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You know what I miss about my pre-kid life? Having a quiet moment in the bathroom. Once upon a time, I took long baths with yummy bath bombs and oils and whatnot. I spent a lot of time in front of the bathroom mirror trying out new makeup looks or coloring my hair weird colors. The bathroom was my sanctuary.
After I had a baby, not so much. And these days, it seems I cannot even have a bowel movement in peace. Applying makeup happens in stages -- maybe some foundation before I am interrupted with a request to help fix a broken personal gaming system, then a little concealer before there’s a knock on the door and an urgent, “I hafta go to the bathroom!”
It can seem as if children take over every area of the house, but nowhere is square footage more precious than in the bathroom. In such a small room (mine is a mere 7 feet by 5 feet, including the bathtub), I found it is essential to set aside specific areas for everything, otherwise the bathroom becomes overrun with kid stuff.
In our tiny bathroom, I found that the best way to deal with the clutter was to store Oliver’s baby bathtub IN the real bathtub, and to put all his bath toys in a mesh bag affixed to the bathtub wall with a suction cup. Baby shampoo and any special soap went in a spot on the side of the tub.
Now that Oliver is eight, he mostly takes showers -- and he doesn’t use bath toys anymore. But with one tiny bathroom shared by three people, I still have not reclaimed that feeling of sanctuary I had pre-kid.
Here’s what I’m doing now to reclaim my bathroom as my happy place:
1. I have my own shelf in the shower, which contains my razor, face cleansing brush, my Alison-recommended exfoliating mitt, and some special bath products. This shelf is strictly off-limits to anyone else in my household. Like all mothers, I have a sixth sense for when someone is using my stuff without my permission. Oliver knows I will know if he lays his cute little fingers on my shelf -- so he doesn't dare.
2. I started keeping my everyday makeup essentials plus a small mirror contained in a cute makeup bag (I used to keep everything scattered between various storage receptacles) -- this means, when I get kicked out due to a bathroom emergency, I can pick up my bag and continue getting ready in another room.
3. I keep a special stash of cleaning wipes under the bathroom sink so that I can wipe things down quickly without feeling like I’m actually expending the effort to Clean-with-a-capital-C -- because with three people in one bathroom, things can get gross pretty quick.
4. I have implemented a new rule: no knocking on the door unless you legitimately cannot hold it, or you are bleeding out of your eyeballs. Better yet, I've started asking Oliver if he needs the bathroom before I even go in there.
5. I enforce the golden rule of bathroom etiquette: leave the place in the same condition as you found it, or better. That means no clothes on the floor, and put a new roll of toilet paper on the holder if necessary.
6. I plan to put some nice, smelly candles on the windowsill in the shower (this is Southern California -- we all have windows in our showers), with the intention of someday, maybe, taking a bubblebath again.
So far so good. But we are still working on the concept of what constitutes an emergency and whether my eight-year-old can wait five minutes to tell me about the funny thing he just saw on TV.
How about you? Do you have kids, and do you have no alone time anymore (in the bathroom or otherwise)? Any tips for your fellow readers who might be struggling to find their own space for alone time in the bathroom?
Somer is on Twitter: @somersherwood
Brought to you by Charmin Ultra Strong: We all go. Why not enjoy the go? This is a sponsored article created in partnership with Charmin.