“I’m going to get in the shower.”
“What about mine?”
“Huh? You have three hours until you have to leave for work, you’ll have plenty of time. I haven’t had a shower since Monday, because my period’s been so heavy. Or maybe it was even Sunday, I can’t really remember. Can you?”
“Whatever. Go. Just don’t waste all the hot water. Like you always do.”
Heaven forbid this mom gets clean. Ever! I’m sure the fact that it’s Friday and I told you how gushy my shark week is when telling you how long I’ve gone without washing myself, is grossing you out. Unless you’re a middle-aged mom with four rambunctious and ostentatious children. Then you probably understand. I don’t want to make a mess trying to clean myself, because that’s all that happens when your shower is interrupted five hundred billion times and you have to hop out to shoo random lock poppers out before they flush on you when you’re on your period. Tampons are NOT my friend. I’m Fertile Myrtle and have gotten pregnant with every form of non-semi-permanent birth control, so I will not jeopardize my IUD’s well being with another foreign object with strings that could entangle (more improbable than getting pregnant on Depo Provera, which is how Stinx got here, so I’m good with my paranoia.) just to prevent any dripping. Sorry Not Sorry.
Besides all those facts, I don’t care whether I’m stinky for four days because no one’s gonna get that close to me to smell anything other than a little B.O., a tinge of perfume from that trip to the grocery store when I couldn’t find my deodorant, and stale cigarette smoke (DON’T. Go. THERE.), which my kids lovingly know as “mom’s smell” and find olfactory comfort in breathing. I’m NOT a young, hot thing barely in my twenties and drunk, high, stoned, rollin’, trippin’, whacked, or eight-ballin’. No one, under any circumstance, is having any kind of intimate relations with me while on my period. Ewww! Gross! Dee-s’guhs-ting, as my 7yo daughter likes to say when she’s disgusted by something. My hubs completely agrees, as well. It is just nasty. Not judging those who do… but, as I’m gagging on the thoughts I’m writing about, it isn’t our preferred cup o’ tea.
After gathering clean towels and clothes, I am forced to set off in search of all my shower necessities, because why should those things stay kapput in the bathroom where they belong?! All of which, with total certainty, wandered off in Stinx’s chubby little fists or Miss Wannabe-too-grownup-for-her-Britches’ pockets and purses over the past four, maybe (?!¿¡) five, days since my last shower- tweezers, wide-tooth comb, acne cream, favorite smelling body lotion, deodorant, and foot exfoliating/smoothing filing pad thingy I was once regifted. Honestly, I don’t have a clue where the always classy, perfectly groomed and gorgeously styled, women get their energy, free time, or motivation from, in order to make themselves up like that every day. Not the rich or famous who get other people to do the work for them and put little effort into their appearance with their own hands. I’m talking about the average middle class woman who always keeps herself perfectly put together. I.Just.Can’t. Even when I do give it a whirl on a Blue Moon occasion, I end up coming away looking more like a Mimi from The Drew Carey show than a Jennifer Aniston. I can’t transcend into swanky posh to save my life. I do the world a favor by sticking with my rumpled, stained, and holey jeans with fitted tanks layered under worn thin t-shirts. My kind of elegant messy bun is a knotted, half ponytail-half bun flip thingy (that was SO cool to wear by the dancers and cheerleaders back in high school, like 15yrs ago.) on the top of my head, which I’ve, also, slept in and left untouched for a few days to make it look so
wild, crazy, and cavewomen-ish gorgeous and stylish.
When I’ve tracked down all the dreadfully necessary products to help me achieve the all natural, zombified-state-of-exhaustion and caffeinated-blood-induced-acne look life has cursed me with, I lock the bathroom door. For a moment, the buffered silence seems wrong. Panic sweeps through me as if I’m forgetting something, something catastrophic to the kids’ well-being and safety in the moment. It is quickly relieved with the echoes of shrill laughter creeping in from under the door. They aren’t babies and are more than capable of handling themselves for twenty minutes, especially with the Hubs out there with them, but the mother hen I am doesn’t trust anyone to be responsible for my chicks except me. I go to turn on the shower as I convince myself that a tornado will not cross paths with our house far from tornado alley… well, ughh, sorta, and discover that the faucet is bone dry, regardless of how far I turn the damn handle. The bolt holding the handle in place keeps coming loose due to water pressure issues caused by a leak in the pipes behind the walls. I go get the Hubs to tighten all the handles and return the hot water to it’s spout for me. Then he’s got the nerve to tell me to hurry up and finish showering, as if I’ve already been in there getting clean for hours without an ounce of water! So I threw a rubber ducky at the back of his head, as he shut the door on his way out. Then I hooked the lock back in place.
