by Crystal Kirgiss
All I needed this morning was a half hour alone, thirty minutes of peace and quiet to help preserve my sanity. No mom-do-this, mom-I-need-that, mom-he-hit-me, mom-I-spilled-juice-on-the-couch.
Just me, a hot Calgon bath, and solitude.
I shouldn’t dream so big.
After getting the two oldest off to school, I settled the youngest in front of Barney and said, “Honey, listen closely. Your mommy is going to crack. She’s losing her marbles. She’s teetering on the edge of permanent personality damage. This is happening because she has children. Are you following me so far?”
He nodded absently while singing, “Barney is a dinosaur in our imagination…”
“Good. Now, if you want to be a good little boy, you’ll sit right here and watch Barney while Mommy takes a nice, hot, quiet, peaceful, take-me-away bath. I don’t want you to bother me. I want you to leave me alone. For thirty minutes, I don’t want to see you or hear you. Got it?”
“Good morning, boys and girls…” I heard the purple wonder say.
I headed to the bathroom with my fingers crossed.
I watched the tub fill with water. I watched the mirror and window steam up. I watched the water turn blue from my bath beads. I got in.
I heard a knock on the door.
“Mom? Mom? Are you in there, Mom?”
I learned long ago that ignoring my children does not make them go away.
“Yes, I’m in here. What do you want?”
There was a long pause while the child tried to decide what he wanted.
“Um…can I have a snack?”
“You just had breakfast. Can’t you wait a few minutes?”
“No, I’m dying. I need a snack right now.”
“Fine. You can have a box of raisins.”
I heard him pad off to the kitchen, listened as he pushed chairs and stools around trying to reach the raisin shelf, felt the floor vibrate when he jumped off the counter, and heard him run back to the TV room.
I sank back into the water.
Knock, knock, knock.
“Mom? Mom? Are you in there, Mom?”
Sigh. “Yes, I’m still in here. What do you need now?”
Pause. “Um…I need to take a bath, too.”
“Honey, can’t you wait until I’m done?”
The door opened just a crack.
“No, I really need to take one now. I’m dirty.”
“You’re always dirty. Since when do you care?”
The door opened all the way.
“I really need to take a bath, Mom.”
“No, you don’t. Go away.”
He stood in the middle of the bathroom and started taking off his pajamas.
“I’ll just get in with you and take a bath, too.”
“No! You will not get in with me and take a bath! I want to take my own bath! I want you to go away and leave me alone!” I began to sound like the three-year-old with whom I was arguing.
He climbed onto the edge of the tub, balancing carefully, and said, “I’ll just get in with you, okay, Mom?”
I started to shriek, “No! That is not okay! I want my own bath, all by myself! I don’t want to share! I want to be alone!”
He thought for a moment and said, “Okay. I’ll just sit here and you can read me a book. I won’t get in, Mom, until you’re done.” He flashed me a knockdown charming smile.
So I spent my morning alone time reading One Fish, Two Fish to a naked three-year-old who sat on the edge of the tub with his chin resting on his knees, arms wrapped around his bent legs, slight smile on his face.
Why fight it? It won’t be long before I have all the alone time I want. And then I’ll probably wish I had a lot more together time.
The job of mom isn’t easy, is it? A mother must be a resident psychologist, physician, theologian, educator, nurse, chef, taxi driver, fire marshal, and occasional police officer. And if she succeeds in each of these responsibilities, she gets to do it all over again the next day. It’s no wonder that mothers like the one in the story above so desperately need—and so rarely find—a few minutes to themselves.
Most mothers I know deserve a medal (mine certainly did!) for the passion they have for their children and for what they endure while raising them. These mothers would literally lay down their lives to protect the youngsters entrusted to their care.
We’re dedicating this week to you, Mom. Cherish your together time with your kids, and always remember that you hold a special place in God’s heart.
-James C. Dobson
“Alone Time for Mom” by Crystal Kirgiss. From More Stories for the Heart, compiled by Alice Gray (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1997). Crystal Kirgiss, an author and musician, lives in northern Minnesota with her husband and three sons. Used by permission of the author.