11/14/2014 03:49 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

In Loving Memory of a Moment Alone

Vladimir Godnik via Getty Images

I love my kids and I love my dogs and do you know what else I would love? I would love to use the bathroom alone. Plain and simple solitude. Just my thoughts, my business and me. When I became a mom, I knew my life would change. There would be diapers, sleepless nights and booties -- and I am one of those weirdos who actually enjoyed most of it. But what I did not realize was that I would never again use the bathroom alone.

Now this may surprise those of you who live in bastions of civility and decorum where people use lavatories or are simply "indisposed." But for those of us who have bathroom doors that seem to include hidden welcome mats, mine is a sad and familiar tale.

Everything is going just swimmingly and all the children and pets are happily engaged when I foolishly think I might have a moment. Like a ninja, I am stealthy and quick. I slip down the hall and the promised land awaits. Blissful relief is just moments away.

I put my hand on the knob. Suddenly, alarms go off inside my children. It's like I'm a prisoner trying to escape Rikers Island. All children and pets in my home are instantly alerted. They respond with unparalleled speed. Are these the same people I have to call 20 times to come in for dinner? Can these be the same individuals who can't hear me when I tell them to tidy their rooms? Surely not.

These people are organized, determined and relentless. Oh Mom, where is my blue binder? In your room. I grip the knob and turn. They are coming closer; I can hear the steps pounding down the hall. Another voice: Mom, can I use your computer? Yeah sure, just give me a minute. The door inches open, but before I can cross the glorious threshold, BOOM. I take a step back. Silence. Then, giggles drift down the hall. Mom, did you know you can't put an egg in the microwave?

Now I have a decision to make. What will take precedence: biology or curiosity? It's a tough call, but let's just say that after four kids, I have more pressing concerns than exploding eggs. Clean it up! I yell as I step inside. The door is almost closed when a paper is pushed underneath. Can you sign this for me? No. That would be definitely no. I hand it back and explain that it needs to wait until I come out. Truthfully, we both know I will now be hiding in here for longer than I need to. The blissful relief I need is no longer just from the plumbing.

I'll be right out, but Mommy needs a minute, I implore when the door closes. Give me a chance to miss you. Then the miracle occurs: everyone returns to their regularly scheduled programming. I smile, take my shoulders out of my ears and turn around, alone at last. Only guess what? While I was explaining why I could sign the paper later, Louie, our dog, thought he'd take the opportunity to join me. There he sits, looking up at me as though he wants to offer some kind of moral support. My dog pities me. Swell. All semblance of pride or hope of privacy has vanished. I can only sigh and smile. At least I'm never lonely.


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