I used to want it all. The career, the husband, the house, the kids, the white picket fence, the opportunity to travel, the nice clothes. Yes, I used to want it all. Now I just want to pee alone.
My list of things I used to enjoy doing alone is getting bigger. Which means my list of things I can still enjoy by myself is dwindling rapidly.
I never used to think about getting dressed in the morning. Then a 15 month old moved into my house and learned to walk. Once he found his sea legs he toddled straight for me and never looked back. So I moved my morning dressing into the walk in closet. Then the toddler grew taller and could open doors and it was all over. Now I have two little voyeur's tracking my every move. And I have totally given up any attempt at privacy. Which is upsetting, at times, because I have one who pays no attention and couldn't care less and one who notices absolutely everything - and laughs.
I used to be able to shower alone. When the bathroom door opened at least I knew it was my husband, and I was OK with that. Now I shower with one foot pressed against the door to prevent the tiny toddler from sliding the glass door open. Which he manages to do anyways, sending blasts of cold air into my nice warm shower. And when I am not interrupted I am still on high alert, listening for screams or sounds of trouble from my two sweet boys. I fear I will one day wind up in the emergency room with an injury obtained from trying to shower while balanced on one foot while holding the door shut. And how will I explain that? One time, back in our home in Cleveland, I managed to somehow fling myself out of the bath tub and onto the floor, winding up with a very large, very nasty bruise on my arm. Try explaining that without mentioning how it happened and see how many people offer you a card for a women's shelter...
I used to cook alone. My husband has the good sense to stay out of the kitchen while I am cooking, or at least to sit at the kitchen table, well out of the way. Now at any given moment while cooking I have very loud, very fast car races passing through, under my feet. I have a tiny toddler repeatedly opening the pantry door and attempting to climb the shelves in search of the one food item I have not yet offered him. I have requests from the big five year old for chicken nuggets, the only food he currently deems worthy of eating. Sometimes I have two little kitchen helpers standing on heavy kitchen chairs, tearing the lettuce or laying out the potatoes. That's kind of nice, actually. Usually I have a tiny toddler on my hip who is hell bent on flinging himself into the pot of whatever is boiling on the stove top. I am covered in bruises from his little feet kicking me as I work hard to keep him on my hip, and not as close to the stove as he thinks he should be, or from being hip checked by the dishwasher door as he grabs the handle and pulls down on it with all his weight, riding it the floor.
I used to be able to actually browse while shopping. I could pick an item up, look at it, try it on even if I so wished. Now I race through the store with a tiny toddler strapped into either a stroller or the baby seat of the cart and a big five year old dancing around my feet. I am in constant fear of running him over with the cart and/or stroller. Grocery shopping was something my husband an I always did together, we even had an older woman stop us once to tell us how sweet she thought it was that we had so much fun together doing something so routine as shopping for food. We don't do that so much any more. But yesterday we did. In a moment of total weakness the whole family piled in the Equinator and pilgrimaged to Giant Eagle. The big five year old danced his way through every aisle, helping mommy shop and "going long" for tosses of bread and such into the cart. My sweet husband wandered off numerous times. The tiny toddler spent the entire time strapped into the cart, his little body twisted backwards as he stretched to grab everything from the cart and fling it back out onto the floor, where the dancing five year old was ready to pick it up and throw it back in, often from ten feet away. It's moments like that when I look at the cart full of food and think, "too many grapes and not enough vodka."
We've all been there. We used to have clean houses. We used to wear clean clothes. We used to be awake enough at the end of the night to have sex. We used to be spontaneous with our spouses; now it takes planning, phone calls, synchronized bedtimes, pardons from the governor and locked doors.
But there are a few things that I am happy to have company for these days. I never have to color alone, or eat ice cream without a little pal. I never have to watch cartoons by myself or fold laundry without my two little men popping up out of nowhere wanting the laundry basket to play "boat". Besides, always drinking coffee while it is hot or sleeping in until my body chooses to wake up isn't that important. Some days I miss my well planned peace and quiet life. But I'd miss the chaos more.