Picture the scene. It’s dinner time and the kids are fighting. They fight over who has more food, who has more water, who has the nicer cup/plate, who finishes first, who is the better eater, you get my drift. They then start to complain about the contents of their dinner. Everything is “de-gusting” according to Ludoo and Flump has a nervous breakdown if she spots an onion or tomato on her plate. They also start demanding “extras” such as bread, milk, cheese, biscuits, chocolate…anything other than what I have placed on their plates. They are determined to prevent me from sitting down or having a cup of tea. I am simply there to serve them. So I do what any self-respecting mum would do. I retreat to the only safe place that I know. The toilet. It is the one place where I can legitimately get away with shutting the little people out for a few minutes. It’s a temporary oasis of peace and calm. A few minutes of pure unadulterated bliss, until they start banging their fists on the door and demanding that I come out.
Sometimes I just like to sit there, close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. It’s almost a form of meditation. At other times I like to catch up on my phone messages and emails. We all do it (although I draw the line at answering phone calls in the loo)! Given the opportunity I’d spend much longer in there, as it’s a way to escape the domestic madness that so often engulfs my home. I always used to think it strange when I went to other people’s homes and they had books in their bathrooms. Now I get it. What luxury to be able to sit in the loo for half an hour and read a book! Pure joy! Instead, the longest I can stretch it out for is five minutes (very occasionally ten minutes if the kids are distracted) before the squealing and fighting gets out of hand.
We all need a hiding place. Somewhere to take a break and compose ourselves. The bedroom or any other room in the house rarely works as the kids have access to these spaces. We need a bit of privacy now and then, even from our kids. At around 5pm the whinging can reach epic proportions in my home and that’s when I normally make my toilet getaway. It’s wonderfully therapeutic. Similarly, if you work in an office the bathroom can be the perfect place to take some time out, assuming there are no unpleasant odours.
Modern parenthood is incredibly busy and, at times, chaotic. Finding a place of refuge in your home is, in my view, critical for one’s sanity. In an ideal world I would meditate in a candle lit bathroom, whilst taking a soak in the tub. Back in the real world I have to make do with five minutes of quiet thinking time in the loo. Nonetheless it’s five minutes well spent. We all have moments when we feel like we are on the edge of a meltdown and retreating to the toilet could just bring us back to a calm, happy place.