Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Failed Attempt at Separate but Equal

There's a boat in my bathtub, a lime green washcloth hanging where my purple one should be...and my favorite tennis shoes are in the trash.

All courtesy of motherhood.

I had this oh so crazy notion that once we moved into our new home with more than one bathroom that I would finally have a room of my own. More than that, I thought I would have a throne of my own and a tub of my own.

No more pee on the seat. No more kids' toys falling on me when I bumped them off their side-of-the-tub perches. No more gritty sand residue when I settled in for a soak.

To encourage my three children to love their bathroom, I decided to make it as equally fabulous as mine. I decorated it with a favorite animal--monkeys just like Curious George. Everywhere they look, huge, happy-faced monkeys with long, curling tails mischievously peek out from behind the mirror, hang from the ceiling, or swing from a leafy vine.

But for some reason, my oldest son decided he didn't want to take a "bath." No, instead, he wanted to take a shower with daddy. Such a cute request, daddy caved in at the thought.

And so now, there is a boat in my tub, a washcloth on my bath hook, and small, extremely wet footprints on the bathroom rug.

It seems I can't separate "me" from my "Mommy me".

This concept was hammered home this past Wednesday morning when I went to put on my tennis shoes. Six months ago, they fit. But when I needed them to ford the thunderstorm's rising waters? My toes pushed against the ends.

Blame it on carrying around three children. Or blame it on a heavy, taxing move to our new home. Either way, my sudden possibly-falling-arches-foot-growth is proof positive that every part of my life will literally affect every part of my life.

I really should know better by now--trying to keep separate the various facets of my identity: church life in one room, motherhood in another, Bible study in the bedroom, school work down the hall.

It never works. And it never really will.

I quietly close each door when I exit, but before I'm out of sight, it's already back open, with every room freely spilling its contents into the hall until everything is impossibly mixed together.

In a way, I guess that's actually a good thing, for if each of you dipped into my life and pulled out a scoop-full, each jumbled mess would always reveal the same me--mom, wife, writer, teacher, sister, daughter...devoted servant of God.


  1. I'm with you, Jennifer...I read you.

    No, that's not how it works - you can't cut yourself up into compartments.

    That's the beauty of the diamond, as I see it - you can't just look at one facet. The more there are, the more light it catches and reflects!

    And the more beautiful it is.


  2. Haha... you know, I think I tried that once upon a time too. There was no separating me from 'them.' But it gets better. My kids and grandkids all moved out, but I still have hubby. No toys in the bathroom, but still the usual water spraying out of control at the sink, which leaves the mirror smudged and the sink counter soaking wet. The hand towel is used to dry the face (gasp!) and no one else takes it upon himself to spray down the shower later so it doesn't get all moldy later.

    So...hang in there! The fun never ends!