For the first five years of each of my children’s lives, I could not pee in private. Now I leave the door open out of habit, and they can’t stand it.
Well, I say, too bad for them.
As any mom knows, “privacy” is not a word listed in the mom job description. From the moment you give birth — scratch that — from the moment the first stranger touches your belly and asks you intimate questions about your pregnancy, all things personal no longer matter. And once you go into labor with anywhere from three to six people in that labor and delivery room, who see everything down yonder, you are no longer a person who knows (or cares about) what modesty is.
And your children don’t care either. From the time you take your first shower after you become a mom, you probably bring that baby in the carrier into the bathroom with you in case she starts to cry. You never shut the bathroom door when you pee in case the baby cries from the other room. You just don’t. Because that baby might need you.
Your babies turn into toddlers and they are always at your heels, asking for snacks or toys, or wanting you to read them a book or sing them a song or play with them. There is no such thing as privacy in your world once you become a mother.
When your kids are a little bit older, you might try to use the restroom and your children have questions — “What’s for dinner? Can you help with my homework? WHERE ARE YOU?” The bathroom door is always open because your children might need you. It becomes customary — the kids always need you at some point and you don’t want them to wonder where you are. You don’t want them to think you have run off to Mexico for an all-inclusive vacation. You don’t want them to think that you are taking a pee.
And then miraculously, one day, you go to the bathroom and you hear… nothing. And this is because you have teenagers.
They don’t need you any longer. Because teenagers are mostly self-sufficient and can open the pantry themselves and find a snack on their own. They can pour their own drink. They can turn the TV on by themselves. You pee in peace. Yet you still leave the door open because you’ve been doing this for the past 13 or so years, and that’s all you know. It’s habit.
Then, one day, you are minding your own business, peeing in your own bathroom, which happens to be in your bedroom, and yes, you have left the door open, because it’s what you are used to doing.
And your teenagers come in. Without knocking, of course.
And they. Freak. Out.
“WHAT? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? OH MY GOD GROSS, MOM! WHY ARE YOU PEEING WITH THE DOOR OPEN?”
Motherhood. We do what we can to survive it the best way we know how.