Monday, January 23, 2012
Are You Bleeding, Choking, Or On Fire?
I ask my kids this about once a week. This is the only response they will get from me when I am in the bathroom and their tiny little fists pound on the bathroom door. It doesn't matter if I am showering, blow-drying my hair, or tinkling. These are the only situations that I allow to interrupt me.
I have had other mom friends lament the fact that they have not gone to the bathroom alone for nearly a decade because one of their children follow them in or weep inconsolably at the door.. Their children just can't live without them for any amount of time. I've been there. And now I'm putting my foot down.
I believe that the 23 1/2 other hours of non-bathroom time that I devote to my children assure them that I do indeed love them and are available to help, hug, and listen. I don't believe any moderate crisis can be solved by my shouting through a wooden door and also believe that any minor skirmish can be successfully dealt with after a thorough washing of hands. Major catastrophes such like bleeding, choking and flames, however will be dealt with promptly.
Full disclosure - I have been an open-door policy kind of gal for a few years now, but as my boys are old enough to distinguish the difference between a "pee pee" and a "princess", I feel this policy should cease to exist. I've begun to lock the bathroom door, even if I am home alone. I sometimes even run the water so nobody can hear me tinkle. The fact that people can hear me pee is slightly embarrassing. Even if it's my husband. If I am feeling particularly bold, I will skip the running water if I am home alone. Maybe.
Other families don't mind a little company in the bathroom. Good for you. My recent epiphany is not a one-size fits all families type of edict, although after a certain age, get ready for the "where is the rest of your pee pee, Mommy" questions to insue.
But, if like me, you want a little time to yourself, take it. Your children will survive. It might be good to learn basic boundary issues so they don't rush into their boss's bathroom stall in a couple of decades.
From those who say it wouldn't work with their kids, I politely disagree. Bathroom locks were invented for a reason. And, with consistency, they will figure it out. They are smart kids. And, like my kids, they will stop knocking (or slink away when reminded of what constitutes a bathroom interrupting emergency).