It does not take long for a mother to realize that her parenting partner-in-crime needs five minutes to himself, and when he does, you can bet a pretty penny that he’s just going to go ahead and take it.
When baby is in the super-sleepy/lazy newborn phase, the fatherly desire to escape for a hot minute doesn’t really come into play; however, once that baby becomes a bit louder and a bit more demanding, it seems that Dads everywhere miraculously discover their underlying Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Frequent, emergency trips to the bathroom are made. These “episodes” last for up to 10 minutes at a time and they usually circulate around meal time, diaper change time and bed time.
I’d wager that there was an audible “fuuuuucccckkkkk” that echoed throughout the world when the movie This is 40 came out and exposed this dad-hack to the masses: Say you have to take a shit, bring your phone or iPad into the bathroom with you and voila! A few minutes to catch up on sports scores, watch the inappropriate video your buddy sent you earlier, reply to your group chat, etc.
Whether you actually shit or not is not as important as giving the illusion of having to take a shit because, really, who’s going to question your involuntary bodily functions, anyway?
Maybe not aloud, but we are onto you, pal. And once we, as moms, figure out this little game (takes us about 4 seconds to do so), we initially feel both pissed off AND ripped off. Where are OUR 10 minutes of peace? Daddy has only been home for AN HOUR – We’ve been here for 10 hours, 18 minutes and 43 seconds (but who’s counting?).
And I do feel like that’s a fair reaction. We need a breather in the day too. So you know what we have to do? We have to beat them at their own game.
They lock themselves in the bathroom because they know that although we kinda know they’re not actually defiling the toilet… we don’t know that for sure… so we’re probably not going to break down the door to bust them, juuuuust in case a stink bomb detonates in our face. So we need to use the same approach and use things THEY don’t want to do in OUR favour. Here are a few examples:
- Say you have to run to the store to get tampons. Men are afraid of tampons and they hate buying them so it’s not like they’re going to say, “Oh don’t worry honey, I’ll just grab them for you on my lunch tomorrow. Hey, would you watch the kids for a second? I REALLY need to go to the bathroom.” Use the tampon excuse to go to Shoppers, wander aimlessly, think, breathe, and buy yourself a new lipstick.
- Say you’re going to go do the laundry. Consider this your shit break. They don’t know what happens in the basement and they don’t want to know. Bring your phone with you. Toss in a load of towels, sit on the stairs scrolling through Instagram for 10 minutes.
- Take a hobby as seriously as he takes his. For example, you could say, “I’m going to Yoga on Friday because I really can’t let the other yogis in my class down.” He doesn’t know how yoga works. Go team!
- Say you’re going to have a bath with the kid(s). Fill the tub half-way, get yourself and the baby/babies undressed, hop in the bath, wash them down quickly, then just yell, “HEY BABE THE KIDS ARE CLEAN CAN YOU COME GET THEM?” Once the kids have been removed from the tub, just say, “Can you shut the door please?” Turn the water on hot, throw epsom salts up in there and enjoy. (If you’re a planner, maybe toss a bottle of wine and a wineglass in the cabinet beforehand).
- Say you have to go and prepare (*insert something very complicated-sounding here, like “strawberry rhubarb puree”) for the baby. Go into the kitchen, pour yourself a martini or a cup of tea and get into the groove. The baby DOES need to eat and you DO need to chill for a minute. (I swear this is why your grandma always kicked you out of the kitchen when you were little; It was never about the possibility of you burning yourself on the stove.)
- Say you need to change the linens. Men have no idea what this actually entails; therefore, they have no concept of the time it should take to do it. Bring your phone with you. Call a friend, write down some creative ideas, creep people on Facebook, watch TV in your room, WHATEVER! You just scored yourself half-an-hour of me-time. Congratulations.
- Only use this every once in a while when you REALLY need it so that they don’t catch on… but sometimes just announce that YOU need to use the bathroom. It’s an emergency. Your tummy’s not feeling too great. Maybe mention your period too. Whatever it takes. If you need a few minutes in a hurry, this will get you there.
- Play the honesty card. I think that on some level, every husband knows that his wife is overworked and underappreciated so if you need a breather, just get up and say, “I need a goddamn minute to myself” and TAKE IT. Go lay in your bed in savasana, take the dog for a walk around the block, take yourself for a walk around the block, go stand in the shower and let the hot water beat on your sore shoulders (Word to the wise: LOCK THE FUCKING DOOR). If you need it, just make it happen.
Now, I’m not in the business of trying to lose readership… but in the unifying spirit of the sisterhood, all I’ll say is you may be tempted to share this article with your baby daddy because, “omg babe, you TOTALLY DO THIS!” – but I urge you to consider that anything you make him read can and will be used against you in a future whisper fight… Just throwing that out there.
Featured image via the epic Instagram account of Aureta