Monday, April 9, 2012

Single Phenom Mom, Episode 1: Shower in Peace?

After kids, long, relaxing hot showers and taking your time getting gussied up will become a luxury your life will hardly afford you anymore. I promise. Married or not. One kid or five. It doesn't matter.

Photo Credit:

After kids, you'll also sit on the toilet with the door open as your child(ren) talk to you and/or try to touch you or climb on you; lest you want to suffer the consequences of closing the door in order to do your business.  As a parent, single or not, there just won't be many times that you'll be able to use the bathroom alone to do anything.  It is a fact of parenthood. At least until your kids are old enough to be left unattended in a room of your house for longer than 30 seconds.

If you are childless and you are reading this, savor the solo shitting time that you have now. Seriously; relish it. From this moment forward, remember what you've read here and take an extra few minutes every time you use a bathroom to do anything solo (shit, shower, shave etc.) and just really try and appreciate the peace you have to be alone in there.

No one's hanging on your leg demanding your attention with an incessant, "Up!" as you brush your teeth. 

You don't have to deal with smudged, crooked eyeliner because a thrown ball/toy has ricocheted off the vanity into your arm (or face) mid-application. 

Your legs, when you so choose to shave them at your leisure, don't look like you walked through a thorn bush with shorts on.

While you're sitting on the throne, no one is trying to wedge themselves in-between your legs or, even worse, make their way up into your lap.  

Solo bathroom time just may be the number one thing I miss from the days before I became a parent. Even more so now that I am a single parent.  In my marriage, there were at least rare occasions where I could have the STBX take care of our child so I could take care of myself and my bathroom needs alone and without feeling a need to rush. Now that I'm alone and always rushing around as a single mom going through a divorce, I sometimes wish I could hire someone to come over on occasion just to have that occasional luxury back.      

I miss solo bathroom time so much that most days, I get up a whole hour earlier than necessary just so I can shit, shower and shave alone, and in peace, well before the time frame that C-Man typically wakes up hollering for me to get him his "deeenk" (that's drink).  I also make it a point to sleep in a bit sometimes, before bringing C-Man to daycare in my sweats, just so I can return home and still have the luxury of at least showering and shaving by my lonesome without having to sacrifice precious sleep to do so. Those days, I end up making up the work time sacrificed for the solo shower after he goes to bed at night. That's the catch-22 of working from home: you can shower while your kid is at daycare and you are "working" but you'll have to make up that time you were "working" while also showering and/or shaving in peace.

As a single parent, if you borrow time from one area you have to make it up some where else. And it usually means giving up something like sleep or time to yourself. Or eating.  As a single parent that works from home, this time juggle gets even more complicated. Throw some ADHD in there and it just gets crazy at times. (Or maybe I'm just going crazy?)

Most weekends, and then other times when my normal routines fall to the wayside for various reasons (again, see the above paragraph), I end up showering with C-Man in the bathroom with me. Sometimes on weekends, if we don't have any plans for example, I can wait until his early afternoon nap to do my thing; but most of the time I can't because of an obligation we need to show up at or take care of where sweats are just not appropriate and having some personal hygiene is.

So, he ends up there in the bathroom with me while I do my business.

Oh joy. 

I don't care how "baby-proofed" any room appears to be; I just don't feel comfortable leaving C unattended while I shower. Toddlers have this uncanny ability of proving your baby-proofing skills defunct even when you're standing right there with your eyes glued to them unblinking; forget leaving a toddler alone for more than a minute or two! 

And I can't leave him in his crib awake while I do what I need to because he's at that age where attempts to escape the crib could happen at any time.  I have these horrific visions of him breaking his arm while trying to leap out of his crib akin to Buzz Light Year discovering he can't fly.  You know that scene in the original Toy Story when Buzz is all deranged after discovering that he is in fact, just a toy, and in trying to fly out the window of Sid's house, he plummets to the staircase floor and loses an arm? (Okay, yeah, the responsibilities and pressures of single parenthood can make you a tad irrational and overprotective.)

I've learned that having my baby in the bathroom with me while I do my business usually works out pretty well, so long as I am prepared anyway. I've also learned the hard way how imperative it is that he's fed and freshly changed before slathering my legs in shaving cream.

How do I keep him occupied while I'm doing my thing and he's shut in there with me? Or rather, how do I keep him from driving me batty and/or destroying my bathroom before I've even finished rinsing my hair?

