At twenty-two months, my son was recently experiencing a “clingy” stage. It was a Saturday afternoon, and admittedly, it had been a couple of days since my last shower. After all, a shower is a parental luxury, is it not? I thought I could take that precious four minute shower while I left my son in his room to play with his toys. However, since he was in this ultra-attached-to-mom phase, leaving him in his room was not happening.
So I thought, “Well, I’ll let him come into the bathroom while I shower. I can close the door which is already child-proofed from the inside, so he can’t get out. Just to be sure he is occupied for that luxurious four minute shower I am planning for myself, I will even let him bring a ball to bounce.”
The next four minutes transpired like this: Thirty seconds into my shower, I hear, “Ball, ball, ball,” in a bit of a whiny voice. As an expert of the four minute shower, I am already covered in shampoo and soap at this point. I guessed that the ball accidentally bounced into the bathtub, as our tub and shower are separate. I figured it would be better to step out of the shower and fetch the ball for him as the tub is too deep and dangerous for him to grab the ball on his own. This would prevent further whining, right? Then I can continue on with my fabulous, relaxing four minute shower!
So without taking the time to rinse myself off, turn off the water, nor wipe myself down, I stepped out, grabbed the ball for him, and handed it over. Luckily, I avoided getting the shampoo and soap into my eyes. Sixty seconds have now gone by. Back into the shower I go. Twelve seconds later, the whining has now progressed to outright crying. “What the heck?” I think to myself. It turns out that my son slipped on the now wet tile because I did not bother to wipe myself down! How dare I fetch that ball for him!
So what do I do now? Number one: there is definitely no time to shave! Don’t even think about it, Cel! But do I rinse off the shampoo and the soap? Do I risk making things worse than they already are by not rinsing off? What if I don’t rinse off, the soap gets into my eyes, I step out of the shower, I can’t see, I slip, and I fall on top of my son, crushing him and subsequently rushing to the local hospital emergency room?
Afterwards, I questioned every step I took and replayed the incident in my head over and over again. “If only I had just let him cry it out in his room, this would not have happened.” “What could I have done differently?” “Gosh, I’m such a terrible mom.” “Why do I even bother to attempt a shower? It wasn’t relaxing in the least!”
What I have learned and I hope to portray to you is this: Do not beat yourself up about it! As parents, all we can do is try our best, and we have to remember that we are doing better at parenting than we think we are. Seriously. Yes, seriously.
So what happened? My non-luxurious, non-relaxing shower lasted four minutes. I allowed myself enough time to rinse off, all the while hearing his crying. Aside from not showering altogether, I still don’t know how I would do it differently next time.