I just want to take a shower.

I just want to take a shower.

“So, go take a shower.” You say.

Easier said, than done. I used to cherish the minutes I would spend under the stream of hot water. I thought nothing of the daily stress I placed on our water heater as I bled it dry of its steamy liquid relaxation. Now I’m lucky if both legs get shaved.

I’ve tried waking up early to take a shower. The first problem with this strategy is, well, waking up early. That’s an easy struggle to overcome once you realize that your hair has begun to form it’s own natural version of baby oil and starts adhering to your scalp. The second problem is much more difficult to remedy. What I am referring to here is, of course, “the Mom alarm.” You know, when your child(ren) is(are) in a deep sleep and the second your feet hit the floor, they sky rocket out of their beds and immediately require that all their basic needs be met…by you…and your hair…that will now be stuck to your head for at least another few hours.

I’ve tried taking a shower during the brief overlapping period while all my children are napping. Those precious minutes, those sweet quiet seconds, two tiny hours on the best day, are completely necessary if my family wants dinner on the table and clean clothes. If I skip dinner preparations, my husband turns into a giant grumpy toddler unable to express himself beyond caveman speak. “Hungry. Must eat now. Grunt. Whimper.” If I skip laundry for longer than two days, the piles of clothing get so high that anything beyond just burning the house down seems insurmountable. Most importantly, when the house is finally quiet at 1pm and my children have already spent 6 hours draining the life out of me, I’ve already relinquished myself to a dirty pony tail and avoiding all mirrors.

When my twins were younger toddlers and less able to operate door knobs, I could take a shower whenever I liked. All I had to do was plop them down on the floor with a box of tampons and it was the highlight of their day. Knowing how to open and close doors was a game-changer. The tampons lost their luster after they figured out they could just open the door and have unlimited access to the rest of the house. There was a brief window where they were old enough to sit through a 20 minute Daniel Tiger episode, which just so happens to be long enough for me to scrub the miscellaneous food particles out of my eyebrows that may have become air born during mealtime. Then little dude was born. He operates door handles at 15 months and is completely obsessed with flushing the toilet. So, he’s not great company in the bathroom during a quick scrub down.

I tried showering at night. It cuts into my “Me” time. It cuts into my only time with my husband. Even if the house is silent and everyone is in bed, I’m still thinking about everything that needs to get done before I go to bed. Last, and most self-involved, I have to sleep on my wet hair, which makes me wake up looking like a bad Lindsay Lohan mug shot.

So, I just want to take a shower. It sounds so simple, but taking a shower comes with a trade-off when you’re the mother of young children. I’m tickled pink with a quick scrub down. It’s a special treat if all the conditioner gets rinsed out.  Let’s just add long relaxing showers to the lengthy list of glorious things you enjoyed before having kids, right under “sleeping in,” “leisurely shopping,” and “quiet car rides.”

Rocking the Mom-Bag

I recently got a new “purse.” Now, every time I go out, I get compliments. This surprises me, because when I made the decision to purchase it, I was not trying to make a fashion statement or garner attention. In fact, none of those things crossed my mind as I stood in the luggage department eyeing up the aptly named “over-nighter” bag that I would eventually purchase and very liberally refer to as my “purse.” I should also mention that the only people who give me compliments are other moms.

“I love your bag!”

“What a cute bag!”

“Great bag!”

So no one else calls it a purse. Calling it a bag is still a bit of an understatement. It was literally designed to hold all the clothing, gear, accessories, tools, appliances, and whatever else you deem necessary for an overnight trip. It just so happens, that’s approximately the same amount of gear that I require for a brief trip to the store with my three children aged 3 and under.

“I really like your bag! Where did you get it?”

“The luggage department at Younkers! It holds everything I need! I currently have a whole box of apple sauce pouches, 3 diapers, a package of wipes, changing pad, 2 extra undies and 2 extra pairs of pants (for the kids, not me. Although, also not a bad idea to throw some in for me.), three water bottles, sanitizing hand wipes, crayons, miscellaneous toys, oh yeah, and my wallet, which I managed not to forget…this time.”

I think it’s safe to say that an accessory can no longer be referred to as a purse if it is carrying 50% or more of someone else’s things. These behemoths we haul around filled with crumbs, wrappers and methods of distraction aren’t purses. What we are dealing with here, are mom-bags. Don’t get nervous. I’m aware that “mom-bags” could also easily refer to various parts of the female anatomy post-childbirth. But the major upside to the mom-bags I’m referring to, is that while they haul all your mom gear they conveniently cover and conceal your actual post-childbirth “mom-bags.” Two birds, one stone.

“I haven’t seen you in a while, you look so skinny!”

“Thanks! It’s mostly because I carrying this giant bag around to cover my jubbly-bits. Can I interest you in a granola bar? Juice box?”

It wasn’t always like this. I didn’t always walk with a limp because of the 50 pound bag I have to haul with me everywhere I go. I had some really cute clutches, small hobo bags, and shoulder bags. When I had my twins, I even had a great system where I just tossed my wallet into my normal sized diaper bag. After the days of diapering twins were over, I ditched the diaper bag and an amazing phenomenon began; My purses kept getting bigger. Even my husband noticed. He always had a clever remark regarding my less than compact cargo carrier. Yet, remarkably, his wallet and keys always managed to find their way along side the crumbled goldfish crackers and old receipts. I’d officially become a pack mule.

How do the hip moms do it? How do they manage to leave the house with just a trendy cross shoulder bag? Do they use origami to fold the diapers into tiny little swans and only carry dehydrated toddler snacks in pill form? Even if I could figure out how to cram everything I could conceive of needing into a small satchel, I, for one, like the option of being able to throw one of my children into my carry-on luggage, should the situation require it.

Eventually I won’t need to haul diapers around. My toddlers will get older and will no longer be ticking urine bombs, waiting for the least convenient moment for a change of pants. I won’t need snacks to distract three wiggle worms while I sprint through the grocery store and forget half the items on my list because of the 15,974 questions I’m being asked. I’ve embraced the fact that I always look like I’m on my way to the airport. It is the season of life I’m in; I’m rocking the mom-bag.