinner preparations, my husband turns into a giant grumpy toddler unable to express himself beyond caveman speak. “Hungry. Must eat now. Grunt. Whimper.” If I skip laundry for longer than two days, the piles of clothing get so high that anything beyond just burning the house down seems insurmountable. Most importantly, when the house is finally quiet at 1pm and my children have already spent 6 hours draining the life out of me, I’ve already relinquished myself to a dirty pony tail and avoiding all mirrors.
When my twins were younger toddlers and less able to operate door knobs, I could take a shower whenever I liked. All I had to do was plop them down on the floor with a box of tampons and it was the highlight of their day. Knowing how to open and close doors was a game-changer. The tampons lost their luster after they figured out they could just open the door and have unlimited access to the rest of the house. There was a brief window where they were old enough to sit through a 20 minute Daniel Tiger episode, which just so happens to be long enough for me to scrub the miscellaneous food particles out of my eyebrows that may have become air born during mealtime. Then little dude was born. He operates door handles at 15 months and is completely obsessed with flushing the toilet. So, he’s not great company in the bathroom during a quick scrub down.
I tried showering at night. It cuts into my “Me” time. It cuts into my only time with my husband. Even if the house is silent and everyone is in bed, I’m still thinking about everything that needs to get done before I go to bed. Last, and most self-involved, I have to sleep on my wet hair, which makes me wake up looking like a bad Lindsay Lohan mug shot.
So, I just want to take a shower. It sounds so simple, but taking a shower comes with a trade-off when you’re the mother of young children. I’m tickled pink with a quick scrub down. It’s a special treat if all the conditioner gets rinsed out. Let’s just add long relaxing showers to the lengthy list of glorious things you enjoyed before having kids, right under “sleeping in,” “leisurely shopping,” and “quiet car rides.”