I just want a shower

I remember, when I was a new mother, looking desperately to my mama friends for advice.

I had one friend who — skipping the fake war stories and humblebrags I’d become accustomed to — bluntly said: “I just want a damn shower.” 

Please pardon the not-family-friendly language, but the inflection/anger is important here.

Indeed, just wanting to shower or use the bathroom in peace — without interruption from a needy child or spouse — has almost become a rallying cry for mothers of young children.

Why is this so hard, getting 15 minutes to bathe or a few minutes to pee?

This problem speaks both to the shocking relentlessness of parenting (which fathers feel acutely as well), but also to the very real need for mothers to put themselves first, just sometimes. 

This trend of dependence starts during the early days of nursing and round-the-clock care for our infants: We get used to subverting our needs. In fact, we must sometimes. Indeed, making the transition from childless to parenthood is supposed to be hard. 

But then it continues, this heroic subverting of our needs, and goes on seemingly EVERY SECOND.

And it shouldn’t. 

In this issue, our Baby on Board columnist argues that we can’t be good parents unless we stop martyring ourselves. How we feel changes how well we can parent, so we need to feel OK.

Our School Days columnist, meanwhile, points out that most Minnesota moms — who we recently surveyed — get fewer than 60 minutes a day to themselves (and more than a quarter of those get fewer than 15).

Her point? We can change this! See her column for tips and ideas.

Finally, I’d like to offer another suggestion for parents who’ve moved out of the infant stage: Consider enrolling your kid in a camp this summer. (Register now.) 

This is our annual Camp Issue, after all. And in the pages ahead, you’ll find not just overnight camps, but many, many amazing (no, really) day camps, too, for all ages
(yes, even toddlers). 

It’s a win-win: Your kid gets a new experience for the summer, and you get that much-needed Mama or Dada — or perhaps even couple — time! 

Because the truth is, Mama, you can bend only so far until you break. Dads, that goes for you, too. In fact, see our Toddler Time column this month for Dad’s Night Out ideas.

In the end, your whole family will be better off if you can claim/make/take/demand your “me time.”

Even if it is just a damn shower.