Water running, shower essentials in place, clean clothes and dry towels waiting, I finally got into the shower. Twenty five minutes after I first attempted to do so. I tell my nerves to go to hell, because regardless of what chaos is bound to ensue, I deserve some time alone to take care of my own needs and I can deal with everything else better when I’m feeling refreshed. The dirtier I feel, the moodier I become, as with any other normal human from a first world country upbringing. Hot water pounding against my ball instantly drowns out the nagging voice in the back of my head trying to turn every muffled sound under the door into something to go into hysterics over. Tensions, which have built up precariously, begin to subside, spiraling down the drain with the crud and muck washing from my body, grounding my spirit and centering mind and soul with heart, for the first time in days. The world around me fades away, as I lose myself within the peaceful calm. My thoughts are contrarily focused for a change, allowing me a chance to sort through personal issues I’ve swallowed for the sake of keeping my last remaining bit of sanity recently, because having four kids to raise does not grant time for anything which isn’t dedicated to their wants, needs, and circus acts.
Fully lost in the paradise of this time alone, without any kids, without anyone being able to use me for themselves, the sound of the door rattling startles me so badly, I bump my head against the tile after losing my balance from jumping a mile, almost slipping and falling flat on my ass. I regain my composure just as the lock pops and the door flies open. Trying to be still, I listen intently to figure out just who it is that has disrupted my tranquility. Of course, it’s the Hubs. The biggest pest of them all. The toilet seat lifts, so I remind him not to flush, but to shut the lid still, so I don’t have to see his piss as soon as I step out, as I set to work shaving my pits. He starts telling me something about the soccer match he’s enthralled with, and I just mmm-hmmm along, silently wishing for him to get the hell out and let me bathe alone again before I stick the toilet plunger down his throat and out his rear end! He putzes through his business, turns the sink on and not only washes his hands, but begins brushing his teeth, as well. My sanctuary was officially tainted. His tooth brushing is the worst thing ever for my inner calm, because he’s an avid obsessive-compulsive tongue brusher who scrubs the entire surface area, all the way to the back of his throat, until his gag reflex activates, causing the most mysophonic nerve response to go off like a nuclear bomb in my head.
Just as I was about to explode, the Hubs finally walked out, shutting the door behind him. I’ll forever ask myself now, “Why in God’s name didn’t I jump out and lock the door then?” Sure as the sky’s blue, the grass is green, and the sun is so flipping bright we just call it yellow, Stinx comes barging in only minutes later. She needs to go pee. I throw her out after her toilet business is all finished and hit the lock. Back in the shower, I rinse the conditioner that’s probably soaked about 15 minutes longer than the recommended 3-5, apply my face mask, and lather up my legs for a shave when what do I hear? Again?! Someone knocking on the bathroom door. This time it’s Bean. She needs to go poop. So I’m forced to open the lone bathroom door in our house to let her in. I go back to shaving my legs and apply way more shaving cream and lavendar baby oil than necessary in hopes of masking my daughter’s ferociously putrid, noxiously odorific, booty stank. No such luck. It only amplified the stench, to my dismay. It was a relief to have to move out of the way rather quickly when I heard that toilet flush, because being scalded momentarily was a way better fate than withstanding the smell of rotten eggs mixed with road kill coming from my pretty little princess’ daintly puckered asshole.
At this point in my shower, I don’t even remember what’s been washed and what’s left. I’ve cut my legs three different times while shaving due to theresident drama queen, Stinkbomb Girl, startling me to death with her random ear-piercing shrieks over spying cobwebs in which she thought invisible, non-existent spiders were resting on in preparation to jump onto her face and suck her blood until she withers and dies. I got into the shower to wash the blood off of me, not create open wounds to add to the mess my period was already making! As I rinse off the face mask and wash my face with the expensive crap that’s supposed to treat this raging case of acne this body of mine has decided to relive from my teen years, I try to find some level of inner calm once more. I’m forced to shut my eyes during the whole process, unless the searing, burning, needle-to-the-eye pain of not only basic soap ingredients, but the acidic and oxidized chemical compounds used for acne and anti-aging treatments, too, one day becomes a pleasurable and enjoyable experience for myself, that is. This necessity is a welcome palliation after so many intrusions on the one and only place I can find solitude in my life as a sahm. There’s something about standing completely under steamy hot, running water with my eyes closed which lets me shut off the tangible physical world and turn on a level of subconsciousness, slightly deeper than a daydream, where I meld with the universe, free of all my earthly troubles. It is one of my most favorite feelings to feel.
