Once upon a time, I used to love reading on the toilet. Not great literature. Closer magazine (Heat’s cheap little sister – it’s 50p less, you know) made great bathroom reading. If I wasn’t lucky enough to have Kim Kardashian’s air-brushed arse report to hand, I’d read a book (remember them?) and sometimes even the back of shampoo bottles (nourish your hair with luxurious natural ingredients and experience breathtaking softness and shine …).
These days, the bathroom is no longer a sanctuary. No matter what I’m doing, the kids want to do it with me. Even in the ‘stinkiest room in the house’. Our mechanically-minded toddler tore the bathroom lock apart long ago, so now the toilet is a free zone. Join me one and all while I go about my toilet business.
‘Yes, I know it smells in here. I told you. It’s because I’m going for a poo. Don’t turn the tap on. Because the floor is now COVERED in water. No, the toilet roll is just for me. You don’t need it. Okay, just tear off one bit then. Thank you for being helpful. JUST ONE PIECE! DON’T PULL IT! Just pass it here. PASS IT HERE!’
I never thought I’d be bothered by lack of privacy. After all, I spent my twenties weeing in all sorts of public places – behind trees at festivals, by roadsides on the way to festivals, alleyways on drunken night’s out, and on one memorable occasion, in the middle of a field, just as a passing police car shone a giant spotlight on in my direction.
During my morning-sickness pregnancy, I demanded my partner ‘keep me company’ in the bathroom while I threw up (it can be a lonely business …).
So personal space? Moi?
But it turns out, there are some things I like to do alone.
When I’m wincing and gripping the toilet seat (thanks to the haemorrhoids those wretched kids gave me), I don’t want to be cross-examined about the stripes in toothpaste.
Occasionally, a suppository is in order (thanks to the haemorrhoids those WRETCHED kids gave me). This is the sort of thing I’d rather do alone.
During my time of the month, I would like to unwrap a tampon without the inevitable, ‘What’s that? Can I have one? Does it have sugar in it?’
Those vaginal toning weights that are supposed to stop me wetting myself? I want to mull over which weight I’ll need today (I currently bench a 5g. My vaginal powers are weak …) and insert it without anyone watching.
The shower, once a glorious, steamy waterfall of relaxation, is now a place I am bothered. A place where the dolphin curtain is frequently whisked aside, and a curious toddler demands:
‘Mummy wet. Mummy all weeeeet … CUDDLE mummy. I UPSEEEET! Mummy SHOUTED.’
Or I receive verbal abuse from my five-year-old, AKA the rudest-talking-mirror-in-the-world:
‘What is that brown line on your tummy? Why is your belly button inside out? That bit is all wrinkly like Nana …’
Also, I would like to eat chocolate without children parroting my own healthy-eating advice …
‘But you said they were for our lunch boxes and only AFTER lunch and NEVER between meals …’
Remember those pre-kid days? When you could be as disgusting, unhealthy and morally reprehensible as you liked without anyone watching?
Caramel latte AND a slice of chocolate fudge cake twenty minutes before lunch? Suuure! Who’s judging?
Pop tart? Oh go ahead.
I know one day my kids will grow up, and I’ll look back, misty eyed, to the glorious ‘shower abuse’ ‘toilet intrusion’ days. And I should count my blessings, blah, blah, blah.
But you know, sometimes I just want to sh*t in peace …
Suzy K Quinn is the author of new motherhood fiction, the Bad Mother’s Diary.