Coming Out.

September 27th, 2011

“I think she’s in here”
Silence.
“Nope, maybe upstairs then”
Feet.
Darn I sigh…..they find me.

Is this normal? You know, to hide from your kids? I don’t mean the missing-in-action, type of hiding, where search parties scour muddy marshes. When everyone gives up looking, saying “oh well, we tried. She was nice enough, but watcha gonna do?” No I mean just a time-out. For me.

In the early days, the toilet was my only time-out. Call me mentally unstable (it’s not like I haven’t heard it before!) but the bathroom was my only sanctuary. I could shut the door, sit and breathe. No, not the freshest of air, but I would take any air over none at all. I find that mothers are good at hiding, in many ways. You may not all be crazy like me hide from your children in bathrooms, but ‘fess up ladies – we hide from each other, AND from ourselves!

Take for example the exasperated friend sharing troubles and strife, throwing arms up in surrender to her child’s bewildering tantrums. After knowing her for years I only now find out we share a common journey? Phew, her life isn’t just filled with organic vegetables, family yoga sessions, a plastic free kitchen, and everlasting patience. She does her best, but there are days she is simply buried. Just like me, and dare I say it- just like you.

You know that feeling of having fallen off the back of a truck, being run over it two or three times, then left to claw your way along a gravel road to the nearest friend who places the water of hope to your lips and revives your belief in the good of the world and that your children are not out to kill you? – Yeh, well guess what? I know that feeling too!

Mothers, come out come out wherever you are! Now I’m not suggesting we all run naked down the streets demanding better pay, more vacation days and sick leave. (One must be realistic) Nor do I suggest we leave the bathroom door open for all the world to see….but perhaps we could all meet in that space where you and I no longer need to hide in the shadows of what should be, but meet under the warm light of what is. A light just bright enough for me to see myself, in you. And you in me.

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  1. There really is no better hiding spot than the bathroom. Not that it’s such a great secret spot, but closing that door is sometimes divine. Great post! There is something so comforting in knowing you’re not alone.

  2. Meg says:

    Yes Hillary, we’re all in this together! (I just hope for the sake of other mothers, that their bathrooms are cleaner than mine)

  3. Jen says:

    What PERFECT timing!  I really needed to read this today…

  4. Kristen says:

    Thank you for the reminder that I am not alone in this crazy, overwhelming experience. Between the figments of imagination that Hollywood feeds us and the the facades that we put on for one another, it’s easy to forget that the real experience of motherhood is HARD…and that is NORMAL. I love my kids and they drive me crazy sometimes and that is okay. I wouldn’t trade them for all of the calmness in the world. :-)

  5. sarah says:

    love this call to vulnerability. there is no shame in sharing your humanness.

  6. Veronica says:

    Thank you…I couldnt have said it better myself…Although the bathroom is not my safe zone..my nightly walk with music in my ears to drown all sounds of the outside world out..is!!!  I always tell people it is the hardest job there is …to be a mother….also…underpaid, underappreciated, and sometimes even un healthy due to lack of sleep, lack of time, lack of piece of mind…and at times i count the days till they are off to college…but shortly after….I cant ever imagine not having them around!!  My house is a zoo…filled with four legged animals…teenagers that act like wild animals…but I love it!

  7. Heulwen Renshaw says:

    Oh! I’ve been there, know every nook & cranny of it. It was only when one of the children mentioned getting engaged that my brain ( had me thinking selfish thoughts) nearly went into overdrive.. I could visualise actually ‘sitting down’ and reading a book, going for a walk on my own, having time to think, and choosing clothes that I liked. It was chaos every morning before my daughter went to work, clothes strewn on the bed, trying this and trying that. It was up to me to try and fathom what had been worn before and what was clean, and tidy up. She used to phone me to tell me she would not be home for tea and would I please switch on her electric blanket. this I did anyway, until one day, I left her clothes on the bed and went to work. On coming home I’d forgotten all about it, went to switch on her blanket, noticed the pile of clothes..and walked out again,(felt guilty? Yes!!)but after that I had no more problems. It’s only when they leave home to get married that it hits you..the loneliness (I had brought them up on my own since they were 7 & 8 years old). and still there was something I wanted to cling to, which wasn’t there any longer. Which makes one wonder..if it was them really that had kept me going anyway, not having time to think about the sad times. It’s only when we’re much older that we realise that it was a labour of love, and there is nothing better for your morale than the good feeling of love. Life? yes, it can be trying and it takes time for us to unwind after bringing up children, but they’re a credit to us….and I do miss having them around, but tiny feet arrive…..Here we go again!!

  8. Paraskevi says:

     I wish the bathroom worked for me! Knock knock mom mom mom…MOM! Ergh!

  9. Jenn says:

    Thank you for your vulnerability and invitation for the rest of us to share ours too! Beautiful.

  10. Nicole says:

    A bathroom with a two way door- certainly no shield from the wild ones. Love them but need just a moment…to..breathe. 

  11. Ana says:

    Oh my…this is so true.  I have three little boys and on weekends mornings I try to crawl out of my room with the skill of a secret agent to try to get one hour of quiet before they are up.  

  12. Salina says:

    Yep, The bathroom is my spot to get some clarity! I get lots of revelation from The Throne on MY THRONE. 

  13. Andrea More says:

    …OMG–that’s exactly where I’m reading this from now!How funny and comforting. Andrea

  14. Liz says:

    Thank you for writing this. In a world where everyone seems “perfect” and at peace-  I appreciate the honesty!

  15. Molly Skyar says:

    We call the period between between 4-6pm “The Witching Hour” and it’s a very good time to find a place to hide. Dr. Susan Rutherford, a Clinical Psychologist suggests bathtime as an activity to calm everyone’s nerves (http://ConversationsWithMyMother.com/when-a-parent-needs-a-time-out/)…. or if you can hire a babysitter for a few hours to help during that time. Sometimes we need a time-out too… and the bathroom is always the first place they look! Thanks for sharing, Meg.

  16. Jenergy says:

    Hahahaha it’s funny because it’s true!!!

  17. Ha Ha! Yes, I remember the days of locking the bathroom door, just for a moment! Like some of your readers though, mine would just stand outside the door and cry! Thank you for sharing your story. It’s entertaining, fun and engaging!I have to add that I am very grateful to have found a way to have my time and energy back, while at the same time, empower my children to a little more independence.