Of course, the Curse Of My Life, just like with the last fifteen minutes and every other shower I have attempted to take, brings this ever so brief moment of Zen, to an abruptly chilled end. While I was floating freely through my mind in total bliss, the hot water tank decides to run out of it’s coveted contents, letting the cold water dominate the pipes once more. My head gets blasted, shattering the dreamy rumination I was trying to lose myself within. Whether I was done or not, whether I liked it or not, my shower was over with. All attempts at enjoying a moment of solitude had failed and any further opportunity to try again went down the drain, along with the anticipation build-up and burst bubbles of sacrificed dreams in the name of motherhood. My mood was soured worse than it was when I was on my fourth day of baby wipe bird baths to keep my body odor at bay until I could find just the right moment to steal for my shower. This was pivotally discovered to be not the right moment, after all. With that thought, the door is knocked on once more and there stands my oldest son, looking absolutely dumbfounded at the sight of me wrapped in a towel, glaring at him.
“Oh. The water turned off, so I thought you were done in here.”
Not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to common sense, this boy of mine is. The fact that I was wet and naked when I shut the water off, didn’t make a difference to him. He thought I would somehow transport myself out of the bathroom the second the water cut off without addressing the matter of fact above. I shut the door, for the umpteenth time, without so much as a word to him. He knew better. Before I could even flip the lock or move away from the door, it flew back open on me. Well, as open as it could, with my feet turned into a scraped raw human flesh door stopper. The Hubs pokes his head around to see what the problem was.
To this very day, I wholly regret not throat punching him at that moment. Or sporking him in the taint.
Everyone thinks the life of a stay at home mom is so simply grand, and, we should all be able to pull off the Jackie O meets Marilyn Monroe appearance on a daily basis. We have so much time on our hands…..yeah, right! Even if there was enough time for me to selfishly dedicate to making myself clean and fancy every day, there wouldn’t be enough hot water or bathroom time available, until I can hit the Lottery and afford a house with more than one full bath in it and a hot water tank big enough to hold enough water. Now do you see why I’m only seen wearing clothes that could pass off as pajamas if an impromptu slumber party ever went down with the other showerless moms at the playground or story time at the library? Why bother ruining a perfectly good *insert name of famous designer* outfit that can go from day to evening with a simple unbutton switcheroo flip around of sorts with my b.o. and flaky, oily, clogged pore skin? The money I save in makeup, hair products, and clothing all goes towards buying the twentieth dollar store helium balloon because my toddler can’t even make it across the parking lot before untying it from her wrist and promptly screaming body murder over it’s ascent into the atmosphere, as far away from my limp hair, sasquatch-level overgrown eyebrows, and frumpy clothing as possible. I can’t say I can blame it, either. Hell, most days I wish, desperately, to grab hold of the string and fly away from my unwashed self, too. Unfortunately, these much cleaner and way cuter creatures, who waste all the hot water and prevent me from having any privacy or uninterrupted thoughts, coupled with their father’s desire to be the one who steals my last marble of sanity, force me to sacrifice my own cleanliness for their happiness. Those smiles and giggles, when everyone’s getting along and having fun make anything worth the struggle, because it is the sound of family. My family. The family who finds comfort and a safe harbor in the familiar scent of mom. Even, though, mom just happens to be a few days unshowered.
Being a mom is not easy. Being a mom is full of challenges and struggles. Being a mom means sacrificing time for oneself- time to unwind and relax, time to deal with life’s own mysteries and crises, time to cope and heal, time to let go, move on, or hold tight. The time spent skipping showers, I already know, won’t last forever, because the kids will grow up before I’m ready. Until the day comes when I can claim the hot water tank as solely mine, you are just going to have to deal with the stinky, rumpled, dirty mess of a mom I am, especially during Shark Week. This mom’s got much better things to do…. like raising her kids to remember to take their own baths and showers every day!
By: Kristina Hammer, aka, The Angrivated Mom