I knew that when I had children, my life was going to change in ways I could never imagine and it now belonged to these two little people I shared with the world. What I had not considered and did not know at the time was there was no getting back some of the things I had given up for them. Sleeping, eating, and peeing??
Obviously, as a new parent, sleep is the biggest thing I gave up for all of those midnight feedings, diaper changes, boogeyman exorcisms and the endless “watch and listens” for breathing malfunctions, runaway blankets and moving baby parts. I have always been a light sleeper but I have not slept a solid night through since my oldest was born. It is hard to fall into solid unconsciousness when you are laying and waiting for the moment when the BABY S.W.A.T team busts through my doors and takes my children from me because they know I am not qualified for the immense responsibility of being their mother! Consciously, I recognize that there is not a BABY S.W.A.T. team but it is my recurring nightmare that keeps me up at night and jolts me out of bed if I happen to get too close to that elusive and precious state of sleep.
I once had a speech professor who was a wise, older Indian man. Upon day one of the class he was adamant about not missing assignments or class and told the story of how when he was a young man he worked three job and attended university where sleep was a luxury he could not afford. He had to train his body to survive on three hours of sleep a night and even all those years later in our class, he still only needed three hours of sleep and therefore, if he was able to survive, then we had no excuses for not delivering top notch speeches and 100% attendance. I could not tell you what else I learned in that class or even what the professor’s name was but I always remembered that a person can survive on minimal sleep and it is the biggest thing I sacrificed when I became a mother of two.
Eating like a normal human being also fell by the wayside in my early years of parenting because babies do not care anything about what you want, how you used to be, or what’s on your plate! When they are hungry and start bellowing for milk, nothing else matters. I used to be the slowest eater and last one to finish a meal out of everyone that I knew. But once I began breast feeding, I could no longer enjoy a meal. I ate on the run and I learned to eat fast because well, let face it, when a baby wails for milk, the breasts do not wait! I became the beckon call girl to my new baby and it was merciless. They do not care if you are starving and have not eaten all day. They want their milk and they want it now!
The one thing I did not know I would have to give up and continue to give up years later is my bathroom time! Not those few minutes of perfect “mommy escapism” time where I can close the door and let it all out, so to speak, in peace! Not MY time!? Some things cannot be rushed nor completed in a screaming, crying fit of rage because I cannot get two minutes of private time behind the bathroom door! When my kids were babies, I strapped them in a bouncy seat and ran and hid for several minutes to do my business. As toddlers, we had to put up a safety gate in the bathroom door to keep them out and I would have them sit in the hallway so I could keep an eye on them and do my business. Eventually, that gate came away and I would close the door and shout,“behave, mommies going to the bathroom.” That only worked when their favorite television show was on. Once it ended and I took too long, all hell broke loose on the other side of that bathroom door. They would start banging on the bathroom door with toys, cups or any other object that was close by for them to reach and I would shout to them, “I am peeing, get away from the door!” They would shout back, “let us in!” I would say, “No, I am peeing, leave me alone!” The banging would stop and I could hear them giggle and whisper and knew they were plotting anew. Then the handle on the bathroom door would begin to shake. We have the type of handles that flip up and down to open and close so they would begin to flip the handle and try to open the door. Again, I would shout, “get away from the door, I will be right out!” Then I knew my moment of solace was over. My leisurely bathroom break was gone!
As the kids got older, the bathroom door became like a confessional of sorts the moment I entered and closed that door behind me. “Mom, I need to talk to you,” “Mom, can I ask you a question,” “Mom, so and so wants me to go here or there, can I go pleeeease?” I would shout back, “get away from the door so I can pee. I will be right out!” But it did not matter to them, they still came a banging! I make sure to spend time alone with each of my kids so I know what is going on with them but there are days they could sit in the same room with me and not talk to me or ask me one question…until they hear the closing of the bathroom door! I am beginning to think that they think they have me cornered when I am in there!.
The notion of bothering me when I am in the bathroom is beginning to subside. As of late, I have begun to announce, “I am going to pee,” or “I am going to the bathroom, do not bother me!” Now they shout back at me, “gross mom, we don’t need to hear it!” In recent times, I can only recall them sitting outside the door once, silent, one their phones, waiting to ask me a questions about something they wanted to do. There was no shouting from either side of the bathroom door and I knew they were there. Luckily for them all I had to do was pee so the wait wasn’t too long! It has been 13 long years to free the pee but I am beginning to get my precious bathroom time back without interruption! I cannot wait until they have their own kids who come knocking on their bathroom door, interrupting their time! Payback is a real turd!