Going to the loo when you’re a parent
I have three children aged five and under. I have no child-free time between the hours of at least 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday and sometimes at the weekend, too. Therefore, when I need to go to the toilet, I almost always have an audience. It’s a good job I don’t get stage fright because there can be up to three little people with me as I go about my business. Yep, going to the loo when you’re a parent is certainly challenge sometimes.
I’ve previously written about how going to the loo on your own is one of many things you don’t even realise is a luxury until you have children. My pre-child self had no idea such a basic human function could be so eventful. Here’s what an average toilet trip is like for me these days.
1. No matter what my children are doing, or how occupied they are, the minute I go to the loo, they suddenly appear. Sometimes I’ll think I’ve got away with it. I’ll sit down, sneakily check my phone (I know everyone else checks their Facebook in the loo too; I wrote about it here)… and then the door will barge open and up to three little faces will appear, wanting to know what I’m doing, asking me to do something urgently that can’t possibly wait, or spotting my phone and wanting to look at photos. This doesn’t just happen when I’m on my own with them. Even if Cardiff Daddy is around, and there’s no reason for me not to be able to pee on my own, they’ll still magically appear.
2. When my children were toddlers, they used to try to climb onto my lap while on the loo, try to put loo roll into the toilet while I was still sat on it, or sometimes try to slide toys between my legs and into the bowl to see if they could swim. Thankfully, my big two have passed that stage, but I had a little reminder this morning of what was to come now that Baby I is about to turn one and getting more and more mobile each day. I was washing my hands when I heard a splash and saw my hair brush in the loo and the little guy holding on to the edge of the seat, trying to reach it.
3. There are always lots of questions when a parent goes to the loo. This isn’t so bad at home, but it’s so embarrassing if you’re out in public. ‘Mummy, are you doing a wee or a poo?’ ‘Mummy, why do ladies have foo foos and men have willies?’ ‘Mummy, can I see your wee?’ I close my eyes and mentally wish all the other occupants of the toilet to be gone before we get out of the cubicle. Sadly it never works – and it’s a bad idea to take your eye off the ball, because you can guarantee if you do, the loo roll will end up unravelled all over the floor.
4. There’s also that panic when you realise your little one is playing with the lock. ‘No, no, nooooo!’ you say. ‘Don’t open the door. Lock it quickly. Mummy doesn’t want everyone to watch her on the toilet.’ But I’m not allowed to lock the door in case I get stuck,’ your little one pipes up quite. ‘You can this time.’ ‘But you said…’
5. And on the subject of going to the toilet in public when you have children with you, the first issue is finding a cubicle that will accommodate you all in the first place, especially when you have a buggy with you. I don’t really like using the disabled toilets because I always worry someone with a greater need than mine will need them – but often that’s where the baby change facilities are located and the only cubicle wide enough for a buggy. So far, my children have never set off the emergency alarm by pulling on the red string, but we’ve had a few ‘almosts’.
6. What do you do with a baby when you are on the loo? It’s great if they are in a car seat or buggy – but often older babies are not. So you have them on your lap, but that proves challenging as they are climbing all over you and you can’t reach the loo paper. You really, really, really don’t want to put them down on the toilet floor, but sometimes you have to. They are oblivious to the germs and try to crawl about, or use the bin to pull themselves up to standing. You feel like such a bad parent and try your best to wash their hands before they put them in their mouth.
7. Just because you are out with friends it doesn’t mean you’ll get the luxury of a solo loo trip. The friend you’re with offers to look after your children while you nip to the loo. You mentally whoop with joy as you imagine three child-free minutes, not having to field random questions, or conflict-manage arguing siblings or tantrumming toddlers, or preventing mobile babies crawling around on the dirty floor. You walk off and then toddler starts shouting as they want to come with you. Baby is crying as he sees you walking off and the separation anxiety sets in. Five-year-old doesn’t want to be left out so insists on coming too. That solo trip ain’t going to happen; you officially have a toilet posse.
8. You are bursting to go but three-year-old insists on going first… and takes forever. Five-year-old flushes the toilet knowing full-well her brother had already asked to do it, causing three-year-old to have a tantrum. You do your best to calm everyone down. ‘You wash your hands while I have a wee,’ you say. ‘But Mummy, I can’t reach the soap.’ You hop about on one leg as you help wash hands. You sit back down, ahh. ‘No no no,’ you cry. ‘Don’t flush the loo, I haven’t finished yet.’ Too late. Wet bottom. Kids fighting as they both wanted to flush the loo.
9. ‘Seeing as we’re all here, why don’t you have a try?’ you tell your child. ‘But Mummy, I don’t need to go.’ ‘You might if you try.’ ‘No.’ Five minutes later, when you no longer anywhere near the toilet, you hear that that familiar sound… ‘Mummy, I need a wee.’
Does any of this sound familiar? Come join in the chat on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or tweet me on @cardiffmummy
I lol’d at this. I only have one babba at the moment and sneaking off to the loo is like mission impossible. No peppa pig or baby jake episodes can save you x
Glad it made you laugh. Whoever would have thought going to the loo on your own would be such a treat?! X
Number 8 – *so* true! If I were to add a number 10, it would be something about that moment when your kids start insisting they can go to the toilet on their own, so you stand outside the stall and watch in horror as they lock the door from the inside. Been there. Done that. The heart medication is working well now, though.
Ha, yes, we are slowly entering that realm too! A few daddies I know have also mentioned the perils of going to the loo standing up with little ones about!
Lol! I remember this well!
Showering or going to the loo and always having an audience.
Oh, and the questions in public toilets!
‘Mummy, why doesn’t daddy sit down to do a wee?’ Or ‘Can I have money for this slide?’ (The sanitary disposal bin they thought was for sliding pennies into like a charity box!)
Money for the slide, ha! So far mine haven’t picked up on different bins, or machines in the ladies’ loos. More conversations yet to be had!