Let me start off by saying that this blog post took me almost a week to finish. I tried to use my bathroom time but had too many interruptions…
When I was younger, I remember following my Mom and Grandma to the bathroom on a regular basis. I would sit on the floor and wait patiently while they did what they needed to do. Sometimes we chatted and sometimes we sat in complete silence. I thought it was completely normal.
In my recent years, the toilet has been the place that I come up with my best ideas. Literally. I don’t know what it is, but a light bulb above my head shines bright when my pants are around my ankles. The problem lately is that it’s not a quiet place for me to think. It’s become a free for all. A place to ask Mommy for some juice. A place to tell on my sister. A place to ask Mommy for help with my homework.
Like most Moms, I never have the opportunity to use the bathroom in peace without one of my girls walking in, knocking on the door, hiding outside of the door or yelling something from the other room. “I’m going to the bathroom” is secret kid code for “please come with me and watch.”
Not long ago, I asked my 4 year old why she keeps following me to the bathroom. Her answer was simple… “As long as I can’t see your privates, it’s ok for me to be in here.” While she had a point (I think), I still struggled with explaining why the bathroom is a place where you need privacy. I’ve even considered telling her that the bathroom is my office and when Mommy is working, I can’t be disturbed. But the last thing I need is for her to go to school on career day and tell her class that I pee and poop for a living.
Problem is, kids are trained differently. Think about it… in pre-school, you are basically potty trained in front of your entire class. When you get into the 3 year old class, boys and girls share the bathroom. Two toilets in each bathroom, side by side and the teacher requires the door to stay open, just in case someone has an accident or sticks a toy down the toilet. In elementary, middle and high school, you are in a stall next to four or five other kids. And a lot of the time, it becomes a place to chat with friends about the latest gossip. Heck, that even extends to your adulthood when you’re at work.
At home, when you’re young and need Mom or Dads help, they are in there with you. In our case, our 4 year old still won’t go without her older sister because she’s afraid of the dark. So to her, a bathroom is a place that you just don’t go alone. And it’s been that way since she’s been out of diapers.
As you get older, you tend to take a buddy with you to the bathroom. Having a girls night? Can’t go to the bathroom without your BFF. Why? No idea. Maybe it makes it easier to pee knowing that someone you know is a couple of feet away? Maybe you are anticipating needing some toilet paper or someone to hold the door for you, so your friend is backup? Whatever the case is, we expect privacy at home but expect companionship while we are out in public.
So how do we solve this dilemma? The more I think about it and the more I watch my girls grow every day, the more I realize that years down the road, when my old and wrinkly behind is sitting on the toilet, I’ll be wishing my girls were right there next to me. I’ll be wishing they were arguing outside my door. I’ll be wishing they were asking me for some juice and I’ll wonder why I ever wished otherwise. Until that time, I’ll keep the door open.