I realized the other day that I keep the door wide open when I use the bathroom, every time.
Do you want to know when, exactly, I realized this? It was the moment not long ago when I was using the bathroom, heard the chatter of voices outside it, and remembered with a shock that we had company. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I had visitors in my house, and everyone of them could’ve heard me tinkle if they’d wanted because there I was, door open to the world, just doing the thing that most people think is private.
This, my friends? This is life with small children.
They hover. They follow you from room to room. They sit in doorframes to watch you reach for the toilet paper, verbally documenting your every move. Then they get offended when you ask for privacy. They open the doors that are shut. They bang on the doors that are locked, they whine, they stick their fingers through the tiny gap underneath the doors because “WHATAREYOUDOINGINTHEREANDWHYCAN’TIWATCH?!”
They want to sit on your lap while you’re nursing they baby. They want to sit on the baby. They smother the baby with kisses because you’re smothering the baby with kisses, then they smother you with kisses, and then you’re just being smothered.
You not so much as start dialing the numbers on your phone before they start fighting, looking at you from the sides of their eyeballs because I bet you’re paying attention now, aren’t you, Mom? Ha, HA! You hung up the phone. They win.
It takes you two, three years after you have your first kid to realize that you no longer care if people watch you undress for the shower. It might take you a little longer than that to realize you once, a long, long time ago, ate something other than cheese and crackers when you were home for lunch. Some of you are still wearing your nursing bras to work, even though you weaned your baby two years ago. We understand: it’s hard to shop for lingerie when there are three pint-sized critics in the dressing room, too, watching you try to dress your floppy mom boobs in attire that doesn’t involve easy-access snaps.
It’s life with small kids. One minute you’re sitting on the hospital bed, staring at the tiny, warm heap of wrinkled flesh in your arms (I mean the baby, not your postpartum triceps). You’re overcome with shock, with love, with the tired surprise that tells you, oh my, life is about to change. And then you find yourself in the bathroom five years later, taking a pee with the door wide open while your party guests eat hors d’oeuvres twenty feet away.
Yes, it’s life with children. And no one ever said it was dignified.