Dear Weary Mom,
Guys, I want to use the potty alone.
How many times have I uttered those words in the past few years? Maybe the past few days would be easier to count. I say that a lot anymore.
The situation goes something like this every day:
I tell Roo 'keep an eye on your sister for a minute please?'
I start for the stairs.
Roo asks "Are you going to the girls room?"
I say something like 'Yes honey, I have to potty.'
He says "Are you going to the girls room to poop?"
I beg ' Please, just watch Harp for 35 seconds. I will be right back.'
I charge for the stairs, running up them like a fire is chasing me. I take them 2 at a time, finally, bladder near bursting I am near the door.... I hear little feet hitting the stairs faster than my mad dash. Before the door can close, there he is.
I say something like 'Roo, please go watch sissy?!'
He says "Harper is coming. She's right there!" He points around the corner, she laughs, I sigh.
'Guys, I want to use the potty alone...' Both kids are laughing, thrilled with this game of racing and meeting up in the bathroom. Roo declares 'This isn't a potty, its home plate.'
I say something like 'Yep, this is home plate! Now run on to first base!' I am dancing the pee dance at this point. As I finally can begin to pee, it feels so good. Better than sex pee, the plight of the woman who cannot ever enter her own bathroom.
Harper laughs as she tosses shampoo and the like in the bath tub. She jumps on the scale. She dances.
Before I can finish Roo and the dog burst in. Roo is laughing, the dog looks dejected, I hear my husband on the stairs... He says "Roo said that you and Harper were pooping."
Oh my God. People leave me alone...
I wash my hands and look at my husband. I mumble something about privacy, needs to use that room just once alone. What if I did have to have a bowel movement? Why is everyone talking about it?
Later in the day, all over again. I tell my son, "I want to go alone." He says "But why Mom?" Like I just stomped on his heart.... his big blue eyes essentially kick me in the stomach. I want to say a number of things, like I like using the potty alone. I don't like the dog in there and you always bring him in. I don't want you bringing the little one into the mix...
But I don't. I instead inquire why he would want to come. He says "I like being with you!"
Those words moved me. They moved my heart, they moved my feet up the stairs and they moved me to allow this little boy the chance to pester me. I was a captive audience after all.
At bath time that night, he told his Dad "Mommy will shower with me." I told Roo, "I am sorry honey! I have to put Harp to bed. Daddy will bath you."
Big eyes fill with tears "But Mommy, I need you!"
My husband is frustrated that I cave and shower with Roo. But, he obviously needed that time with me. As he is getting ready for bed, he says "Close my door and sleep right here Mom!" Pointing to my side of his bed. I see how close to nodding off he is, so I snuggle him close to me. I tell him "Roo, you are a good boy. And a good friend." He sighs a dreamy sigh and replies "I am a good boy and a crazy friend!"
As he drifts off to sleep he holds my hand. I think about how many times I have muttered about some alone time lately. I think about how many times I have been grumpy over using the restroom alone. I promise to stop and savor this season when I am in such high demand, because someday, my son will run in horror at the thought of us both being in the bathroom together. He will be frustrated when I want to hang out in his room. Someday he will be a teenager, learning to navigate this life on his own.
This gave me insight on how to react to my children. While I think time alone is healthy for parents, I think that time spent cherishing the moments is far more healthy. I don't want to be that mom that looks back in 20 years on fond memories of using the potty alone. I would rather have the memory of a 5 year old boy with his eyes shining, so blue they are mesmerizing, who follows me to the girls room every time I go, just to talk to me.
I am not a perfect Mom. Lord, my flaws are overlapping. But, every time I pray, I pray for patience, for kindness, to be a better mother, to make sure my kids know I love them to infinity. Maybe giving up my privilege of private potty use is one of the ways I can love them to infinity, or maybe it is just one of the perks of motherhood....