When my daughter started pre-school, she was taught to close the bathroom cubicle door for ‘privacy’. Well, she latched onto the ‘privacy’ concept like a drunk to a beer bottle. If I walk past the bathroom at home when she’s perched on the toilet seat she calls out, “Can you shut the door Mum? I need privacy,” as though it’s my fault she left the door wide open.
Yet privacy is a one-way street in our house. Do I get an inch of privacy when my children waltz into my bathroom like they own the joint? There’s nothing private about being hit my on my naked bum as I’m brushing my teeth, only to hear them giggle at my jiggling arse. They hop into the shower as I’m lathering shampoo in my hair, pushing me out of the water stream. They nudge me out of the way to raid my make-up drawer as though it’s their own dress-up box. They sneak up behind me and scream, “Boo” when I’m applying mascara, the wand nearly gouging my eye. If I lock the bathroom door, they bang on it, pestering from the other side: “Mum?” “Mum!” “Open the door.” “How long will you be?” “What are you doing?”
But bathroom privacy is the least of my concerns. There’s apparently a one-way street to my bedroom too. I often wake with two other heads sharing my pillow, my daughters’ hair tickling my nostrils. I regularly find them tottering around my bedroom in my high heels, wearing my bras on the outside of their dresses.
Come to think of it, there’s a one-way street to my mobile too; they nosily read my text messages, take videos of themselves, and send random emails. I guess I unknowingly relinquished all sense of privacy when I became a mother and I wouldn’t want it any other way. They’ll be teenagers before I know it and they won’t want to shower with me or share my bed, although they’ll probably still raid my make-up drawer and steal my high heels. But I might get my own back by creating a two-way street to their shoe cupboards.