As a teacher, one of the simple joys of life that we are deprived of is being able to use the restroom when you need to. I know, it seems incomprehensible, yet, any teacher will tell you that they learn to train their bladder to go when they have lunch, or when they have a special area scheduled. When we are off on break, our bodies go all out of whack, and we actually FORGET to go to the bathroom.
When you are a mother, you never get to go the bathroom by yourself. You learn to nurse while sitting on the john, because, sometimes, you just have to go and you can't hear your newborn cry a second longer and waste the milk let down while you are, you know, going.
Or, how about the little fingers that wiggle under the door as you hide for the few seconds it takes to go? Or, when they finally figure out how to open the door and waltz in, oblivious that you are heeding nature's call? Or, the best of all, toilet training when you lack the necessary biological equipment to do a thorough job. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the bathroom holds all kinds of surprises and little horrors when we become parents.
But no greater indignity exists to any mother than having to use the restroom in public. With your kids. Who are boys. In the women's restroom.
Hubby was returning later this evening from his work travels. I had a Parent Teacher Organization meeting this evening. Luckily, we have babysitting available at these meetings so, the kids being there was not a problem. Feeding time at the zoo was held at a local burger joint that rewards good report cards with a free kids meal. SCORE! So we eat, and we head out to the meeting. Great, right?
Um, wrong. I had to go. BAD. And I had the kids with me. Lucky dog, you say. Wait. It gets better.
When I have had the unfortunate episodes of actually having to empty my bladder in public places and without the benefit of another adult, my boys and I have a simple enough system. When they were younger, and in less number, I would slip them inside the stall with me. Difficult, but do-able. Three boys aged 9, 7, and 3? Not so much.
So now, the system involves elaborate placement of feet pointing into the stall where I am, ahem, doing my business and I have tabs on everyone.
I prayed that there would be no one in the hallway in the preschool as I lugged all the meeting materials, the children and their accessories, and held my bladder. I ran into the building, only to discover two teachers talking in the hallway, waiting for the parents to show.
" Uh-oh...this is going to be a little harder," I think.
I smile, say hello and tell them I just need to duck into the bathroom. I unceremoniously dump my purse and stuff, and haul the children into the bathroom. Line them up outside the stall, paper the toilet seat, and proceed.
The conversation outside involves all kinds of silly things that boys talk about. I keep noticing that Joshua's feet are nowhere that I can see them.
Joshua finally becomes audible and eventually, I get a foot visual.
Then, the inevitable. "Mom, why does it smell so bad in here all of a sudden?" says my normally bright nine year old.
Have you ever just wanted to just fall into a toilet out of shame? Don't have any children yet?
How I managed to finish my business and walk out of there with any remaining dignity (and ignore my child's comments while not strangling him) is something that I will never know.
How those two teachers kept a straight face when I walked out is another story. One is a mother of a teenage boy. The other works with kids all day. We are kindred spirits, I guess.
And bathroom breaks are sacred among teachers, even if they are off the clock.