My schedule is tighter these days, and my bathroom is no longer my own. There’s a stool my kids use to reach the toilet and sink. A brightly colored shower curtain that, rather than conveying a calm and peaceful aesthetic, screams “There are children here!” Opportunities to regularly shower, let alone occasionally relax in a warm bath, are few and far between. When even the chance of a chance of a little adult time presents itself, I take what I can get.
I gather up my candle, bath pillow, and a clean, fluffy towel. Well, it’s not exactly clean. But it’s been drying off what I hope are clean bodies, fresh from their own baths, since the last time I did a load of towels.
There’s a tray that lays across the tub so I can read a book and have a place for my glass of wine. I pour myself a glass past the fill line and search my bedroom for my book. I know it’s in here. I started reading it eight months ago, but I know it hasn’t left this room. Did it end up in the diaper bag? It couldn’t possibly have. What would make me think there was going to be enough of a lull in a trip out of the house that a book would end up in the diaper bag?
As I flick on the bathroom light, the bright fluorescent light threatens to kill the mood. With no dimmer switch, a plug-in nightlight from my son’s room proves a decent substitute. Spiderman’s shining eyes emit a calming glow.
Striking a match, I light my candle. It’s the same one I use to hide the smell of the fridge and to make our kitchen smell like I bake things when company shows up. The label says the scent is called “Homemade Cookies,” but it might as well be called “Vanilla AF.”
Upon pulling back the shower curtain before I fill the tub, I see that whoever was in there last left bath crayon drawings on the wall and didn’t clean out the drain. There’s an assortment of slimy bath toys scattered about, and I toss them into the sink and grab the cleaning spray. I don’t mind the fumes; they’re actually relaxing. I spray a little more into the air.
After I scrub down the bathtub, I turn on the water and realize there aren’t any bath bombs or salts on hand. Digging through the cabinet, I find a bottle of Paw Patrol bubble bath. I unscrew Chase’s head and turn him upside down, watching the blue liquid pour from his neck, transforming into a cloud of tutti-frutti foam beneath the running water. Between that smell, the Vanilla AF candle, and the cleaning spray, I’ve got a nice buzz going.
Peeling off a tank top leftover from the maternity pile and leggings that should be able to walk on their own by now, I open the hamper to toss in my clothes. And what do I find? My book! I should have known. My toddler tosses everything she finds around the house in there like it’s Narnia.
Once I’m stripped down, I step into the bath. The water is lukewarm, and I remember that I ran the dishwasher while looking for my book. A little less-than-hot water isn’t going to deter me at this point though. I can taste the wine. After a while, I can just add some more hot water and heat everything up. This will not get in the way of my relaxing.
As I try to adjust to the temperature of the water, I finally take a long
sip chug of my chardonnay. It’s warmer than my bathwater, but it’s still wine. I hold the glass to my lips for another gulp and a little bit spills down my chin as I’m startled by my child bursting into the bathroom. “I need to go now!” Once comfortably seated on the toilet, he asks me what I’m doing, then asks if he can get in, noticing the bubbles. I tell him that, no, he cannot because this is Mommy’s alone time, and if I don’t have some alone time, I’m going to be really grumpy and yell all the time.
“But you’re already really grumpy and yell all the time.”
I wonder why, ya jerk.
Back in the tub, back with my wine, book open, enough time has passed that the hot water should be replenished. The bubbles have mostly dissolved by now, but a few new ones are created as I turn on the faucet. Hot water pours from underneath a rubber whale, a covering meant to keep our kids from concussing themselves when they’re splashing every drop of water in the bath onto the floor. My body relaxes as the temperature rises.
I tip back the remainder of my wine and try to remember what was happening in my book the last time I cracked it open. The house is quiet, and my eyes start to feel heavy. My husband must have put the kids to bed by now, right? Right? The bubbles are completely gone now, and I release the lever for the drain with my toe.
Maybe I’ll opt for a nap next time, instead.
This post first appeared on Scary Mommy