I Used To Have Personal Hygiene.

I just read this great post by Leanne Shirtliffe: The Challenges of Showering When You Have Kids. And it reminded of that one time when I used to shower. Like, before I had teenagers. Before I had adolescents. Before I had babies. After I discovered that men prefer women who don't braid their armpit hair to keep odiforousness at bay. 

It was a pleasant memory. Glory days when I could just turn the water on, check the temperature, get in, lather, rinse, repeat, shave, get out, moisturize, dress, and hit the road. 


Then I had babies and learned to run the shower-gauntlet: Wake up after enjoying 5 consecutive minutes of sleep. Yawn and grunt something at mate who shares bed and has a lot to answer for. Entertain baby for a few hours–which largely involves nursing, burping, changing, and nursing. Then nurse baby until he/she/it falls asleep. Gently, so as not to awaken tiny tot, place baby back into crib. Hold breath and tiptoe from room. (ohpleaseohpleaseohplease). Pause, listen at door, then make exaggerated tip-toe cartoon run down hall, screech around corner and simultaneously nab clothing from floor. Slam the shower on, jump in without disrobing–you can do that as you lather–try not to shriek as ice water hits  back of neck, wad hair into ball on top of head and squirt a quart of aromatic Shampoo/Conditioner onto head allowing foamy suds to sluice down self as you shimmy from clothes and kick dripping mess out onto floor. Get ready to rinse whole thing off–having taken just 1.3287 seconds to get from wash to slosh–when tiny tot's dulcet hollar erupts from baby monitor. So you jump out of shower–spraying herbal foam everywhere–slip and slide into a towel, run down the hall like lightening because if you can get the pacifier back into kid's mouth before he/she/it fully wakes up you might get a second or two to rinse the rest of the suds off so you don't have to go around scratching all day and sporting a head full of soapy snowflakes, see that kid has herked up everything you just lovingly fed him/her/it, realize you'll have to launder everything and start again, then sit down, sigh, and plan elaborate hairdo designed to hide shampoo residue.

Gosh, I miss that.

Because now what I have is this:

Teenager is out late going to Prom but I haven't gone to bed yet because I just can't quite get myself to do that when, as I have mentioned here before, my little dudelettes are out and about in the night. Other teenager is out babysitting and . . . see above. College kid is in the wilderness on movie set (which is college kid's field of study) and was supposed to be back by midnight but it is 2:00 a.m. and she is still not answering her cell phone. Littlest dude wakes up and can't fall back asleep, so he decides not to leave me out of it. He climbs out of bunk bed and then comes to my room to stand and stare at me. That's all. Just stare. He does that until I wake up because I have this dream in which someone is standing in my room staring at me. So I have to coax him back to bed, lock the front door behind my two teens (finally), try to keep my voice calm when college kid eventually notices my 43 calls and 18 texts on her phone and calls to let me know that no bears ate her, speak soothingly to husband who wakes up in the midst of it all but is the kind of guy whose mind takes off if he fully engages in the middle of the night and we don't want that as then both of us will be up, and then stare at the ceiling counting the number of times the floor creaks in the hall and wondering if this little house will survive the earthquake everyone says is coming.

The result of all of this is that I wake up the next morning too late to go to the gym on my normal schedule so I have to go midmorning. Then when I'm done I am behind on my house cleaning, my writing, my errands, and my dinner preparations. So something has to go. Usually it's the shower. Which I then try to squeeze in between buying milk and taking kid to violin.

I think the solution is for me to get a job. A job with a company gym and shower on the premises. It's the only way I'm going to be clean. Besides, I also need a place to sleep. And I can always hire someone else to do the worrying. 


About Janiel 433 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


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