Thursday, March 6, 2008

Baby Nuthouse: give me this day my daily shower

It all started innocently enough.
I woke up one Tuesday morning feeling disoriented. The house was quiet, and I was alone.
Normally, I wake up in one of three ways:
1. Baby crying.
2. Child bouncing on my bed, saying, “C’mon Mom, let’s go downstairs!”
3. Child standing at bottom of steps, shouting, “MOM! COME DOWNSTAIRS!” Followed by baby crying.
When I listened more closely, I realized my husband was in the kitchen feeding the boys breakfast. The baby was still asleep.
This was my chance. An opportunity not to be squandered.
I crept quietly into the bathroom and…I took a shower.
In the morning.
On a weekday.
I realize that many Americans do this on a regular basis. For me, a weekday morning shower was a rare and precious luxury.
When I stepped out five minutes later, the baby was screaming, the boys were fighting, and I heard the rapid clip of my husband’s dress shoes as he rushed out the door.
None of this fazed me. I was clean! I was refreshed! I was awake!
I was hooked.
The next day, I sent the boys downstairs and promised them pancakes shaped like cars, with rainbow sprinkles on top, if only they would play quietly until I got there.
The morning after that, I pretended not to hear the baby starting to fuss as I turned on the faucet and stuck my head underneath the stream of water.
Before long, it got so that I didn’t feel complete without my daily shower. If I couldn’t sneak one in the morning, I’d slip into the bathroom during the baby’s nap. As a last resort I’d put the kids to bed early just to make sure I could fit a shower into my evening agenda.
Regular hygiene used to be such a simple matter. I would wake up each morning, take a shower, and get ready for the day. That was before I became a mom. People like to tell you how much your life is going to change when you have a baby, but no one had ever mentioned that showers would need to be scheduled in advance—and only evening and weekend appointments are available.
It was difficult enough to fit bathing into my day with one baby, and adding two more children to our family only made it harder. The days filled up quickly and I’d simply forget. I would notice my leg hairs resembled those of a 14-year-old boy, and I’d try to recall the last time I showered. Often, I couldn’t remember. I tried writing “take shower” in my daily planner, alongside the doctor visits and play dates. But even with this written reminder, by the time I put the kids to bed, fed the dogs, checked my email, did some dishes, ate a snack, talked on the phone, let the dogs out, picked up toys, talked to my husband, let the dogs in and threw the laundry in the dryer, I was ready to fall into bed. In that delicate balance between sleep and cleanliness, sleep usually won out.
For years, I just gave into this way of life. Every morning I splashed water on my face and slapped on another layer of deodorant. There were actually a few advantages to being on the every-three-days plan. I was saving water, energy and time. Plus, each shower became more meaningful. You know the feeling of cleaning up after a weekend camping trip? ALL of my showers were like that.
But ever since that glorious Tuesday morning when I started the day with clear eyes and wet hair, I can’t seem to go back to those ways. I’m not ashamed to admit it: I’m an addict. And I’ve got no plans to quit my once-a-day habit. So don’t try to stop me.


kersten campbell said...

I love this blog! You are tooo funny!

Anonymous said...

Amazing how a shower can make you feel so refreshed and alive--especially if you haven't gotten one in 2 or 3 days! I usually shower in the evening but it "wakes" me up--not a good thing when I need to get to bed and sleep before starting all over again in the morning. Once in a while, if I can get their naps coordinated, I exercise and then quickly shower before the baby wakes up. Most often though, I'm so exhausted that when they nap, mommy naps too! = ) I loved this blog entry and can totally relate!
Looking forward to laughing with your next entry!
Marcie = )