Blogger, Writer, Urban Adventurer
When you are pregnant with your first child, people are quick to dispense advice on the ways your life will change. “Better sleep now,” they say. “There goes your social life,” or “I hope you are ready for all of the poop.” People talked at length about their birth experiences, breastfeeding and general sleep deprivation. We got endless recommendations for brands to buy and accessories that promised to make everything easier. But you know what people never talked about? Showers. I know, I know. Why would they? Bathing is basic self-care, how could that possibly change, right? Wrong.
Like everything else in your life post-kids, showering is just not the same anymore.
Showers are both more AND less important than ever
Since becoming a mom, showering is definitely low on my list of things to do. It’s much easier to throw on some yoga pants and go. And without a traditional office job, I don’t have a daily reason to look pulled together. But finally after three kids, I have learned that something in me snaps if I go too long without a hot shower.
I remember talking to my friend who just had a newborn. She was exhausted and struggling—feelings I know all too well. I asked her when the last time she had taken a shower was and she couldn’t remember. My advice was to put the baby in the pack-n-play and jump in the shower for 10 minutes. She would be surprised how renewed she felt afterwards.
Our kids are older now, but the effect is still the same. When I don’t take time for myself, it takes its toll. I wind up tired and stressed and it will suddenly dawn on me that my last shower was three days ago. Not okay! I am a better parent when I can find ways to take timeouts throughout the day. Taking a shower means I’m not smelly at school pick up, but it also gives me some small moments of time alone. Without these breaks, getting through the day is so much harder.
You learn to bathe at lightning speed
On days that I do manage to squeeze a shower in, they are not long indulgent events. Oh no. I can shave my legs, wash and condition my hair in five minutes flat. My hearing has also gotten more keen and I can pick up on the kids fighting over the volume of the tablet from three rooms away. Nothing speeds up the scrubbing like the threat of sibling bloodshed.
Public showering—it’s a thing
I am not sure exactly how we became an open door bathroom family, but apparently we have no bathroom boundaries anymore. When I am in the shower, I can count on at least one child asking for a snack, someone opening the door to tattletale on their sibling or asking me to fix the kindle which has died. Any sense of modesty I had pre-kids is long gone. I’ve made peace with it, but do try to make sure everyone is well situated with full tablet batteries and nourishment before I sneak away to shower.
Showers usually mean mama has plans
I hardly ever take my showers first thing in the morning anymore, but it is still the key to making my curly hair presentable. These days, I simply value my sleep more than a shower and bouncy hair. Plus the messy bun is a perfectly acceptable school drop off ‘do. If I take a shower after 3pm and we have not gone to the gym that day, my kids know something is up. When they see me in real pants, make-up and my hair done in the afternoon, they pretty much know it’s babysitter time and this mama has a “meeting” tonight.
But, eh, it’s often okay to skip it
Even with all of this in mind, the fact remains that some days, a shower is just not worth it. There is a reason that active wear has become the unofficial uniform of moms everywhere. Some days pass in a blur of errands, laundry, school obligations and after school activities and that is okay. I know the sanctuary of the shower is waiting for me when I need it.