In Her Words
Mommies have to find bliss where they can
-Michelle Kemper Brownlow
I have actually been in the shower and wished I had more to do, more to wash, something else to shave, just to quench my thirst for the ever-valuable alone time. I sometimes wish I had an escape hatch in my shower wall – like a grown-up version of the wardrobe that landed those children in that magical place. I know the shower may not be a magical spot for everyone. It was not too long ago that I had a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old headlong into their own version of a WWF Smackdown on the bathroom floor while I tried to scrub off the previous day’s dried applesauce and Goldfish cracker crumbs. Those were not really showers but mere pit-stop rinse-offs in this race I call motherhood. How many more laps? Where the bleep is that bleeping checkered flag?
My children are older now, and I can grab a moment after dinner or first thing in the morning to enjoy more than a few frantic seconds in the shower. Perfection sometimes takes the form of water, steam and the sound of the bathroom fan drowning out whatever is going on downstairs at the kitchen table, while my husband referees. This is as close to magic as I get these days, but it is mine … all mine! Just a few moments ago, I was in the shower, releasing the stresses of the day – the sibling arguments, the dog, a late husband, a baby cranky from his shots – and I was inspired. I was stealing a moment while the water massaged my aching back. I slowly bent over and let my upper body hang, directing the pulsating water to my tired, lower back muscles. I was drinking in the relaxation when I heard, “Mom, what are you doing?!” There I was, in a not-so-flattering pose, after two pregnancies and too many trips through the drive-through, looking at my 9-year-old son staring at me through the textured glass of our shower door. Ladies and gentlemen, the checkered flag is out!
Stolen moments aren’t always times you steal for yourself; unfortunately, sometimes they are moments others steal from you. My spa treatment was interrupted, and I reminded myself that just a few years ago I would have paid a hefty sum of money for that many minutes in a row of alone time.
Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, an empty-nester or a single person with no kids, I would be willing to bet there is something you need a break from. The culprit may be work, an ailing parent, a needy friend or even a hobby that has become more like an obsession. Whatever it is that is pulling you away from your own life, take a break from it. Steal those moments when you can. Take a walk or a drive through the country, read a book, go shopping alone or make a date with yourself – and don’t let anything or anyone else intrude. Turn off your cell phone and get reacquainted with yourself. These stolen moments will rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. And if you leave a couple of squares of chocolate around, they may just qualify as sheer perfection.
Michelle Kemper Brownlow lives, blogs and cleans peanut butter off her ceiling fan in southeastern Pennsylvania. She writes for regional parenting magazines and has a weekly inspirational/humor column called “The Gift of Gab,” where this piece was first published. For more information, contact Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.