With a bucket of fun (mega-blocks and some other toys I rotate out from week to week) and some baby-proofing, of course. And music!

Scattering the blocks all over is always better than building with them

It works for now, as I believe it is age appropriate for him. I've used other various tricks in the past and if you've come here for some advice on what else you could do for entertaining babies and toddlers of various ages and stages, oh fellow pee-in-peace-deprived parent, please read on below. I've taken the time to compile a list of handy tricks to somehow help you bring back your pre-child days of using a bathroom alone. Sort of.  Please feel free to add any more ideas that you've tried, or that you may have heard of, below this post in the comment section.  I would love to hear from you!

Single Phenom Mom: Tips for Shitting, Showering and Shaving in Peace. 

You could even do your hair and makeup if you're lucky (and fast)!  

Stick 'em in a bouncy seat.  Preferably one that bounces or vibrates automatically via battery power. Otherwise, you may find yourself extending a dripping leg or arm out of the shower to manually bounce a baby that gets board of just sitting and staring/swatting at the same 3-4 hanging toys just after you've lathered up.

Strap 'em in a swing.  If your bathroom is small, this is where a portable swing comes in handy, as you can have your baby swinging in the bathroom with you.  When I was still living in the marital home with the STBX, our master bedroom had an adjoining bathroom and I used to put C in his swing right outside the bathroom while I showered with the door open. I would sometimes have him face the window so that he could look outside and view the world.  Other times I would ignore all AAP recommendations regarding television for children under two and I would turn the swing seat towards our TV and put on his favorite show (it was and still is Yo Gabba Gabba, if you're curious).

Strap 'em in a baby tub or bath seat and have 'em join in.  I've read that some parents and babies enjoy showering together where the parent actually takes a shower and the baby sits and enjoys the water at the far end of the tub, with or without some bath toys depending on their age. My C has always feared the shower and I have always feared handling a naked and slippery baby while I am also naked and slippery, so I've never actually tried this method myself.  If you have, please feel free to report your success or failures by leaving a comment below!

Put 'em in a full-size jumperoo or activity saucer. Or a doorway jumperoo.  The choice will probably depend on the size and shape of your bathroom and what it can accommodate. When showering in my long, rectangular-shaped marital home bathroom, I occasionally used the doorway jumperoo.  If I had had a bathroom like I do here at the house I am renting while we go through divorce, I could have put C-Man in his full-size jumperoo in the bathroom with me and let him go to town. Alas, he was almost 14 months old by the time we moved here and his jumperoo has remained disassembled and in its box since the move (note to self:  I probably should try and sell that thing!).

Place 'em in a high-chair and let 'em snack and/or play.  This is great when you're on a time crunch; your child needs to eat, yet you need to shower. C takes forever to eat a single waffle sometimes and recently, I've resorted to pulling his high chair into the bathroom with me so that I could do my hair and makeup while also keeping an eye on him while he ate at his infuriating snail's pace.  He thought it was great that he was eating in a new room of the house and we made it to where we needed to be that day on time.  If your bathroom can accommodate this one, you could even take this idea to the next level on occasion by using this time as the perfect opportunity to let your baby play with their food while stripped down to just their diaper.  You can shave your legs and your baby can drive cars through pudding on their chair's tray, maybe?  If a mess ensues (and it will), you're already in the bathroom for an easy clean up or even a bath for baby if necessary.

Put 'em in a play yard or play pen. Bathroom accommodating of course; either in the same space as you or at least right there in your line of sight as you shower with the door open. I don't use a play pen or equivalent myself, so I have no idea how this may go exactly. It is just something I read online as an idea to try.  As I write this, I do envision myself diving out of the shower in a panic to stop my child from trying to escape said play yard/pen ... so I'm thinking this idea may only work with a young baby who's not yet a climbing, escape-artist, monkey-child.

If you can't confine 'em, baby proof and provide entertainment.  As I briefly mentioned above, I keep a tub of water-proof/safe toys in my bathroom for C (mostly mega blocks and a few random other plastic toys that I try and rotate regularly to keep it "fresh").  My bathroom is also safe enough where he can't get into too much trouble if he loses interest in the kid friendly fun.  The rare times I've forgotten to remove the TP roll or box of tissues from his reach, he has papered my bathroom but it wasn't a big deal; I saw him "redecorating" the joint with tissue through the curtain, but I continued on with my shower because it was harmless fun for him and a small inconvenience for me (a mess of my own making, really).

I was just practicing wiping my face, Mommy!

Mix up the above mentioned techniques and maybe add some sound. Keep your baby/toddler on their toes and change up the entertainment. Or at least keep being shut up in the bathroom with you while it gets hot and steamy interesting. If your child seems to be loathing the swing routine while you shower, try the door jumper instead the next time.  Or if keeping them confined seems to be cramping their style and you're met with wailing protests of boredom halfway through your bathroom routine, try letting them play freely with some toys instead. You could also play music via a shower radio or iPhone placed somewhere strategically (up high and away from water!) or you could just sing yourself.  If your child is getting antsy and starting to fuss or whine, try playing peek-a-boo with the shower curtain or towels (warning:  if he/she isn't confined, they may read this game as an invitation to either join you in the shower somehow, or at least think his/her toys should join you).

Well, that's all I've got for now. Don't you worry though, this "Single Phenom Mom" section for surviving motherhood with your sanity in check is a new feature of my blog that I do plan to continue!

What do you do when you have to shit, shower or shave? Any of the above or something different?  


  1. Lately I have been taking Kat in our shower while i shower in the morning. We have a bath mat down, i give her the bucket of bath toys and put her on the far end of the shower/tub. the only thing i have to be careful is she sometimes tries to stand up, but the mat is pretty grippy so we havent had any spills yet. but i usually distract her with a wash cloth puppet, we have a couple. and then she gets her daily clean in, otherwise we only do baths 2 times a week or when warranted by smell or just messy/ poopy/ stickyness.

    1. Glad you mentioned the slip-proofing for the bottonm of your tub. That's key if you're going to introduce a tot to showers!

  2. Awesome..... My little Phi used to come in the shower with me when I had to... Although at the time I was not a single parent she still would come in and be like daddy what are you doing and then attempt to climb in the shower with me fully clothed. So after a while I just started taking her in the shower with me for a few and used it as her bath time so that I didn't have to do it later on in the day... Quite frankly Phi like to take a shower over taking a bath. There were a few times where I would come out of the shower and there would be TP all over the bathroom floor but I just laughed it off most of the time and rolled it back up... Much of the time though her mother was around to entertain her so that I could shower in peace and I would attempt to do the same for her mom (although Phi is a mommy's girl and always found a way into the bathroom to annoy her). But it is a learning process... Now that my kids are old enough to leave me the hell alone in the bathroom it makes life a little bit easier. Although my boy Madd dog does sometimes open the door at their mothers house while im doing my business... It eventually gets easier and you can leave them be for 15 to 20 while you take care of your stuff. I still leave the door open a crack just in case I would hear a thump or a crash and go sliding out of the shower crash into everything in the bathroom and make my way out to see what happened in my birthday suit sometimes... It was interesting I will say the least...

    fun post Phe
    Ill Grizzly

    1. I'm looking forward to the days ahead when I can confidently leave my little guy in a safe place OUTSIDE of the bathroom while I shower alone sans the pummel of mega blocks! In the meantime, I think I have got a good system going and I hope sharing this posts helps some other desperate parent out there just dying to pee in peace. If anything, I hope the post is entertaining to read. Oh the trials of being a parent! We've got to laugh at ourselves! :)

  3. This post SIIIIINGS to me. I never knew how much I would miss alone bathroom time. I took it for granted! Silly me. Sigh. I've even been known to 'hold it' for a few hours until my husband came home just so I could have a few minutes with the door closed. It's worth it.

    1. LOL! That's not healthy! I understand the desperation for alone time completely though.

  4. When my kids were younger, I would try to only shower when they were sleeping. That quickly passed. I tried the bouncer in the bathroom and opening the curtain and dripping all over them to turn it back on. That didn't last either.
    The only way that I can shower is if I put the baby gate up in their room and turn on a DVD.
    The small TV in there is only used for this purpose but it works wonders. They love it and I get to shower and actually rinse the soap from my hair, most of the time.


    1. I am such a mommy-brain-space-cadet sometimes, I think that I might rinse, lather and repeat 5 times on occasion. Whoops.


Have something insightful or intelligent to contribute? Please do. A diverse variety of comments ranging from praise to criticism are welcome here, so long as we all play nice and refrain from hostile hate compounded by ignorance.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...